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Cardinal George Pell denies child sexual abuse charges

In a strongly supportive statement, the Vatican said Pell’s staff would continue his work in his absence and noted Francis’s respect for the Australian’s “honesty” and “energetic dedication” to his work on Church financial reform.In the Vatican, George Pell’s role is described as the second-most powerful role in the Holy city.”Sadly, Cardinal Pell has been a divisive figure in the Catholic Church in Australia for a long time”, he said.As reported by the Guardian, The charges were served on Pell’s legal representatives in Melbourne on Thursday and they have been lodged also at Melbourne magistrates’ court. He further added that he would defend the charges is looking forward to his day in court.Pell will be required to appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 18 for a filing hearing.While details regarding the charges have yet to be released, Al Jazeera’s Andrew Thomas, reporting from Sydney, said: “the fact that there are multiple charges to answer against, really gives the impression that these are very serious allegations”.Cardinal Pell was a Priest in Ballarat before he was appointed Archbishop of Melbourne. They are false.’ Cardinal Pell stated.Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton confirmed the Cardinal had been charged with “historic sexual assault offences” with “multiple complaints”.Meanwhile, in a statement, the Vatican said the “Holy See has learned with regret the news of charges filed in Australia”, but added that the cardinal “has openly and repeatedly condemned the acts of abuses committed against minors”.The police did not specify the charges against Cardinal Pell, 76, nor the ages of the alleged victims nor when the crimes were alleged to have occurred.In 1996, then-Archbishop Pell was the first Catholic leader to address the child sexual abuse that has plagued the church.Three detectives from Vic Police’s Sano Taskforce had travelled to Rome to question Pell in relation to the allegations previous year.But more recently, Pell himself became the focus of a clergy sex abuse investigation.Cardinal George Pell is the third highest ranking member of the Catholic Church. He had even asked Pope to removed Cardinal Pell from his position and take “the strongest action against him”. “It is a sin that shames us”, Pope Francis said.’It is important that all in society recognise that the presumption of innocence applies and that Cardinal Pell like all Australians deserves a fair trial’.