The Saskatchewan government will pay $1.3 million to settle a malicious prosecution lawsuit launched by police officer John Popowich.

The government also apologized and said Popowich, a Saskatoon police corporal, was innocent of sexually assaulting children at a Martensville, Sask., day-care centre in 1992.

"The public will now know I'm an innocent man. I have the papers here to prove it," he said Tuesday.

The officer and eight others were charged after children said they were subjected to bizarre rituals and were forced to participate in sex acts at the day care in the town near Saskatoon.

But a judge declared him not guilty in 1993 after three of the children couldn't pick him out of a lineup.

Travis Sterling, son of the day care's owners, was convicted of two counts of sexual assault. He was the only person convicted.

Saskatchewan Justice Minister Chris Axworthy said Tuesday Popowich would get an apology from the government.

The letter from the government saying Popowich is innocent is very important because it goes beyond being found not guilty, said Geoff Dufour, his lawyer.

Early reports of the case suggested the alleged abuse was part of a satanic ritual, but after an RCMP task force took over the investigation, it concluded the original investigation was motivated by "emotional hysteria."

In 1994, Popowich sued the prosecutors, the government, and the Martensville and Saskatoon police commissions for malicious prosecution, violation of his charter rights, conspiracy and negligence.

During most of the 1990s, the Crown tried to have his case dismissed, arguing Popowich should be dealt with by the Workers Compensation Board.

That application was dismissed, as were other applications to stop the case from going to trial.

The Popowich case follows by just a day developments in two other improper prosecution or conviction cases.

And Axworthy said there are other cases pending arising from the Martensville trails.