Source: Huffington Post
MELBOURNE, Australia ― Australia’s highest ranking Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, has made his first court appearance over multiple charges relating to historical sexual offenses arising from multiple complainants.
Pell, 76, appeared in Melbourne Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday for a brief preliminary hearing to set the pace of upcoming proceedings. Pell was not required to enter a plea, but his lawyer Robert Richter, QC, indicated to the court his client would plead not guilty to all charges.
“For the avoidance of doubt and because of the interest I might indicate that Cardinal Pell will plead not guilty to all charges, and will maintain the presumed innocence that he has,” Richter said.
Pell, the Vatican’s finance chief until he stepped away from the role after the charges were announced last month, was surrounded by a protective police escort as he arrived at court shortly before 9am. He was met by a heaving media pack, protesters and supporters.