Australian Cardinal George Pell leaves the Melbourne Magistrate Court in Melbourne Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
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Australian Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Vatican official to be charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis, must stand trial on charges alleging he sexually abused multiple victims decades ago, a magistrate ruled Tuesday.Magistrate Belinda Wallington dismissed around half the charges that had been heard in the four-week preliminary hearing in Melbourne but decided the prosecution's case was strong enough for the remainder to warrant a trial by jury. Prosecutor Mark Gibson told the magistrate there was no evidence to back Richter's theory that Pell had been targeted over the church's failings.Since Pell returned to Australia from the Vatican in July, he has lived in Sydney and flown to Melbourne for his court hearings. Francis has withheld judgment of Pell, saying he wants to wait for justice to run its course. And he did not force the cardinal to resign, though Pell took an immediate leave of absence so he could return to Australia to fight the charges.
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