Australian Cardinal George Pell has been charged today with historic child sex offences. These are for alleged multiple offences against multiple children.

Australian media has reported ten males have alleged they were abused as boys and/ or teens by George Pell.

Like anyone George Pell is entitled under Australian law to the presumption of innocence.

Victorian Police would not have charged him unless they have very strong evidence and the Victorian Office of Public Prosecution has viewed the evidence and supports the laying of charges against George Pell.

Here is a link to an ABC Australia article with a video of the announcement by the deputy of Victorian police.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-29/victoria-police-charge-cardinal-george-pell/8662700

ABC News Australia

George Pell charged with historical sexual assault offences

29 June 2017

 

 

“Cardinal George Pell has been charged with multiple counts of historical sexual assault offences.

Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton from Victoria Police said the Vatican-based Cardinal was required to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 18.

He said the charges were served on Cardinal Pell’s legal representatives in Melbourne, and that they involved multiple complainants.

Last July, police confirmed they were formally investigating complaints about offences that are alleged to have occurred in Ballarat in the 1970s.

Cardinal Pell has always maintained his innocence and strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

“The allegations are untrue, I deny them absolutely,” Cardinal Pell said in July.

He said the allegations were part of a smear campaign by the media.

“I’m like any other Australian — I’m entitled to a fair go,” Cardinal Pell said.

However, he said he was “quite prepared to co-operate with appropriate civil and appropriate procedures”.

In October, three Victoria Police detectives flew to Rome to interview Cardinal Pell.

A Victoria Police statement issued at the time said: “Cardinal George Pell voluntarily participated in an interview regarding allegations of sexual assault.”

Australia does not have an extradition treaty with the Vatican, even though it does with Italy.

As head of the Vatican’s finances, Cardinal Pell is considered number three in the Catholic hierarchy behind the Pope.

Conservative Cardinal’s road to Vatican

Cardinal Pell was the son of a Ballarat publican, a head prefect at school and a talented Australian Rules footballer, who was signed as a ruckman by the Richmond Football Club.

His studies took him to Rome and then Oxford.

In 1971 he returned to Victoria as an ordained priest, and rose through the ranks to eventually become Archbishop of Melbourne.

He rankled progressive Catholics with his resistance to reform.

He opposed the ordination of female priests, was anti-divorce and anti-abortion and also refused communion to gay activists at one of his masses.

In 1990 he said: “Homosexuality — we’re aware that it does exist. We believe such activity is wrong and we believe for the good of society it should not be encouraged.”

His hardline conservatism caught the attention of Rome, and he was chosen to join a Vatican congregation dedicated to enforcing orthodoxy.

“There are many smorgasbord Catholics who choose a bit of this and that … my business as bishop is to proclaim the whole of the message,” he said.

In 1996, then-Archbishop Pell was the first Catholic leader to address the child sexual abuse that has plagued the church.

He instigated a redress scheme called the Melbourne Response.

When announcing the scheme he said: “It’s a matter of regret that the Catholic Church has taken some time to come to grips with the sex abuse issue adequately.”

But the Melbourne Response, which capped compensation for victims at $50,000, was widely criticised as being legalistic and not offering enough support to victims.

He then became Archbishop of Sydney and was made a Cardinal.

In 2014, he was chosen by the Pope to get the Vatican’s finances in order and he moved to Rome.

Ill health prevented him from returning to Australia in 2016 to give evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

“You can’t wave a magic wand and correct the situation,” he told the royal commission.”