The 76-year-old Catholic said he was the victim of “relentless character assassination.”
Vatican treasurer, Cardinal George Pell, says goodbye after being charged with sexual offenses
The Vatican treasurer, Cardinal George Pell, who faces multiple counts of child sex offenses in Australia, repeated his Holy Thursday denial of guilt, the BBC reported.
Pell examined the Vatican’s third official, claiming he was the victim of “relentless murder.”
“I am innocent of these charges are false,” said the 76-year-old journalist. “The idea of sexual abuse is horrible for me.” The official said Francisco had conceded that he was going to fight the charges.
Pell, the oldest Catholic clergyman in Australia, was ordered to appear before the Magistrates Court in Melbourne on July 18.
“Victoria police have accused Cardinal George Pell of committing sexual assault offenses,” Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said Thursday.
“There are a number of complainants regarding these allegations.”
Pell is the highest-ranking Catholic official who was charged in the church’s longest-running sexual abuse scandal.
The Royal Commission was created in 2012 to investigate complaints regarding institutional pedophilia.
Pell “looks forward to his day in court and vigorously defend the charges,” said a statement from the Archdiocese of Sydney.
Cardinal Pell has propagated traditional Catholic values, maintained a conservative stance on marriage and same-sex contraception and has been a supporter of priestly celibacy, the BBC reported.
His files were tainted by allegations that he has stifled complaints of sexual abuse of children by priests and committed the crime itself.
During his three hearings before the royal commission, the prefect of the Vatican Secretariat of Economy admitted having “destroyed” the treatment of pedophile priests in the state of Victoria in the 1970s, AFP reported.
By 2014, Francis had appointed as chief financial officer in order to make post-church finances transparent to reports of irregularities in Vatican banking transactions.
In January, Francis had led Catholic bishops around the world to maintain a zero tolerance against sexual abuse of minors by the clergy.
In 2014, a commission composed of some of the victims of sexual abuse was created to advise local churches on how to prevent abuse.
Francis had also proposed setting up a Vatican court to treat bishops accused of covering up sexual abuse, or even not to prevent it.