Australia's seniormost Catholic official charged with sexual assault offences

| Updated: Jun 29, 2017 12:08 IST

Canberra [Australia], June 29 (ANI): The most senior member of the Catholic Church in Australia, Cardinal George Pell, has been charged with multiple historical sexual assault offences, Victoria Deputy Police Commissioner Shane Patton said on Thursday. Pell had previously denied covering up abuse committed by priests when he served as the Archbishop of Melbourne from 1996 to 2001. He, however, acknowledged his deceased predecessor, Archbishop Frank Little, had destroyed documents to protect priests. He now serves as the Archbishop of Sydney, CNN reports. "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. Cardinal Pell has been treated the same as anyone else in this investigation," CNN quoted Patton, as saying. Pell will now be required to appear in the Melbourne Magistrate's court on July 18 for a filing hearing. (ANI)