Australia: Archbishop accused of abuse stands down

 The hierarchy of the Sydney Archdiocese will meet today to discuss who will assume the role temporarily vacated by Archbishop George Pell. The talks follow Dr Pell's decision yesterday, to stand down from his job while he is the subject of an investigation into allegations of child sex abuse which he vehemently denied. "I deny them totally and utterly," he said in a statement yesterday. "To allege that I am personally implicated in this evil is a smear of the most vindictive kind.......I repeat emphatically, that the allegations are false". Dr Pell agreed to co-operate fully with the independent investigation into the allegation which will be conducted by retired Supreme Court Judge Alec Southwell. The Archbishop is accused of abusing a 12 year old boy 40 years ago, when he was a trainee priest in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. Millions of dollars have already been paid in compensation to victims of sexual abuse by clergy in Australia over the past decade. Just over a month ago Dr Pell said that up 90 priests and brothers had been convicted of sexual abuse in the past six years.

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