The Vatican’s finance chief, Australian Cardinal George Pell, attends a mass for the ordination of new bishops at St Peter’s basilica in the Vatican on March 19, 2016. (AFP)

Australian police have launched an investigation into the Vatican’s finance chief, Cardinal George Pell, over allegations of child sex abuse.
According to a report by the national broadcaster, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), police in Victoria State are conducting the probe into allegations of abuse by Pell in Ballarat, Torquay and Melbourne.
The ABC has obtained eight police statements from complainants, family members and witnesses contributing to the investigation.
The report also includes claims that Pell touched two boys inappropriately in a pool in the late 1970s. The two men, who were in primary school at the time, said Pell abused them when he would frequent Ballarat’s Eureka pool. 
The 75-year-old leading Catholic cleric, who was a priest in Ballarat in the 70s, has denounced the claims as "totally untrue," saying claims that he has sexually abused anyone, in any place, at any time in his life are totally untrue and completely wrong.
“If there was any credibility in any of these claims, they would have been pursued by the royal commission by now,” Pell’s office said in a statement.
In 2013, Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was formed to deal with allegations of serial child sex abuse inside the Catholic Church.
Over the past years, the Roman Catholic Church, with the pope at the helm, has been rocked by numerous cases of child sex abuse at the hands of priests.
The issue of abuses being concealed by the church has made many child rights defenders, including Christians, dissatisfied with the church’s handling of the issue and has put church authorities on the defensive.
In July 2015, an inquiry said that the Jehovah’s Witnesses Church in Australia concealed more than 1,000 cases of child sex abuse over a six-decade period. The church, best known for its door-to-door campaigns and “public witnessing,” has about 68,000 members in Australia.
Victims accuse the Jehovah’s Witnesses authorities of protecting abusive priests by ignoring their complaints. 
The UN Committee against Torture confirmed more than two years ago that Vatican officials had not reported abuse charges properly and simply transferred abusive priests instead of punishing them.

Australian cardinal George Pell. Photo / AAP

Two men have come forward claiming Cardinal George Pell groped them at a Victorian pool in the 1970s.
The men, who were in primary school at the time, say Cardinal Pell abused them while they were swimming at Ballarat's Eureka Pool during the summer of 1978-79.
One of the men, Lyndon Monument told ABC's 7.30 he was reluctant to speak up because of the power Cardinal Pell held.
"I didn't like it, but because it was a church and he was George Pell, we just - you just weren't game to ever say anything, you know what I mean," Mr Monument told 7.30.
The two men, now in their 40s, have given separate statements to Victoria Police's special Taskforce Sano last year.
Cardinal Pell, who was a priest in Ballarat in the 70s has denied the allegations, saying claims he has sexually abused anyone, at any place and at any time were "totally untrue and completely wrong".
Last month Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton confirmed child exploitation taskforce Sano is still investigating the cardinal.

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