Se*X Abuse Case Pardon: Hungary President Katalin Novak resigns

Hungarian President Katalin Novak has resigned.

Novak announced her resignation on Saturday after coming under mounting pressure for pardoning a man convicted as an accomplice for helping cover up a sex abuse case in a children’s home.

“I made a mistake … Today is the last day that I address you as a president,” she said in a speech broadcast on state television.

“I made a decision to grant a pardon last April, believing that the convict did not abuse the vulnerability of children whom he had overseen. I made a mistake as the pardon and the lack of reasoning was suitable to trigger doubts over the zero tolerance that applies to paedophilia,” she added.

At least 1,000 people protested in the country’s capital on Friday, demanding her resignation. Hungarian opposition parties had also demanded she leave office.

Novak decided to pardon some two dozen people in April 2023, in advance of a visit by Pope Francis, among them the deputy director of a children’s home who helped the former director of the home hide his crimes.

Endre K was sentenced in 2022 to three years and four months in prison and was barred for a further five years from all activities and occupations in connection with minors.

But due to the Novak’s pardon, he was set free and is allowed, in theory, to return to his profession.

“It is hard to find the words when your decision to show mercy deprives victims of due justice,” one of the victims, Mert Pop, wrote on Facebook, calling on Novak to offer an explanation.

On Tuesday, Novak said she would never pardon a paedophile, including in this case. She said the reason behind her decision was not public and all pardons were divisive by their nature.

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