NOTORIOUS Hunter paedophile priest John Denham has pleaded guilty to multiple child sex offences, a year after the suicide of one of his victims led to the federal royal commission into child sexual abuse.
Denham, 70, pleaded guilty to crimes against 18 boys in the 1970s, only three years after pleading guilty to similar crimes against 39 victims in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
During a short hearing in the Sydney Downing Centre Denham repeated the word ‘guilty’ 25 times to charges including buggery, forced oral sex and indecent assault involving boys aged 11, 12 and 13.
The majority of the offences occurred at St Pius X College, Adamstown.
In agreed facts Denham admitted telling boys ‘‘this is our little secret. Don’t bother telling anyone because no one will believe you.’’
After the hearing a victim said: ‘‘That was what he always drummed into me - that I wouldn’t be believed. Now everyone knows. It happened.’’
The victim said he thought every day about John Pirona, another victim of Denham,whose suicide in July last year was the catalyst for the Newcastle Herald’s successful Shine The Light campaign for a royal commission.
Asked to comment about the Catholic Church’s knowledge of Denham’s offending, he said: ‘‘I’ve got nothing to say about them.’’
The Maitland-Newcastle diocese priest was defrocked by the Catholic Church in 2011.