Cardinal George Pell returns to Australia to face historical sex abuse charges

Jul 11, 2017, 00:43
Cardinal George Pell returns to Australia to face historical sex abuse charges

Pell landed Sydney early in the morning after flying from the Vatican via Singapore, reported the Guardian.

Victoria state police said Cardinal Pell would face multiple counts of "historical sexual assault offences", which are alleged to have happened years ago.

Cardinal Pell has vigorously denied the charges, saying he is looking forward to appearing in court and accusing the media of "a relentless character assassination". The cardinal is now on leave of absence from his duties in the Vatican so he can defend himself in court where he is accused of sexual offences committed from the 1970s to 1990s.

The charges coincided with the final stages of Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, ordered in 2012 after a decade of pressure to investigate widespread allegations of institutional paedophilia.

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Cardinal George Pell arrives in Sydney on Monday morning.

Anthony Fisher, the archbishop of Sydney, has said that the church will not pay for Cardinal Pell's legal defense, though he said it would assist with his "accommodation and support".

The commission has previously said that from 1980 to 2015, more than 4,000 Australians made allegations of child sexual abuse involving Catholic institutions, and that 7 percent of Catholic priests were accused of sexually abusing children from 1950 to 2010.

There are multiple alleged victims but police have released no further details of the accusations.

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He is due to face the Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 26.

Pell is on leave of absence to defend himself and that video marked the first time he had been seen in public outside Rome since police charged him. Australian Catholics were encouraged to pray for the cardinal...

"I am innocent of these charges. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me", he said.

"And court proceedings now offer me an opportunity to clear my name and then return here back to Rome to work". But previous year Victoria police revealed they were investigating charges that Pell, too, committed sexual abuse.

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