Australia high court overturns conviction of highest ranking Vatican official publicly accused of sex crimes
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Cardinal George Pell, an Australian cardinal of the Catholic Church who was convicted in late 2018 of child sex abuse, will be freed from prison after Australia's highest court overturned his conviction on Tuesday.

CNN reported that the court unanimously ruled that a jury that convicted Pell of forcing a child to perform a sexual act "ought to have entertained a doubt as to the applicant's guilt with respect to each of the offenses for which he was convicted, and ordered that the convictions be quashed and that verdicts of acquittal be entered in their place."

Pell will be immediately freed from prison and the decision ends a years-long legal battle over his future. He was sentenced to six years in prison in March of 2019, and has served roughly one year of that sentence.

He remains the highest-ranking Vatican official to be charged with a sex crime, as Pell previously served as the Vatican's budgetary director, as well as a member of the Pope's Council of Cardinal Advisers. Church officials had pledged their own, independent investigation into the allegations he faced. The Catholic Church has faced accusations of sex abuse in countries across the world for years, a problem Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope calls for easing of tensions between Russia and Ukraine Pope Francis asks Minnesota bishop to resign following Vatican probe Biden should look to 'Ostpolitik' to negotiate with autocrats MORE pledged to address in March of last year.

Pell's trial was hugely controversial in Australia, and in late 2018 led to one newspaper in the country publicly complaining of censorship over a gag order preventing it from publishing details of the scandal.