Australian police charge Vatican treasurer over historical sexual assaults

Australian police charge Vatican treasurer over historical sexual assaults
This file photo taken on March 31, 2015 shows Australian Cardinal George Pell, Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy of the Holy See, attending a press conferencein Vatican.
PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY - Australian police said on Thursday they have charged the Vatican's treasurer, Australian Cardinal George Pell, with multiple sexual assault offences.

"Cardinal Pell is facing multiple charges in respect of historic sexual offences," Victoria state police deputy commissioner Shane Patton told a news conference in Melbourne.

"There are multiple complainants relating to those charges," he said. Pell was charged by summons to appear before Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 18, Patton said.

Pell's Vatican spokesman and a spokeswoman for the Australian Catholic church did not respond immediately to emails seeking comment.

Patton gave no other details of the charges and would not take questions from the media.

Pell, 76, was a priest in the rural Victorian town of Ballarat before he was appointed Archbishop of Melbourne. He has lived at the Vatican since 2014.

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