Australian court staffer fired for reading cardinal charges

CANBERRA, Australia — An Australian state court employee has been fired for looking up in a restricted computer system details of charges facing a senior Vatican cleric, court officials said on Wednesday.

Details of the charges facing Australian Cardinal George Pell in the Victoria state County Court have not been made public.

Pope Francis' finance minister appeared in the court in Melbourne on Wednesday for an administrative hearing before Chief Judge Peter Kidd ahead of a potential jury trial.

The County Court confirmed a newspaper report Wednesday that a staff member had been recently fired for gaining access to unauthorized information about the charges facing the 76-year-old cleric.

"The court takes the management and security of information seriously and has systems in place to detect where information is accessed without authority," the court said in a statement.

"When improper access to information is found to occur, the court takes decisive action. This is exactly what has occurred in this case," the statement added.

The Herald Sun newspaper reported the staff member was fired in the last two weeks. The employee was fired on the same day as the security breach was discovered, the newspaper said.

The court said it ensures that staff have privacy and information management training. The court would not comment on the employee's role or length of employment.

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