Former NSW priest John Farrell claimed boys in his old parish of Moree were telling lies and were "out to get him" when he was confronted about child sex abuse allegations, a royal commission has heard.
Senior Catholic Church figure Brian Lucas said Father Farrell was defensive and evasive at a 1992 meeting with senior priests, who'd been tasked with persuading Fr Farrell to leave the church.
"(He made) reference to the boys in Moree that he said were all making up lies and telling lies about him, were out to get him and things like that," Fr Lucas told the child sex abuse royal commission on Tuesday.
A court sketch of John Farrell. Source: 7News
"I was never sure ... whether it was fantasy or truth. He was just very defensive and evasive was my impression of his demeanour."
Farrell, 62, was jailed this year for a minimum 18 years for 62 child sex offences when he was posted at Moree and Tamworth in the 1980s.
At the time of Farrell's sentencing, Judge Peter Zahra said he was concerned complaints made by Farrell's victims went investigation.????
"The offender was thereby protected from the authorities by those within the church who chose to move the offender rather than inform the authorities," Judge Zahra said.
The royal commission is looking into the response of church authorities when allegations against Farrell first surfaced in 1984.
John Farrell. Source: 7News
One former altar boy told how he was repeatedly raped and warned not to tell anyone or he and his family would be killed.
No obligation to protect child parishioners
Just last week a NSW priest admitted he supported Farrell by keeping quiet about sex abuse allegations, conceding he felt no obligation to protect child parishioners.
And yet he uses the title 'Father'.
Armidale priest Bernard Flood worked alongside Farrell at the Moree parish in northern NSW in the early 1980s when a number of complaints about Farrell abusing boys surfaced.
"I didn't think it was appropriate to go repeating the bits and other pieces that I knew," Fr Flood testified at the royal commission.
The commission heard on Tuesday senior priests had two meetings with Fr Farrell to persuade him to apply for laicisation (defrocking).
Fr Farrell had been reluctant to accept a plan to get him out of the church and was concerned about money, as the clergy was his only source of income.
The commission has previously heard Fr Farrell wasn't defrocked until 2005.
The inquiry continues on Wednesday.