VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican says that leaders of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference have traveled to Rome to discuss "the restoration of trust" amid a sex abuse scandal involving Australian cardinal George Pell, a top adviser to the pope.

The Vatican announced the delegation's visit this week in a statement Saturday, saying key Australian church leaders met with top officials including the Vatican secretary of state and the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, which is the Vatican office that processes all cases of priests accused of sexually abusing minors.

The extraordinary meetings in Rome come months after the Vatican released Pell to return to Australia to face charges in the decades-old case. Pell, who took a leave of absence as the Vatican's financial czar, denies the charges.

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