Vic priest leaves behind 'human wreckage'

(File: AAP)

Victims of a pedophile priest have walked from a Victorian court as he stood to read an apology to them.

The "human wreckage" left behind by a pedophile priest took little comfort in his apology.

As Frank Gerard Klep stood to face the men he abused as schoolboys more than 30 years ago, several could not stomach his pre-prepared confession.

They walked out of the Victorian courtroom, exercising a power they never had when Klep was their principal and teacher.

"I abused your trust and betrayed you in the most appalling circumstances, for that I am truly sorry," Klep said.

"Everything you have tried to achieve in life has been poisoned by my actions.

"I know no matter what I say it won't take away the hurt and pain you have suffered."

Defence barrister Julie Sutherland said the apology was evidence of Klep's true remorse.

Klep had completed a sex offenders course during his last stint in jail for abusing schoolboys, and his family and friends would help his rehabilitation.

Judge Frank Gucciardo said that highlighted the paradox of sex cases.

"The human wreckage he leaves behind him gets to file out of court," he said.

"Where's their rehabilitation program?"

Klep, 70, sexually abused 15 schoolboys at Salesian College Rupertswood from 1973 to 1984.

Several of those victims told the Victorian County Court on Thursday of the depression, substance abuse and failed relationships they have experienced in the years since Klep's crimes.

"Frank Klep, you left a lasting impression on me that will never be erased," one victim said.

"I'm often ashamed of myself. How did I let this happen to me?"

One man spoke of the shame and helplessness he felt when Klep attended his grandmother's funeral after assaulting him.

"I can never forgive you for having the gall to turn up and participate in the funeral," he said.

"I can still see you standing there."

Another victim told the court he abused alcohol as a coping mechanism for the trauma.

"When I had dark days I would drink myself into unconsciousness," he said.

He recalled waking in cold sweats after dreaming he was back at the Sunbury school.

Klep preyed on many of the boys as they lay ill in the school's sick bay, which he operated.

Several of the boys awoke during the night to find Klep had removed their pants and was fondling their genitals.

One boy was pinned to his bed and raped.

Another boy was sexually abused by Klep when he used a pay phone outside his office to call home.

Klep pleaded guilty to 12 counts of indecent assault, buggery, attempted buggery and rape.

It is the third time he has either pleaded guilty to or been convicted of indecently assaulting schoolboys.

He was convicted of child sex crimes in 1994 and placed on an intensive corrections order.

In 2005, he was given a five-year-and-10-month prison sentence for similar offences.

Ms Sutherland said Klep had legitimate insight and remorse into what she said were stale and antique offences.

But the continuing trauma was clear to the judge.

"There's nothing stale or antique about the hurt echoing in the court this morning," Judge Gucciardo said.

Klep's bail was revoked and he was taken into custody with his pre-sentence hearing to continue on Tuesday.

Source: AAP