Top Vatican Official Charged with Sexual Assault in Australia


At the Vatican, a senior cardinal and top adviser to Pope Francis will return to Australia to face charges of sexual assault. Cardinal George Pell is the third-highest-ranking official in the Roman Catholic Church. Speaking from the Vatican, Cardinal Pell said Pope Francis granted him a leave of absence to return to Australia to defend himself.
Cardinal George Pell: “I’m looking forward finally to having my day in court. I’m innocent of these charges. They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me.”
Cardinal Pell has been ordered to appear in court next month. In 2014, the Vatican admitted nearly 850 priests have been dismissed and more than 2,500 have been disciplined in a sprawling sexual abuse scandal dating back decades.