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AGF s.r.l./REX
World News

Adviser to pope arrives in Australia to face sex abuse charges

Australia announced the charges against Pell but he says he is innocent and promises to fight to clear his name. He has taken a leave of absence for the trial, but says he plans on returning to his powerful post in the Vatican.

Pell, 76, landed in Sydney on Monday from Singapore and "declined to comment" avoiding reporters entirely.

Pell was a priest in Australia in the '70s and '80s, and is now one of the most powerful cardinals in the Vatican.

The charges against him involve "multiple complainants," as the Victoria police put it. Meanwhile Pell calls the accusations "relentless character assassination".

"The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me," Pell told reporters last month as he denied the allegations.

Last year, he denied claims he covered up the abuse of other priests during his time in Ballarat in the Australian state of Victoria.

Cardinal Pell's questioning caused controversy after he said that he was unable to fly back to Australia due to a heart condition and so he has been testifying by video link.

As a result, a number of survivors of abuse were crowdfunded to fly to Rome to see the Catholic Cardinal testify in a hotel conference room.

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