A judge in England has made a personal apology to a victim of a former children's home worker and Catholic priest who sexually abused 12 children dating back to the 1970s, and slipped through the British justice system before admitting his crimes.
Philip Temple, 67, sexually assaulted a number of boys and a girl in his care between 1971 and 1977 when he worked for Lambeth and Wandsworth borough councils.
He then changed career to become a priest in 1988 and served at Christ the King Monastery, Vita Et Pax in Cockfosters, where he abused two children including an altar boy.
Temple was tried in the late 1990s but the jury could not decide on a verdict, sparking a retrial which ended in an acquittal, Woolwich Crown Court heard on Wednesday.
The former priest was described by one of his victims as an "extremely skilled liar and manipulator with sociopathic qualities", and the court heard the effect on his victims' lives had proved "incalculable".
Judge Christopher Hehir told the man, who said he was abused as a teenager when Temple was a priest: "I am sorry justice was not done when you came to court in 1998 and 1999."
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court he took to smoking and drinking heavily, self-harming, became a recluse and rarely ate after the trials, culminating in a suicide attempt.
He said he had seen Temple as a father figure, to the extent that he gave him a Father's Day card one year, and called for the judge to hand down the maximum sentence to the 67-year-old.
He said: "I can only imagine the damage he has caused to other victims. We can never escape what he did and we can never be free of it."
He added: "I believe it (the sentence) should reflect the risk he poses to others. He is an extremely skilled liar and manipulator with sociopathic qualities.
"It has been a heavy burden to bear and I hope when this case concludes I can release myself from it."
The judge said it was clear there were "two missed opportunities" after the court heard that the youngest known victim, who was six or seven when he was abused by Temple while he was employed by Wandsworth Borough Council, started civil proceedings against the council in 1991.
The civil case "appeared to be settled with no payment" and police did not investigate when he reported the matter four years later, prosecutor Jonathan Polnay said.
After being arrested in July last year, Temple pleaded guilty to 20 counts of non-recent sexual assault at Croydon Crown Court on Wednesday April 6, and seven like counts at Woolwich Crown Court on Tuesday.
He also admitted two counts of perjury during the previous trials at the Croydon hearing.
Temple, wearing glasses and a green sweater, spoke to confirm his name and kept his head bowed throughout Wednesday's hearing. He will be sentenced later.