Vatican Cardinal George Pell on Thursday told an Australian royal commission investigating child sexual abuse by church clergymen that he failed to act when a student mentioned to him that a priest had been "misbehaving with boys."
"I didn't do anything about it," Pell said, adding that he later asked the school chaplain about it.
"With the experience of 40 years later, certainly I would agree that I should have done more," Pell added.
Pell spoke to the commission via video link from Rome for more than 20 hours over four days, explaining what he knew about paedophile activities by priests when he was a bishop in Ballarat and later archbishop in Melbourne in the 1970s and 1980s.
Pell, 74, also said it was a "disastrous coincidence" that there were multiple paedophile priests in the Ballarat area in 1970s.
Meanwhile, sex abuse victims who attended Pell's testimony in person in Rome said they believed he was not being truthful.
"The Ballarat survivors came to Rome to hear truth and honesty from George. We feel we have been deceived and lied to," victim Philip Nagle told reporters.
"We feel George has not been honest or truthful. George will have to live with this chosen course."
"We've watched the evidence that's been presented. There's a pattern right across the board that denial is always around," said Peter Blenkiron, another victim.
Pell, after the testimony, told reporters he hoped his appearance "contributed a bit to healing, improving the situation."
"It's been a hard slog, at least for me. I am a bit tired. But the royal commission process is designed to try to make the situation better for the future for the survivors and to prevent the repetition of all this suffering in the future," he said.
Pell, the pope's troubleshooter for financial matters, also said he will meet with some of the victims on Friday.