Probably the most senior Vatican cleric to ever be charged within the Roman Catholic Church intercourse abuse scandal returned to Australia on Monday to face trial in his house state on fees alleging he sexually assaulted a number of individuals years in the past.
Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis‘ prime monetary adviser, prevented ready media when he arrived at Sydney Airport on a flight from Singapore. He had declined to remark in Singapore over the weekend as he made his means house from Rome.
The seventy six-yr-previous cleric is because of seem in a courtroom within the Victoria state capital Melbourne on July 26 on what Victoria Police described as a number of counts of “historic sexual assault offenses” — which means crimes that usually occurred years in the past. There isn’t a statute of limitations on such crimes in Australia. Police stated there have been a number of complainants, however have launched no different particulars.
When police introduced the fees final month, Pell vowed to struggle the allegations, saying: “The entire concept of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me.”
On Monday, the Sydney archdiocese stated the cardinal had made a number of stops on his journey to Australia to keep away from lengthy-haul flights, based mostly on the recommendation of his docs. Final yr, Pell stated he was too sick to make the lengthy flight again to his house nation to testify earlier than a authorities inquiry into how the Catholic Church and different establishments have responded to baby intercourse abuse allegations.
“When he was advised of the fees by Victoria Police, Cardinal Pell stated in Rome he completely rejected the allegations, was utterly harmless of the fees and would return to Australia to vigorously defend himself and clear his identify,” the archdiocese stated in a press release. “Cardinal Pell won’t be making additional remark aside from to say he’s grateful for the quite a few messages of help he continues to obtain.”
Pell has taken a depart of absence to struggle the fees in Australia and has stated he intends to return to the Vatican to proceed his work as a prefect of the church’s financial system ministry.
The pope thanked Pell for his “trustworthy” work and collaboration, and stated he would anticipate Australian justice to run its course earlier than making a judgment himself.
For years, Pell has confronted allegations that he mishandled instances of clergy abuse as archbishop of Melbourne and, later, Sydney. However extra lately, Pell himself turned the main target of a clergy intercourse abuse investigation, with Victoria detectives flying to the Vatican to interview him final yr.
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