Cardinal George Pell, a former Vatican treasurer and a key adviser to Pope Francis who was convicted and jailed for child sex abuse, has died at age 81.
Pell died Tuesday in Rome, where he had attended the funeral last week of Pope Benedict XVI.
Pell suffered fatal heart complications following hip surgery, said Archbishop Peter Comensoli, Pell's successor as archbishop of Melbourne.
Pell earned the notorious distinction of being the senior most Catholic clergyman convicted of sexual offences against children.
An Australian convicted him of molesting two 13-year-old choirboys at St. Patrick's Cathedral in the late 1990s, shortly after he became Melbourne's archbishop. Pell served more than a year in solitary confinement before the full bench of the High Court unanimously overturned his convictions in 2020.
Pell, who served as Vatican City's de facto finance chief, was accused during hearings before the 'Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse' of covering up abuse committed by priests when he served as the Archbishop of Melbourne from 1996 to 2001.
Pell was alleged to have abused as many as ten minors who now range between the late 20s to the early 50s. A task force investigating these claims has said that the Cardinal abused minors by 'both grooming and opportunity'.
Pell left Rome in June 2017 to stand trial in Melbourne.
Pell also faced trial for allegedly abusing two other boys at a swimming pool in Victoria in the 1970s when he served as a priest there.
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