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Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton provided the following statement at a Victoria Police press conference on Thursday. He did not take any questions.

“Good morning. Today Victoria Police have charged Cardinal George Pell with historical sexual assault offences. Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic official has been summonsed to appear in court on July 18th to face multiple charges of historic sex offences.

“Cardinal Pell has been charged on summons and he is required to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 18 this year for a filing hearing.

“The charges were today served on Cardinal Pell’s legal representatives in Melbourne and they have been lodged also at the Melbourne Magistrates Court.

“Cardinal Pell is facing multiple charges in respect of historic sexual offences and there are multiple complainants relating to those charges.

“During the course of the investigation in relation to Cardinal Pell, there has been a lot of reporting in the media and a lot of speculation about the process that has been involved in the investigation and also the charging.

“So for clarity, I want to be perfectly clear, the process and procedures that are being followed in the charging of Cardinal Pell have been the same that have been applied in a whole range of historical sex offences whenever we investigate them.

“The fact that he has been charged on summons, we have used advice from the Office of Public Prosecutions and also we have engaged with his legal representatives is common and standard practice.

Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton.

“So there has been no change in any procedures whatsoever. Cardinal Pell has been treated the same as anyone else in this investigation.

“Advice was received and sought from the Office of Public Prosecutions, however ultimately the choice to charge Cardinal Pell was one that was made by Victoria Police.

“It is important to note that none of the allegations that have been made against Cardinal Pell have obviously been tested in any court yet.

“Cardinal Pell, like any other defendant, has a right to due process and so therefore it is important that the process is allowed to run its natural course.

“Preserving the integrity of that process is essential to all of us and so for Victoria Police it is important that it is allowed to go through unhindered and allowed to see natural justice is afforded to all the parties involved, including Cardinal Pell and the complainants in this matter.

“Because of that, I am not in a position to take any questions here this morning and in moving forward, Victoria Police won’t be making any further comments in respect of this matter.

“Cardinal Pell, as I say, has been charged. He is to appear at Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 18 for a filing hearing and it relates to multiple charges and multiple complainants.

“We won’t be making any further comment. The matter will now proceed through the courts. Thank you.”