Australia’s most senior Catholic figure, Cardinal George Pell, has been charged with sex offences.
The charges relate to alleged “historical” incidents, police in the Australian state of Victoria said on Thursday.
The allegations were made by more than one person, said Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton.
Cardinal Pell has consistently and vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
The Vatican treasurer, who is based in Rome, will be required to face the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 18 July, police said.
Representatives for the Catholic Church in Australia did not immediately return a request for comment.
Victoria Police made the decision to charge Cardinal Pell after receiving advice from prosecutors last month.
Deputy Commissioner Patton said police “process and procedures” had been no different from any other investigation.
“Cardinal Pell has been treated the same as anyone else in this investigation,” he said.
Details of the allegations were not revealed.
The charges were served on Cardinal Pell’s legal representatives in Melbourne on Thursday.