The third highest ranked man in the Catholic Church World wide, CHARGED with 'multiple' child sex offences

The third most senior cardinal in the Catholic Church has been charged with historic sex offences stemming from multiple complainants.
Pell (pictured) has always strongly denied all allegations of abuse
Just hours after Australian police confirmed Cardinal George Pell is facing multiple charges, the 76-year-old vowing to return to his homeland and 'clear his name.'
Cardinal Pell was summonsed from Rome on Thursday after Victoria police presented the charges to his Melbourne legal team and the court. He is due before Melbourne Magistrates court on July 18.
Cardinal Pell has been accused of sexually abusing and grooming boys.
The allegations date back to when Pell was a priest in Ballarat, Victoria, and Archbishop of Melbourne.
The charges reportedly include three sex assault charges, including one count of rape, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Cardinal Pell's lawyers have successfully applied to restrict details about the charges and complaints from being reported in the media, according to The Herald Sun.
An interim order was approved on Thursday but another application will be made next week.
Cardinal Pell appeared to have known police were preparing to file charges when he was asked about the allegations outside his home at the Vatican the night prior, according to The Herald Sun.
'I am co-operating,' the Catholic official told the publication when asked if he would return home to fight the charges.
Cardinal Pell was appointed to the Vatican's Secretariat of Economy in 2014, the third highest ranked position within the church
The 76-year-old released a formal statement on Thursday afternoon.
'Cardinal Pell is facing multiple charges in respect of historic sexual offences. There are multiple complainants relating to those charges,' Victoria state police deputy commissioner Shane Patton said.
'Cardinal Pell has been treated the same as anyone else in this investigation. Advice was received and sought from the office of public prosecutions, however ultimately, the choice to charge Cardinal Pell was one that was made by Victoria Police.'
Victoria police would not specify the charges and said they would not comment on the allegations again.
Australia has no extradition agreement with the Vatican so Cardinal Pell could still decline to return, despite his vow to come home.
'Although it is still in the early hours of the morning in Rome, Cardinal George Pell has been informed of the decision and action of Victoria Police,' the statement said.
'He has again strenuously denied all allegations.'
'Cardinal Pell will return to Australia, as soon as possible, to clear his name following advice and approval by his doctors who will also advise on his travel arrangements.'
'He said he is looking forward to his day in court and will defend the charges vigorously.'
Cardinal Pell will make an additional statement in Rome at the Holy See Press Office at 4.30pm AEST.
He has always strongly denied all allegations of abuse.
Police could be powerless to make Cardinal Pell return to Australia if he declines to do so on his own because he is so high up in the Vatican that he has diplomatic immunity.
Cardinal Pell was appointed to the Vatican's Secretariat of Economy in 2014, the third highest ranked position within the church.
His high ranking grants him diplomatic immunity in Australia, meaning he cannot be forced to attend court or provide information, according to legal experts.
New South Wales state parliament member David Shoebridge told the Newcastle Herald in May that Australia had an extradition treaty with Italy, but it did not include the Vatican.
'[Australia] hasn't managed in 44 years to get one in place with the tiny pretend nation-state of the Vatican that exists wholly within Rome,' he said.
'This is why George Pell can't be forced back to face questioning.'
Professor Donald Rothwell, who is an extradition expert, told The Age this week Australian police could appeal to Italy to make the extradition.
That means Cardinal Pell could be arrested by Italian authorities if stepped outside of the Vatican.

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