Cardinal Pell: Vatican treasurer denies Australia sex offences
He complained that he had been subjected to “relentless murder” during a two-year investigation of “false” allegations.
He said the pope had conceded that he was going to fight the charges.
The charges refer to alleged “historical” facts, police said in Victoria state.
The allegations were made by a number of people, said Shane Patton Police Commissioner Deputy.
Cardinal Pell, 76, who is based in the Vatican, told a news conference at the Holy See, “I look forward to spending my day in court.
“I am innocent of these charges being false. The idea of sexual abuse is horrible for me.”
As treasurer of the Vatican, Cardinal Pell is considered the third head of the Holy See.
The Catholic Church in the world has experienced in recent years a series of prejudicial allegations of sexual abuse by priests and claims that these cases were hidden.
What are the charges?
Victoria police said they took the decision to charge Cardinal Pell after prosecutors received a notice last month.
“Cardinal Pell faces multiple charges and there are several plaintiffs,” said Patton’s assistant to the Commissioner.
Details of the allegations have not been proven.
Deputy Commissioner Patton said the “process” and police procedures were no different from any other research.
“Cardinal Pell was treated like everyone else in this investigation,” he said.
The charges were Cardinal Pell’s legal representatives in Melbourne on Thursday.
The cardinal would have to face the Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 18, said the Patton Deputy Commissioner.
Who is Cardinal Pell?
Cardinal George Pell walks in Vatican images CityImage copyrightGETTY
Cardinal Pell has been a strong advocate of traditional Catholic values, taking a conservative stance on marriage and same-sex contraception and promoting priestly celibacy.
But his career was initially tarnished by allegations of having covered the sexual abuse of children by priests, and later himself was an abuser. He has always denied the allegations.
In 2014, Cardinal Pell was called to Rome to become head of Vatican finance, a new position created by Francis in the context of Vatican Bank scandals.
But he left a growing anger over revelations of sexual violence in children by Catholic clergy in Australia.
Cardinal Pell has repeatedly reiterated allegations of abuse of the victims of concealment and his critics have accused him of appearing distant and arrogant.
He was accused of moving a notorious pedophile priest – Gerald Ridsdale – around parishes instead of reporting it, and trying to present a casualty victim.
He denied the allegations, but said he could have done more to investigate allegations of abuse.
In 2016, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) was issued accusations of two men who claimed that Cardinal Pell had played improperly in the 1970s.
He flatly denied the allegations, which he describes as a “scandalous defamation campaign.”
More information about Cardinal Pell
Shockwaves – Hywel Griffith correspondent for BBC Australia
Cardinal Pell is not only the greatest scholar of Australia, he is one of the highest officials in the Catholic world.
For two decades, she was a front-line figure in the church’s debate on controversial issues such as homosexuality, AIDS research and stem cells.
He also referred to the church’s official response to allegations of sexual abuse within its ranks to Australians during a series of investigations.
When he gave videoconference tests to a Royal Commission for abuse last year, some survivors of abuse flew all the way to Rome to see him.