George Pell back in Australia to fight charges

Australia's most senior Catholic Cardinal George Pell has returned to Australia to face historical sexual abuse charges in Melbourne.

He was filmed sitting with a friend outside an ice cream shop in Singapore yesterday morning. It is convened on 26 July before the court of Melbourne for a preliminary hearing.

"Tell her that I am", Cardinal Pell responded.

Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican's financial chief, has returned to Australia to defend himself against paedophilia charges. "They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me", he said.

According to The Journal, Pell appeared before the commission three times, once in person and twice via video-link from Rome.

"News of these charges strengthens my resolve".

Cardinal George Pell arrives in Sydney ahead of court appearance on sex abuse charges

Pell has declared his innocence and said he would return to Australia to clear his name.

"He has cooperated in the past with Australian authorities, for example, in his depositions before the royal commission, has supported the pontifical commission for the protection of minors, and finally - as a diocese and bishop in Australia - has introduced systems and procedures both for the protection of minors and to provide assistance to victims of abuse", the Holy See said.

Pell, who served as the Archbishop for Sydney and Melbourne before taking becoming the Vatican's secretariat for the economy in 2014, has vehemently denied the allegations.

Another passenger on the flight from Singapore said Cardinal Pell was met by two police officers when he disembarked in Sydney. Australian Catholics were encouraged to pray for the cardinal...

That investigation found 7% of priests in Australia were accused of abusing children, from 1950 until 2015.

The announcement of his indictment at the end of June coincided with the end of a long national survey on the institutional responses made in Australia for the sexual abuse of children, eventually requested by the government in 2012 after a decade of lobbying by victims.

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  • Megan Austin