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'It's a miracle': Abuse survivors, supporters react to Pell verdict

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    Agence France-Presse

Melbourne, Australia   /   Tue, February 26, 2019   /   01:30 pm
 'It's a miracle': Abuse survivors, supporters react to Pell verdict Cardinal George Pell (C) leaves the County Court of Victoria court after prosecutors decided not to proceed with a second trial on alleged historical child sexual offences in Melbourne on February 26, 2019. Australian Cardinal George Pell, who helped elect popes and ran the Vatican's finances, has been found guilty of sexually assaulting two choirboys, becoming the most senior Catholic cleric ever convicted of child sex crimes. (AFP/Con Chronis)

Cardinal George Pell has become the highest-ranking Vatican official ever to be found guilty of child sex crimes, after a unanimous decision by an Australian jury.

Here are some of the early reactions to the verdict:

Pell victim

"Like many survivors I have experienced shame, loneliness, depression and struggle. Like many survivors it has taken me years to understand the impact upon my life. At some point we realise that we trusted someone we should have feared and we fear those genuine relationships that we should trust."

-- Former choirboy who Pell was found to have assaulted, and who has not been identified

Pell's lawyer

"Cardinal George Pell has always maintained his innocence and continues to do so. An appeal has been lodged against his conviction and he will await the outcome of the appeal process. Although originally the Cardinal faced allegations from a number of complainants, all charges except for those the subject of the appeal have now been either withdrawn, discharged or discontinued."

-- Pell's lawyer Paul Galbally

The Catholic Church

"The news of Cardinal George Pell's conviction on historical child sexual abuse charges has shocked many across Australia and around the world, including the Catholic Bishops of Australia. The Bishops agree that everyone should be equal under the law, and we respect the Australian legal system."

-- Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge on behalf of national body the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Abuse survivors and advocates

"It is a miracle. It is unbelievable. The Catholics throw unlimited money at this. I'm a Catholic. I'm ashamed to be a Catholic... We have got wonderful justice in getting that lunatic, that freak, that monster -- he is a paedophile."

-- Michael, child sex abuse victim and advocate, outside the County Court of Victoria in Melbourne

"I have such mixed feelings. I feel emotional, I'm thinking about my dead brother who never got justice... I'm thinking about all those people who never got justice. And then on the other side I feel ecstatic that Mr Pell has been found guilty... And there's a message for the Pope there, you're never too old to be arrested for raping children no matter what country it's in."

-- Leonie Sheedy, Care Leavers Australasia Network, outside the court

Pell supporter

"I think the public mind has been so contaminated by the misdeeds of the Catholic Church and by the complaints, which people have raised, which have not been dealt with, that they said well he must have been guilty."

-- Peter Westmore, Pell's friend of two decades and who attended the trial, outside the court