A top advisor to Pope Francis is being charged with multiple sexual assaults in Australia.
Cardinal George Pell has been charged with what Australian police call "multiple historic sexual assault offenses." Pell has previously denied accusations of covering up abuse committed by priests when he served as Archbishop of Melbourne from 1996 to 2001. He currently serves as the Vatican treasurer.
The case will test the credibility of Francis’ initiatives aimed at righting the wrongs created by the abuse scandal. Pell is one of the highest ranking members of the Catholic church to be charged directly with sexual abuse.
In a statement this morning, the Archdiocese of Sydney said that the cardinal had been informed of the charges and that “he has again strenuously denied all allegations.”
The book “Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell,” by Louise Milligan. Was released in May and is seemed to spur the investigation. Milligan spent a year interviewing the cardinal’s accusers for the book.