Cardinal George Pell, the most senior member of the Catholic Church in Australia, has been charged with multiple historical sexual assault offenses, Victoria Deputy Police Commissioner Shane Patton said Thursday.
The Herald Sun first revealed in February 2016 that Cardinal Pell was being investigated by Sano taskforce, over historic allegations of sexual abuse.
Last month, the paper reported that the Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP) had returned the brief of evidence on Cardinal Pell to the police for a second time.
It recommended there was enough evidence to warrant the laying of charges, but said that it was a Victoria Police decision whether or not to do so.
The original brief of evidence had been returned by the OPP last August, without a recommendation on whether or not charges should be laid.
Officers from the force’s Sano taskforce then flew to Rome in October to put allegations to Cardinal Pell for the first time. Their dossier was updated after he agreed to be questioned by three Victorian detectives.
Cardinal Pell, the head of the Vatican’s finances, has repeatedly and vehemently denied allegations of any abuse, describing them as without foundation and utterly false.