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Detectives from Victoria police’s Sano taskforce, established to investigate allegations that emerged during a parliamentary inquiry in Victoria and the later royal commission, interviewed the cardinal in Rome in October about allegations against him.
Last year, citing ill health, he declined to return to Australia to give evidence to the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse in person last year and instead gave evidence by videolink from Rome.
Cardinal George Pell, one of Pope Francis' top advisers, took a leave of absence as the Vatican's financial czar on Thursday to face multiple criminal charges in his native Australia that allege he committed sexual assault years ago. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me," Pell said.
Pell appeared before reporters in the Vatican press office to forcefully deny the accusations, denounce what he called a "relentless character assassination" in the media and announce he would return to Australia to clear his name. The Vatican said the leave took effect immediately and that Pell would not participate in any public liturgical event while it was in effect.
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Victoria state Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton announced the charges Thursday, saying police had summonsed Pell to appear in court to face multiple counts of "historical sexual assault offences," meaning offences that generally occurred some time ago.
Patton said there are multiple complainants against Pell, but gave no other details on the allegations against the cardinal.
Advice was received and sought from the office of public prosecutions, however ultimately, the choice to charge Cardinal Pell was one that was made by Victoria police.
“Cardinal Pell, like any other defendant, has a right to due process and so therefore, it is important that the process is allowed to run its natural course.” Mr Patton said as the matter was now due before the court, police would be making no further comment.
Pell was ordered to appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on 18 July.
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said the Holy See had learned with "regret" of the charges and that the Vatican's financial reforms would continue in his absence.
Vatican spokesman, Greg Burke, said, while the Holy See had respect for the Australian justice system, it noted that Cardinal Pell had co-operated with investigations in the past.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating