ONE of the Pope’s most senior aides has been charged with multiple sex offences, police in Victoria, Australia have confirmed.
Cardinal George Pell, 76 has been under investigation in his homeland since last year following allegations of sexual abuse.
Police sources confirmed the charges relate to “historical” allegations made by more than one person.
Victoria police’s deputy commissioner Shane Patton said: “Cardinal Pell is facing multiple charges and there are multiple complainants.”
He added: “Cardinal Pell has been treated the same as anyone else.”
Officials are yet to confirm the specific charges against the Pope’s senior aide.
The Cardinal has repeatedly denied allegations against him, previously defending the possibility of charges saying: “I’d just like to restate my innocence.
“I stand by everything I’ve said at the royal commission [on child sexual abuse] and in other places.
“We have to respect due process, wait until it’s concluded and obviously I’ll continue to cooperate fully.”
Last year the Pope confirmed he would withhold judgement on his minister until the Australian justice system handed down their ruling.
At the time, the Pope said: “It’s in the hands of the justice system and one cannot judge before the justice system.
“Justice has to take its course and justice by the media or justice by rumour does not help. After the justice system speaks, I will speak.”
The senior cleric, who is based in Vatican City, will face Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 18 July, police confirmed.