Cardinal George Pell has been freed from prison after Australia’s High Court on Tuesday unanimously overturned his conviction on ﬁve counts of historical child sex abuse.
The High Court ruling can’t be challenged. He was Vatican Treasurer and the highest ranking Catholic ofﬁcial to ever be publicly accused of child sex offenses. He always denied the charges. The cardinal’s name will also be removed from Australia’s register of child sex offenders. “I do not want my acquittal to add to the hurt and bitterness so many feel; there is certainly hurt and bitterness enough…. The point was whether I had committed these awful crimes, and I did not,” he said in a statement.
Very few people were present in the small Brisbane courtroom. His lawyer Robert Richter QC told the court the allegations were so implausible that only a “mad man would attempt to rape boys” at such a time and place. Pell lost his place on the Pope’s small council of advisers in 2018.He was convicted in December 2018 and until now served 13 months of a six-year sentence. He was moved to the high security Barwon Prison earlier this year.