SEX SCANDAL: Pope's aide arrives Australia to face charges

Jul 11, 2017, 00:45
SEX SCANDAL: Pope's aide arrives Australia to face charges

Vatican finance chief Cardinal George Pell is in Sydney, Australia, as he appear in court later this month to face historical child sex abuse charges.

A video obtained by 9News shows the 76-year-old looking relaxed in casual attire as he sits with a friend outside an ice cream shop in the island state. He has strongly denied any wrongdoing and is due to appear at a court in Melbourne in a fortnight.

"Tell her that I am", Pell said.

The Australia's most senior Catholic in his defence said he is innocent and is looking forward to fight the charges against him in court. Pell is the top financial adviser to the pope, while Pope Francis has pledged to have zero tolerance for sexual abuse within the church. He said, "The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me".

It was his first appearance outside of Rome since police laid the charges.

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"News of these charges strengthens my resolve". Authorities only said there were multiple charges and "multiple complainants".

It sang praises for Pell's honesty and work for the Vatican economy, and urged all parties to remember that the Cardinal himself has openly condemned sexual abuse against minors. Similar scandals have since been discovered around the world.

Police have said the accusations relate to alleged "historic" incidents.

His return comes less than two weeks after Victoria Police confirmed he had been charged on summons in relation to multiple historical sexual abuse allegations.

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. In 2014, the commission said Catholic orders in Australia had paid tens of millions of Australian dollars in legal fees and settlements on behalf of priests accused of sexual abuse.

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