Father David Taylor assaulted the boys while he was based in Seaham
A Catholic priest has admitted sexually assaulting three young boys in County Durham during the 1980s.
Father David Taylor, 59, of Bedlington, Northumberland, pleaded guilty to five counts of indecent assault at a Durham Crown Court hearing on Thursday.
He committed the offences as the youth co-ordinator for Hexham and Newcastle Diocese between 1982 and 1986.
He was released on bail until his sentencing hearing on May 4 and has been warned he may face a jail term.
Father Taylor was suspended from his post at St Peter's Church in Low Fell in Gateshead, in February last year, following the allegations involving the boys, who were all aged under 16.
A spokesman for Hexham and Newcastle Diocese said: "The victims approached the diocese and told us what had happened to them.
"We immediately passed this details on to the police and Father Taylor was arrested three months later following an investigation."
Some of the offences were committed when he visited the Holy Island retreat in Northumberland.
Father Dennis Tindall, child protection co-ordinator for Hexham Newcastle Diocese, said: "The highest standards are required and expected of those working with young people in the church. No exceptions can be made to this.
"It is tragic therefore when a position of great trust leads to behaviour which harms vulnerable individuals.
"This is never acceptable and we cooperate fully with the statutory authorities throughout.
"The emotional and other consequences of the harm done by a priest who has also accomplished so much that is good, calls for great care and support in our community and beyond."
Father Taylor was ordained as a priest in 1977 and he committed the offences while he was based at St Mary's Church in Seaham.