Vatican finance minister rejects latest abuse allegations

Religion News Service

By Josephine McKenna

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Vatican’s finance minister, Cardinal George Pell, has strenuously rejected the latest claims that he sexually abused children many years ago as a priest.

Pell — an Australian who is third in the Vatican hierarchy, after Pope Francis and Secretary of State Pietro Parolin — is the most senior figure in the Catholic Church to be accused of sexually abusing minors.

“The allegations are untrue. I deny them absolutely,” 75-year-old Pell told journalists in Rome on Thursday (July 28).

This week, a TV report by the Australian Broadcasting Corp. said police in the state of Victoria were investigating claims that Pell had touched boys inappropriately and, in a separate incident, appeared naked in front of three boys at a surfing club locker room in the late 1980s.

“Untested allegations should be put through the proper procedures,” Pell said. “I’m quite prepared to cooperate. … I won’t cooperate with trial by the media. I think it’s unjust and inappropriate.”

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