Australian court dismisses cardinal’s sex abuse convictions

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In this Feb. 26, 2019, photo, Cardinal George Pell leaves the County Court in Melbourne, Australia. Australia’s highest court on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 will judge Pell’s appeal against convictions for molesting two teenage choirboys more than two decades ago. But the legal battle over the world’s most senior Catholic convicted of sexually abusing children may not end there. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s highest court has dismissed the convictions of the most senior Catholic found guilty of child sex abuse.

The decision means Cardinal George Pell will be released from prison after serving 13 months of a six-year sentence.

High Court Chief Justice Susan Kiefel announced the decision of the seven judges on Tuesday. Pope Francis’ former finance minister was convicted in 2018 of sexually-abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in a back room of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne in 1996 while he was archbishop of Australia’s second-largest city.

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