Top aide to Pope Francis denies Australia abuse claims

AFP                      February 20, 2016                                 Yahoo News on-line

Vatican City (AFP) – Vatican finance chief Cardinal George Pell on Friday claimed he was the victim of a smear campaign after it emerged that Australian police are investigating claims he groomed and abused five to 10 boys during his time as a priest.

“The allegations are without foundation and utterly false,” a statement issued by Pell’s office in Rome said after Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper reported that a police taskforce had been investigating him for over a year over allegations that he abused the boys.

The Herald Sun’s revelations prompted global abuse survivors’ network SNAP to call on Pope Francis to immediately suspend the 74-year-old from his senior role in the Vatican’s bureaucracy.

“Over a year, more than a dozen cops and they say they’ve found five or 10 alleged victims of Pope Francis’s top aide,” SNAP spokesperson Joelle Casteix said.

“That’s pretty credible and serious. For the safety of kids, the pontiff should suspend Pell.”

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