Australian Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s financial chief, appeared in person for a brief hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
Pell will plead not guilty to all accusations of sexual assault against him, his lawyer has told the court, BBC reported.
The 76-year-old Vatican treasurer was accused of historical assaults involving “multiple complainants”, police said last month. The senior Catholic Church figure has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
The Police and his defence team escorted the cardinal to the court room, while victims who have accused him of alleged sexual abuse committed between 1986 and 2001 in the state of Victoria were also present, Efe news reported.
Pell was not required to enter a plea on Wednesday. “Cardinal Pell will plead not guilty to all charges, and will maintain the presumed innocence that he has,” Robert Richter, QC, told the court.
The filing hearing lasted about five minutes, according to media reports.
The next hearing will be on October 6.
Pell made no comment as he entered the magistrates’ court. The case has drawn huge media attention.