Cardinal Takes Leave From Vatican Over Sexual Assault Allegations

On Thursday, Cardinal George Pell, a trusted adviser of The Pope, took a leave of absence.

The move comes as Cardinal Pell prepares to fight multiple sexual assault charges in his native Australia. While speaking at the Vatican press office, Pell vehemently denied the charges. He denounced them as “relentless character assassinations” and he declared his intention to fight the charges.

“I repeat that I am innocent of these charges. They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me,” Pell said.

Pell is the highest-ranking Vatican official ever to be charged in the church’s long-running sexual abuse scandal.

Earlier, Victoria State Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton had announced the charges. Patton said police had summonsed Pell to appear in court to face multiple counts of “historical sexual assault offenses”.

At this time, there are no details on the allegations against the cardinal.

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