Cardinal lands in Australia to face sexual abuse charges

 

SYDNEY (AP) — The most senior Vatican cleric to be implicated in the Roman Catholic Church child abuse scandal has returned to Australia to stand trial in his home state on multiple charges of sexual assault from years ago.

Pope Francis’ top financial adviser, Cardinal George Pell, avoided waiting media when landed at Sydney Airport on Monday on a flight from Singapore.

Australia’s senior Catholic had declined to comment to media who questioned him in Singapore at the weekend as he made his way home.

The 76-year-old cleric is due to appear in a court in the Victoria state capital Melbourne on July 26 on what Victoria Police described as multiple counts of “historical sexual assault offenses” — meaning offenses that generally occurred some time ago. Pell has vowed to fight the charges.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.