Vatican aide Cardinal George Pell charged with historical sexual abuse

Vatican aide Cardinal George Pell charged with historical sexual abuse

Deutsche Welle – Vatican finance chief Cardinal George Pell has been charged with multiple sexual offenses, Australian police say. Pell is now the highest-ranking Vatican official to be charged in the church’s abuse scandal. Pell, who was interviewed in Rome by Australian police last October over allegations, was charged with a number of counts of sexual abuse on Thursday.

“Victoria Police have charged Cardinal George Pell with historical sexual assault offences,” Victoria State Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton told reporters.

“There are multiple complainants relating to those charges,” he said. The 76-year-old Pell was charged by summons to appear before a
Melbourne court on July 18, Patton said.

Pell, who is his country’s most senior Catholic cleric, strongly denies the allegations, which date back to his time archbishop of Melbourne and as a priest in the town of Ballarat.

He is now become the highest-ranking Vatican official to ever be charged in a sexual abuse scandal that has dogged the Catholic church for years.

Pell has appeared three times in a national inquiry into institutional responses to child sex abuse. During those appearances he admitted that he “mucked up” in dealing with paedophile priests in Victoria state in the 1970s.

Pell was ordained in Rome in 1966 and returned to Australia in 1971. He left for the Vatican in 2014 after being hand-picked by Pope Francis as part of an effort to make the church’s finances more transparent.

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