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Cardinal Pell to stand trial on sex abuse charges, magistrate rules

Cardinal George Pell leaves the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on March 5, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia (Getty Images)

Cardinal Pell will stand trial on charges of allegedly abusing multiple victims decades ago, a magistrate has ruled.

After a four-weel preliminary hearing, magistrate Belinda Wallington dismissed around half the charges against the cardinal, but she ruled that the prosecution had a strong enough case for the remainder. The number and exact nature of the charges have not been made public.

The cardinal has pleaded “not guilty” to all charges.

He will appear on Wednesday in the Victoria state County Court where his trial will take place. The cardinal cannot leave Australia, nor contact prosecution witness, under the terms of his bail.

Cardinal Pell is the most senior Vatican official ever to stand trial for sex abuse allegations. He has been on leave of absence as Pope Francis’s finance chief since he was charged last June.