World News

Australian Catholic Church says Cardinal Pell 'strenuously denies' sexual assault charges

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Catholic Church in Australia said on Thursday Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican treasurer, “strenuously denies” multiple sexual assault offences brought against him by Australian police.

“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,” the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney said in a statement.

“He said he is looking forward to his day in court and will defend the charges vigorously,” it said.

Australian police charged Pell by summons on Thursday to appear before Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 18.

Reporting By Jane Wardell; Editing by Paul Tait