Cardinal Pell spotted relaxing in Singapore ahead of Melbourne court appearance

George Pell
Cardinal George Pell arrives in Sydney ahead of court appearance on sex abuse charges

11 July, 2017

Cardinal George Pell has returned to Australia on Monday morning, to face court over historical sex abuse charges.

Australia's Victoria police have yet to release a list of charges against the 76-year-old cardinal and have not disclosed any information about alleged victims.

Pell was a priest in rural Victoria in the 1970s and 1980s before he became archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 and archbishop of Sydney in 2001.

At that news conference in Rome last month, Cardinal Pell said he was a victim of "relentless character assassination". He was granted leave of absence from the Vatican to fight the charges. He is due to appear at Melbourne Magistrates' Court on July 26.

Video taken by a tourist shows Cardinal Pell in casual clothes with a companion outside an ice-cream shop in Singapore.

A male passerby spoke to Cardinal Pell, saying he had spoken to his mother who wanted to know whether Cardinal Pell was innocent.

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It said in a statement Pell "consulted his doctors and on their advice took several days to return home, breaking his journey in a number of places to avoid long-haul flights".

Pell's office confirmed at that time that he participated in the interview and said he rejected "all and every allegation of sexual abuse".

Police have said the accusations relate to alleged "historic" incidents.

It was his first appearance outside of Rome since police laid the charges.

That investigation found 7% of priests in Australia were accused of abusing children, from 1950 until 2015. "They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me", he said in an address to media in Rome the day he was charged.

"Survivors have been calling for a royal commission for years, simply because we couldn't get justice", said Mr. Collins, who has said he was abused by four different men in churches and schools in Ballarat, Cardinal Pell's hometown.

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