Cardinal George Pell charged with serious sex offences
Cardinal George Pell says following approval from his doctor to travel, he will return to Australia to 'clear his name'.
This follows Australia’s top Catholic figure, being charged this morning with historical sex offences.
He has been charged on summons to attend the Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 18.
Police have not detailed the charges.
However, they say there are “multiple charges” and “multiple complainants”.
The charges were served to Cardinal Pell’s Melbourne representatives this morning.
Cardinal Pell has always maintained his innocence.
Australia has no extradition treaty with the Vatican.
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In a police press conference revealing the charges, Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton was careful to point out the allegations “have not been tested in court”.
Melbourne radio's Neil Mitchell commented.
“There’s been a bit of blood-lust over George Pell for years. Now is not the time for that,” Neil said.
“I am told that there is every possibility that George Pell will in fact stand down from his role in the Vatican.
“If he does that and even if … he’s acquitted and everything, I think it’s probably unlikely he would go back to the Vatican.
“My interpretation of it would be that, regardless of his guilt or innocence – and I repeat, he’s entitled to be considered innocent – I would say it’s probably the end of the career of George Pell.
“That’s a political judgment, not a legal one. It’s not saying he’s guilty of anything.”
Pell holds a senior rank with the Catholic Church and serves as the inaugural and current Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy since 2014.
He previously served as the eighth Archbishop of Sydney (2001–2014), auxiliary bishop (1987–1996) and archbishop (1996–2001) of the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
He was created a cardinal in 2003.
Pell was a witness at the 2013–2016 Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the 2013 Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and other Organisations.
Breaking News: Cardinal George Pell, one of Pope Francis' top advisers, has been charged with sexual assault https://t.co/yAnIqQccm9— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 29, 2017