Australian Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s top financial officer, is facing multiple allegations of sexual abuse in his native country, according to a new report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. As he has in the past when suggestions of impropriety have arisen, Pell has vigorously denied the allegations while expressing sympathy and concerns for victims of clerical abuse. According to a program on the ABC network, Pell faces accusations from the Australian cities of Ballarat, Torquay and Melbourne dating from the period in the 1970s, 80s and 90s when Pell served as a priest and, later, as the Archbishop of Melbourne. Pell today is the Prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, a new body created by Pope Francis to oversee his project of financial reform. According to ABC, a police taskforce in the state of Victoria – which includes Melbourne – called SANO, set up to investigate complaints coming out of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, has been examining the allegations against Pell. Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton confirmed last month that the taskforce was investigating multiple allegations against the cardinal and, if necessary, detectives would fly to Rome to interview George Pell, although the Chief Commissioner said “it had not been put as necessary to me at this point in time”. In a statement to the ABC, Pell’s office said he “emphatically and unequivocally rejects any allegations of sexual abuse against him”, and accused the network of mounting a smear campaign against him.