Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell, who originally is Australian, now is under investigation in relation to multiple allegations of child abuse in his home country, Victoria state police said.
The allegations against Pell were investigating for more than a year, Victoria state Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said on a Melbourne radio station program on Thursday.
"The investigation is ongoing," Ashton told Radio 3AW, confirming an Australian Broadcasting Television report on Wednesday that detailed allegations of abuse dating from the 1970s to the 1990s in interviews with alleged victims.
Pell's office in a statement issued in Rome on Wednesday said he "refutes all the allegations made on the program".
Victoria Police has sent a brief of evidence to the Office of Public Prosecutions and is waiting to hear if charges should be laid.
"The allegations are untrue. I deny them absolutely," Cardinal Pell told reporters in Rome.
"While the Cardinal in no way wishes to cause any harm to those making allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse against him, the simple fact is that they are wrong," the statement from Pell's office said. It also stated that Pell would continue to cooperate with any investigation.
Pell was a priest in rural Victoria in the 1970s and 1980s before he became archbishop of Melbourne in 1996 and archbishop of Sydney in 2001. He went to Vatican in 2014.