(FILES) A file photo taken on November 13, 2012, shows Australia's Cardinal George Pell holding the response of the Catholic archdiocese to sexual abuse during a press conference in Sydney. AFP PHOTO / FILES / ROSLAN RAHMAN
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An Australian inquiry into child sex abuse agreed Monday that victims could be present when Cardinal George Pell gives evidence from Rome, as Catholic bishops called for him to be treated fairly.Vatican finance chief Pell, who claims he is the subject of a smear campaign, has said he is too unwell to travel to Australia and will give evidence via video-link from Rome next week. The Royal Commission, which is looking into how Catholic authorities in Melbourne and the Victorian city of Ballarat responded to claims of abuse, said it had received requests from survivors to be present for Pell's questioning. Pell, formerly the top Catholic official in Australia, has always denied knowing of any child abuse occurring in Ballarat, where he was once based, including by pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale who abused dozens of children over two decades.
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