Australia's highest ranking Catholic, Cardinal George Pell, has been charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse, the exact number of charges is not known at this time.
One of the multiple charges against 76-year-old Pell has been because the accuser died, Crown Prosecutor Mark Gibson SC confirmed today.
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.
More as we get it.
Cardinal George Pell is the subject of a Victorian Police investigation looking into multiple child sex abuse allegations.
ABC's 7.30 has obtained eight police statements which detail complaints against Australia's most senior Catholic cleric when he was the Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.
7.30 understands that the Pell case has been referred by Victoria Police to the Office of Public Prosecutions for advice after two men, now in their forties, say he say he touched them inappropriately in the summer of 1978-79 while they were playing in a pool in Eureka, Pell's hometown of Ballarat.
According to the [ABC] Cardinal Pell's office denied the accusations and said he "emphatically and unequivocally rejects any allegations of sexual abuse against him." They accused the ABC of mounting a smear campaign against him.
Pell called the claims "totally untrue and completely wrong".