Third Highest Ranking Vatican Official, Chief Adviser to Pope, Charged with Child Molestation – Free Thought Project
After various allegations of sexual assault over the years, Cardinal George Pell, top Vatican official, is now facing charges of “historical sexual assault offenses.”
Australia’s most senior Catholic became the highest-ranking Vatican official to be charged with sexual assault, when Australian police announced that he faces multiple “historical sexual assault offenses” early Thursday.
Cardinal George Pell, 76, currently serves as Pope Francis’ chief financial adviser. He is the third highest ranking member of the entire Catholic church.
The Associated Press reported that he is set to appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 18. While Australian police have yet to reveal the details of the charges, the label of “historical” sexual assault charges means that it could have been several years since the offenses were committed.
“It is important to note that none of the allegations that have been made against Cardinal Pell have, obviously, been tested in any court yet,” Victoria State Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton told reporters in Melbourne. “Cardinal Pell, like any other defendant, has a right to due process.”
This is not the first time Pell has been the subject of sexual abuse allegations. The claims date back to before Pell was a priest, with one man testifying that Pell molested him on several occasions at a campsite on Phillip Island in 1961, when he was 12 years old and Pell was a trainee priest.
After Pell was ordained in 1966, there were complaints of his conduct in 1978, when he was Episcopal Vicar for Education in the Ballarat diocese in Victoria.
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