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Ex-priest apologises to his sex victims

AAP logoAAP 15/08/2016 By Margaret Scheikowski

A pedophile priest who "overlooked" one victim when he confessed to sexually abusing dozens of boys should not be sent back to jail, a judge has been told.

Former NSW Hunter region priest Vincent Gerard Ryan, who was released in 2010 after 14 years behind bars, said when he had tried to "wipe the slate clean" he had "no memory" of a case now before the District Court.

The 78-year-old's lawyer, Mark Preece, submitted it would be a "truly crushing and horrible outcome" for the aged and rehabilitated offender to return to jail.

The notorious pedophile has pleaded guilty to attempting homosexual intercourse with a male under 18, indecent assault and gross indecency of an altar boy in the mid-1980s.

The abuse was revealed when that victim faced a sentence hearing for sex offences.

Ryan swore on the Bible on Monday at his own sentence hearing when he apologised to the former altar boy and to all of his many other victims and their families.

After more than five years of sessions with a psychologist, he now realised the harm he had caused and "the gravity of what I have done" something he "didn't get" before.

He had not perceived himself as being in a position of superiority and had always imagined himself "as another child" playing with his victims.

He had no siblings, was a timid child, had no-one to talk to and was "terrified of my shadow my whole life", Ryan said.

But he became aware of the damage he had caused through media reports and other inmates in jail where he had been hated universally.

Saying he was deeply ashamed of his crimes, Ryan added "there is no excuse, there is no-one else to blame".

Sean Hughes, for the crown, quoted parts of the victim's statement including: "I could not say no to someone as important as a priest".

He also felt he couldn't tell anyone as he would not be believed, particularly by his grandfather who believed Ryan "was a very good man".

If acting Judge Norman Delaney decided a term of less than two years was appropriate, Mr Hughes said he would not be in error to suspend it.

Mr Preece described the case as "unusual in the extreme" given that Ryan had sought to wipe his slate clean before serving his jail term.

He will be sentenced on a later date.

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