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Top Catholic Cardinal Charged With Multiple Sexual Assaults


Top Catholic Cardinal Charged With Multiple Sexual Assaults

One of the most senior members of the Catholic Church has been charged with multiple sexual assault offenses in his home country of Australia, police said Thursday, CNN reports.

Cardinal George Pell, who currently serves as a top adviser to Pope Francis and the Vatican’s top financial adviser, denied the allegations in a statement, which said he would return from Rome as soon as possible to “clear his name.”

“He is looking forward to his day and court and will defend the charges vigorously,” the statement said, according to the report.

Police have not released a detailed list of charges and didn’t disclose any information about alleged victims, saying only there was “multiple complainants.” Police denied Pell was receiving special treatment.

“I want to be perfectly clear — the process and the procedures that have been followed in the charging of Cardinal Pell have been the same that have been applied in a whole range of historical sex offenses whenever we investigate them,” Victoria Deputy Police Commissioner Shane Patton said at a news conference.

Sex abuse and cover-up within the Catholic Church has been documented in the United States, Ireland, Brazil, the Netherlands, Germany and Australia.

Pell is likely the highest-ranking Catholic official charged in connection with sex abuse in recent years.

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