Cardinal George Pell reaches Australia to face sexual abuse charges

On Sunday, Nine broadcast video of Pell in casual attire with a companion outside an ice cream shop in Singapore.

Returning to Sydney two weeks after the charges were leveled against him, the Holy See's third-ranking figure has taken a leave of absence from the Vatican to defend himself at Melbourne Magistrates Court at the end of the month.

Thomas Doyle, a former Catholic priest and a columnist for the National Catholic Reporter, told NPR last week that before these allegations, Pell had already been criticized for his treatment of victims of clerical sex abuse. "They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me", he said in an address to media in Rome the day he was charged.

"News of these charges strengthens my resolve".

Cardinal George Pell has returned to Australia after being charged with historical sex offences.

Pell was a priest in Australia in the '70s and '80s, and is now one of the most powerful cardinals in the Vatican, as NPR's Laurel Walmsey wrote in late June.

Richie Porte receives medical treatment on the roadside
Richie Porte receives medical treatment on the roadside

It sang praises for Pell's honesty and work for the Vatican economy, and urged all parties to remember that the Cardinal himself has openly condemned sexual abuse against minors.

Church sexual abuse broke into the open in 2002 when it was discovered that U.S. bishops in the Boston area moved abusers from parish to parish instead of defrocking them.

Pell, according to Victoria state Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton, Pell has been summoned to face multiple charges of "historic sexual offences", meaning offences that generally occurred some time ago.

There are multiple alleged victims but police have released no further details of the accusations. In 2014, the commission said Catholic orders in Australia had paid tens of millions of Australian dollars in legal fees and settlements on behalf of priests accused of sexual abuse.

While Pell was the archbishop of Sydney, for instance, a man sued the archdiocese over childhood sexual abuse.

  • Joey Payne