Sexual abuse: Cardinal Pell, Vatican treasurer, to plead not guilty
The lawyer of Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican treasurer, has said that he will plead not guilty to all allegations of sexual abuse. Cardinal Pell, Australia's senior-most cleric, was present for an administrative hearing that lasted less than 10 minutes. Prosecutors have time till September 8 to prepare evidence. The next hearing will be on October 6. Pell has consistently denied the "abhorrent" accusations.
Vatican treasurer Cardinal Pell charged with sexual offences
On 29th June, Australian police charged Cardinal Pell, treasurer and the third-ranking official of the Vatican for historical sex offences. Cardinal Pell, who is also Australia's most senior Catholic figure has blatantly denied the charges. "Cardinal Pell will return to Australia, as soon as possible, to clear his name... and vigorously defend the charges against him", noted the Church's official statement.
What are the allegations against Cardinal Pell?
While the exact nature of allegations was kept under wraps, Victoria police notes that the allegations are in relation to "historical incidents". "Cardinal Pell is facing multiple charges and there are multiple complainants," noted Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton.
Cardinal George Pell
Cardinal Pell is Australia's senior most cleric and occupies a leading position in the Church's debate on controversial issues including homosexuality. He had also handled the inquiry on child abuse allegations against Australian clerics. Pell, who served as Australia's archbishop between 1996-2001, had testified that the church made enormous mistakes in refusing to believe the abused children and transferring the perpetrators to different parishes.