Cardinal George Pell has addressed the media following the news earlier today that he's been charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse .
Speaking from Rome, Pell said he's been a victim of “relentless character assassination” during the two years he’s been under investigation.
“The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me,” he said during the statement, adding he’s kept Pope Francis “regularly informed” throughout the investigation.
He maintained he is innocent and all claims are completely and utterly false.
Pell added he is “grateful to the Holy Father” that he will be allowed to take extended leave to come to Australia to clear his name before returning back to Rome.
Australia's highest ranking Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, has been charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse.
Victoria Police announced the charges which have been issued as a result of the child sex investigation, Taskforce Sano.
“Cardinal Pell is facing multiple charges and there are multiple complainants,” Victoria police’s deputy commissioner Shane Patton said.
The Australian reports there up to three serious sex assault charges, including at least one count of rape.
75-year-old Pell has been accused of sexually abusing minors by “both grooming and opportunity’’.
The charges have been lodged also at Melbourne magistrates court. Despite citing ill health last year when he was due to give evidence, Pell is set to appear at Melbourne magistrates court on 18 July.
He is the third-ranking official in the Vatican. No doubt these charges have sent shockwaves through the Catholic Church.