After his conviction for child sexual abuse was overturned Tuesday by Australia’s High Court, Cardinal George Pell has released a statement expressing gratitude to his family, friends, and legal team, and noting that he does not bear resentment toward his accuser.
“I have consistently maintained my innocence while suffering from a serious injustice,” Pell said April 7, according to a statement published by the Archdiocese of Sydney.
“This has been remedied today with the High Court’s unanimous decision,” Pell added. “I look forward to reading the Judgment reasons for the decision in detail.”
“I hold no ill will to my accuser. I do not want my acquittal to add to the hurt and bitterness so many feel; there is certainly hurt and bitterness enough.”
“The only basis for long term healing is truth and the only basis for justice is truth, because justice means truth for all,” the cardinal added.
Pell is expected to be released from prison April 7.
Pell was convicted in 2018 of five counts of child sexual abuse. He was alleged to have sexually assaulted two choir boys while he was Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996.
Pell’s attorneys called the allegation “simply impossible,” but after a hung jury in a first trial, he was convicted in a second.
While Pell was, for many, the face of Catholicism in Australia, and was much maligned after an Australian government enquiry revealed decades of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church and other institutions, Pell insisted that his ordeal should have been limited to the allegations against him.
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