Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican treasurer, has been accused of sexually abusing children on several occasions in the 1970s. Pell is expected to return to Australia, where the indictment was filed, in order to fight the charges.

Cardinal George Pell

Cardinal George Pell Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

An indictment has been filed against Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican treasurer and third most important figure in the Catholic Church, for allegedly sexually abusing children in Australia. Pell’s lawyers in Melbourne have received a copy of the indictment. The senior Vatican official is expected to return to Australia in order to fight the charges. He is required to appear in front of the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court on July 18.

“I want to be perfectly clear — the process and the procedures that have been followed in the charging of Cardinal Pell have been the same that have been applied in a whole range of historical sex offenses whenever we investigate them,” Victoria Deputy Police Commissioner Shane Patton stated at a press conference. “Cardinal Pell has been treated the same as anyone else in this investigation.”

“I’m looking forward finally to having my day in court,” Pell said during a press conference in Rome. “I’m innocent of these charges. They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me.”