George Pell has been acquitted by the Australian high court on Tuesday for sexually assaulting two teen choirboys in the 1990s allowing the cardinal to be immediately freed after 404 days in jail.
THE Pope has welcomed the verdict and praised Pell for waiting “for the truth to be ascertained.” The Vatican claims that it always possessed confidence in the Australian justice system and that the ex-treasurer maintained his innocence.
Pell’s was the most high-profile case of alleged sexual abuse to disrupt the Roman Catholic Church in the Vatican’s history.
The judges of the high court made a unanimous decision that the jury should have entertained a doubt as guilt, they argue that there was not enough evidence apart from the fact that the jurors found the witness to be compelling and believable.
Hours after his acquittal, Pope Francis outlined the “persecution that Jesus suffered” and has prayed for those who may “suffer unjust sentences.” Although Pope Francis did not mention Pell by name his sermon mentioned the case in an ambiguous way.
Pell was the minister of economy for The Vatican and number three in its pyramid of hierarchy, as he was in charge of rooting out corruption and overseeing the Holy See’s finances.