MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Lawyers for the most senior Catholic cleric to face sex charges have told an Australian court that the allegations stemmed from publicity surrounding a national inquiry into child abuse three years ago.
Cardinal George Pell was charged last year with offenses involving multiple complainants in his native Australia. The exact details and nature of the charges have not been disclosed to the public, though police have described them as "historical" sexual assaults, meaning they are alleged to have occurred decades ago.
Lawyers for Pope Frances' former finance minister failed in his application in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday to gain access to his alleged victims' medical records.
A government inquiry began investigating in 2012 how institutions responded to sexual abuse of children in Australia over 90 years.