Australian Cardinal and Vatican Finance Chief Charged with Multiple Sexual Offences
Cardinal George Pell of Australia was granted a leave of absence from the Vatican on June 29 to return to Australia to face multiple sexual offence charges. Cardinal Pell was brought to the Vatican by Pope Francis to reform the institution’s aging financial system in 2014, though a number of sexual abuse allegations were already following the cardinal at the time. The Vatican has not stated how the cardinal’s leave of absence will affect the financial reform work.
Deputy Police Commissioner Shane Patton served the charges on Cardinal Pell’s legal representatives in Melbourne, summoning him to a mid-July court date in Melbourne’s Magistrate’s court. Commissioner Patton describes the investigation and procedures as being indifferent to the cardinal’s position, “the same that have been applied in a whole range of historical sex offenses.”
The cardinal maintains he is innocent of all charges against him.