In May 2023, Katalin Nóvak, the President of Hungary, announced her resignation after widespread demonstrations against her for pardoning a deputy director of an orphanage who had been found guilty of covering up sexual abuse of minors. Nóvak acknowledged her mistake in granting the pardon and apologized to those who were hurt by her actions. She felt a deep sense of responsibility to step down from her position, as she had gone against the oath she had taken.
Nóvak emphasized the importance of protecting children and stressed that she never intended to condone any actions that harmed vulnerable minors. She also highlighted the significance of taking responsibility for one’s mistakes and facing up to them, especially in public life and politics.
The scandal involving Nóvak and then-Minister of Justice Judit Varga prompted a movement calling for Nóvak’s resignation. This movement influenced Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s decision to propose a constitutional amendment to prevent convicted pedophiles from receiving presidential pardons.
The deputy director of the orphanage was pardoned in May 2023 but was later found guilty of forcing one victim to sign a false statement and offering another victim money to recant her testimony. The orphanage director, who had received awards from Hungarian authorities, was sentenced to eight years in prison.
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