The Australian Supreme Court on Tuesday acquitted former Vatican financial advisor George Pell of his conviction of abuse. He was released immediately.
78-year-old Pell was sentenced to six years' imprisonment last year for sexually assaulting two 13-year-old boys at Melbourne's Saint Patrick's Cathedral. He could appeal his sentence to Australia's highest court. He acquitted him on Tuesday.
According to the Australian Supreme Court, the evidence presented to the jury was not convincing enough for a conviction and therefore the jury should not have found Pell guilty.
Pell was important to the Pope
Cardinal Pell was the chief financial adviser to Pope Francis and also Vatican Minister of Economic Affairs. He is still highly regarded within the Vatican.
He is said to have sexually assaulted two choir boys in the 1990s. The clergyman was then the Archbishop of Melbourne.
Pell's lawyers had appealed the conviction on several grounds. Among other things, they claimed that prosecutors relied too much on statements made by the only surviving victim. The second victim died in 2014 from the consequences of an overdose.
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