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Hungary's president resigns after pardoning a man who was an accomplice in a child sexual abuse case

Novák was elected president in 2022 and announced during a televised message that she would be resigning. 

Published: February 10, 2024 4:30pm

Hungarian President Katalin Novák resigned on Saturday following public outcry over her decision to pardon a man who was convicted for being an accomplice in a child sexual abuse case. 

Novák was elected president in 2022 and announced during a televised message that she would be resigning. 

“I issued a pardon that caused bewilderment and unrest for many people,” she said, according to The Associated Press. “I made a mistake.”

Novák, 46, was Hungary's first female president and youngest person to ever hold that office. She was considered a key ally of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

She issued the pardon in April of 2023 to a man who helped cover up multiple cases of child sexual abuse in a state-run children's home. The man had been sentenced in 2018 to more than three years in prison after being found guilty of pressuring the victims to retract their claims of sexual abuse by the director of the institution. The director had been sentenced to eight years for abusing at least 10 children over a period of more than a decade. 

“I decided in favor of clemency in April of last year in the belief that the convict did not abuse the vulnerability of the children entrusted to him. I made a mistake,” Novák said during her speech. “I apologize to those I have hurt and to any victims who may have felt I am not standing up for them."

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