Peter Lewis Comensoli had kept his hideous secret for more than 50 years.
On Tuesday, it finally came out.
The former Catholic priest got to his feet in Wollongong District Court and, in a loud, clear voice that belied his frail body, admitted molesting three teenage boys in the 1960s.
His victims, each of them practising Catholics, had looked to Comensoli for spiritual and personal guidance, only for their faith in him to be exploited in the worst possible way.
He molested one boy, aged just 11, while visiting the child’s family at their Ingleburn home sometime between 1966 and 1968.
The boy, now a man approaching 60, recalled Comensoli squeezing his genitals while they were playing a wrestling game together.
He reported the abuse to the Catholic Church in 1999, however the information was not passed on to police until January 2014.
Meantime, another of Comensoli’s victims had also come forward to report his own molestation at the hands of the disgraced priest when he was working in the Shellharbour parish around the same time period.
The man claimed he became close to Comensoli through the priest's role as the leader of a children’s fellowship group at the church, leading Comensoli to grope him while the pair was alone in his private chambers.
The victim disclosed the incident to a psychologist in 2012, who urged him to go to police.
Comensoli’s third victim, a 14-year-old, was assaulted in similar fashion.
Police charged Comensoli in late 2014. He was living in Victoria at the time and had not worked as a priest since he was convicted of separate child sex offences, also stemming from his time in the church.
In court on Tuesday, Judge Brian Knox agreed to adjourn the case for six weeks to allow Comensoli’s lawyer, Greg Walsh, to obtain sentencing reports.
The matter will return to court in August.