Friday, June 30, 2017

Vatican financial Cardinnal charged with sex abuse

Jun 30 2017 : The Times of India (Chennai)
Vatican financial czar charged with sex abuse
Vatican City | Sydney:

Cardinal George Pell, one of Pope Francis' top advisers, took a leave of absence as the Vatican's financial czar on Thursday to fight multiple criminal charges in his native Australia that allege he committed sexual assault years ago.Australian police charged Cardinal Pell with multiple historical sex crimes, bringing a worldwide abuse scandal to the heart of the Vatican. As Vatican economy minister, Pell is the highestranking Church official to face such accusations. He asserted his innocence and said the pontiff had given him leave of absence to return to Australia to defend himself.
“I am looking forward finally to having my day in court. I repeat that I am inno cent of these charges. They are false,“ the 76-year-old told a news conference. “The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me.“
Pell's high-profile departure, even if only temporary , poses a dilemma for a pontiff who has vowed zero tolerance for such offences. It may also have implications for Francis' drive to reform Vatican finances, which has been spearheaded by Pell, who also sits on a panel of nine cardinals from around the world who advise the pope.
Police in the Australian state of Victoria, where Pell was a country priest in the 1970s, said he faced “multiple charges in respect of historic sexual offences“ from multiple complainants. They did not detail the charges against Pell or specify the ages of the alleged victims or the period when the crimes were alleged to have occurred. He was ordered to appear before Melbourne Magistrates' Court on July 18. Pell, who declined to take questions, decried a “relentless character assassination“ by the media and said he wanted to “clear my name and then return to my work in Rome“. Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said Pell would not appear in public church services for the time being.
Church sexual abuse broke into the open in 2002, when it was discovered that US bishops in the Boston area had simply moved abusers to new posts instead of defrocking them. Thousands of cases have come to light around the world since then.

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