|George Pell lunching with Tony Abbott|
|A young George Pell|
The Victorian police here in Australia have charged Cardinal George Pell with sexual assault offences dating back years ago. He is the third most senior Catholic in the Vatican and Australia's most senior.
The decision to charge Pell comes after a long drawn out string of allegations against him being reported in the media by men stating what he'd allegedly done to them. He gained attention on the issue as well during the royal commission into child sex abuse by religious bodies. The royal commission sumarised that 7% of Australian Catholic priests were paedophiles. He has and continues to deny the allegations.
Pell is known to have regularly lunched with Tony Abbott before his appointment to the Vatican, as Abbott is Catholic and took advice from him.
Cardinal George Pell, Australia's highest ranking Catholic, will face at least three serious child sex assault charges, including at least one count of rape.
Victoria Police has confirmed Cardinal Pell has been charged on summons over multiple allegations against multiple victims and is due to face Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 18 for a filing hearing.
Cardinal Pell was a priest in Ballarat before becoming Archbishop of Melbourne and then being appointed as a Cardinal.
The Catholic Archdiocese in Melbourne has been contacted for comment.
When it comes to historical sex abuse prosecutions, the charge an alleged offender faces, and the applicable maximum penalty, is determined by when the alleged offence occurred.
There have been several overhauls of sexual offence laws since the 1980s. Buggery was repealed as a crime in 1981. But offenders accused of crimes before that date will be charged with laws relevant to the time of the alleged offence.
For offences committed prior to February of that year, rape was punishable by a maximum prison term of 20 years, and buggery with a term of 15 years. ninemsn
George Pell, Catholic Cardinal, charged with historical sexual assault offences https://t.co/a3qXxNJHiL pic.twitter.com/YobyQj35ya— ABC News (@abcnews) June 29, 2017
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