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Vatican cardinal charged with sex offenses in Australia

Cardinal George Pell, the third-ranking official in the Vatican, responsible for the Holy See's finances, is facing at least three sexual assault charges related to historic abuse allegations, Australian police said Thursday.

Pell's legal representatives in Melbourne were served the charges, and he will appear in court July 18. Police say there are "multiple complainants," but would not reveal the allegations; The Sydney Morning Herald reports he is being charged with at least one count of rape. Pell, 75, was made a cardinal in 2003, and has served as the archbishop of both Sydney and Melbourne. He is expected to return to Australia to face the charges, and when rumors of the allegations first surfaced, Pell told reporters he is innocent.