Cardinal Pell arrives in Australia to face abuse charges

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 09, 2017 6:46 PM

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A top Vatican official charged in his native Australia with historical sex crimes arrived in Sydney on Monday ahead of a court appearance later in the month.

Australia's Channel 9 broadcast video of Cardinal George Pell being whisked away from Sydney airport early in the morning.

Australian police charged the adviser to Pope Francis late last month, making the Vatican economy minister the highest-ranking Church official to face such accusations.

Pell has declared his innocence and said he would return to Australia to clear his name.

On Sunday, Channel 9 broadcast video taken by a tourist of Pell in casual attire with a companion outside an ice cream shop in Singapore. The tourist told Pell his mother wanted to know if he was innocent.

"Tell her that I am," Pell said.

Pell is on leave of absence to defend himself and the video marks the first time he has been seen in public outside Rome since police charged him.

He is due to appear in a Melbourne court on July 26.

(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Mary Milliken)