Priest's plea spares NSW victim's pain

By Andi Yu
An ex-priest's sex offences have cast a shadow over the Maitland-Newcastle diocese, its bishop says.

The guilty plea of a notorious former Catholic priest to sex offences dating back to the 1980s will spare his victim the pain of a trial, a NSW bishop says.

Vincent Gerard Ryan, 78, was arraigned in the Downing Centre District Court on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to attempting homosexual intercourse with a male under 18, indecent assault and gross indecency.

"I am grateful Ryan's victim and others were spared the ordeal of a trial," Maitland-Newcastle diocese Bishop Bill Wright said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Ryan's past crimes continue to throw a dark shadow onto the Diocese's present and I am terribly saddened that there is yet another child whose innocence was robbed by the sins of this man."

Bishop Wright said he would not comment further but would "take counsel as to how the diocese should respond to Ryan's admissions".

The former clergyman has an extensive record of sexually abusing children for which he spent years behind bars in the 1990s and 2000s.

The court heard Ryan will remain on bail until returning to the District Court on August 15 for sentencing.

"This gentleman needs to have this matter resolved instead of it hanging around, over his head," Acting Judge Norman Delaney said.