SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian police said on Wednesday they have interviewed the Vatican’s Australian-born financial controller, Cardinal George Pell, in relation to allegations of sexual assault.
Victoria state police said investigations were continuing as a result of last week’s interview in Rome, but declined to comment further.
Pell, who was a priest and then archbishop in Australia before taking the Vatican role in 2014, confirmed he participated in the interview but denied the allegations.
“The cardinal repeats his previous rejection of all and every allegation of sexual abuse and will continue to co-operate with Victoria Police until the investigation is finalised,” his office said in a statement.
Pell, 75, this year testified at an Australian government inquiry into institutional child abuse, where he said the Roman Catholic Church made “catastrophic” choices by refusing to believe abused children, shuffling abusive priests from parish to parish and over-relying on counseling of priests to solve the problem.
Church sexual abuse broke into the open in 2002, when it was discovered that U.S. bishops in the Boston area moved abusers from parish to parish instead of defrocking them. Similar scandals have since been discovered around the world and tens of millions of dollars have been paid in compensation.
Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Jane Wardell, Robert Birsel