76-year-old Treasurer of the Vatican on trial in Australia for sexual harassment

London. 6 Oct. INTERFAX – head of the Department of Finance of the Vatican and the third largest cardinal in the Catholic Church, George Pell appeared Friday before a court in Melbourne on charges of committing crimes of a sexual nature, according to the associated press.

It is noted that the courthouse had gathered dozens of people with placards with criticism of the 76-year-old cardinal.

The court session behind closed doors lasted about 20 minutes and began preparation for the scheduled March 5 trial, which may be invited to 50 witnesses.

Earlier, cardinal George.Pell has repeatedly denied all allegations of sexual offences.

“I’m innocent regarding these accusations, they are false… I’m disgusted by the very suggestion of sexual harassment,” said he.

Police in the Australian state of Victoria reported that after investigation, the 76-year-old cardinal George.Pella was charged with sexual offences alleged to have been committed decades ago.