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Cardinal George Pell reaches Australia to face sexual abuse charges

Cardinal George Pell reaches Australia to face sexual abuse charges”

Cardinal George Pell has arrived in Sydney as he prepares to face court over alleged historical sexual offences.

On Sunday, images emerged of a casual Cardinal Pell at an ice-cream shop in Singapore's main tourist strip Orchard Road. It is convened on 26 July before the court of Melbourne for a preliminary hearing.

Thomas Doyle, a former Catholic priest and a columnist for the National Catholic Reporter, told NPR last week that before these allegations, Pell had already been criticized for his treatment of victims of clerical sex abuse.

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"The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me", he said, according to a transcript of his remarks published by ABC News. In his role as the Vatican "Secretariat for the Economy" he is third in charge of the Church answering directly to the Pope. Authorities only said there were multiple charges and "multiple complainants".

"When he was told of the charges by the Victoria police, Cardinal Pell said in Rome he totally rejected the allegations, was completely innocent of the charges and would return to Australia to vigorously defend himself and clear his name", the statement said. "At the same time, it's important to recall that Cardinal Pell has openly and repeatedly condemned as immoral and intolerable the acts of abuse against minors".

"The prelate 76-year-old was charged in late June for ' crimes of sexual assault, old", without any precision on the facts alleged or the ages of the alleged victims. Australian Catholics were encouraged to pray for the cardinal...

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His court appearance will make him become the highest-ranking Vatican official to ever be charged in the church's long-running sexual abuse scandal.

The charges coincided with the final stages of Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, ordered in 2012 after a decade of pressure to investigate widespread allegations of institutional paedophilia.

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