A former Catholic priest accused of molesting a young girl admitted to diocese officials that he had touched her bottom, a court has been told.
But Father Edward Evans, 85, told them it was not sexual and he did not know it was a crime.
Father Evans allegedly told the officials he knew it had been wrong but thought, after 20 years, all had been forgiven and forgotten.
Evans has pleaded not guilty in the ACT Supreme Court to allegations that he abused the girl at his home on five occasions and at Cooleman Court on another occasion in the 1990s.
It is also alleged he grabbed her breast while they sat alone in a car outside Cooleman Court, before pulling her on top of him into a straddling position.
At the time, the girl was aged between 10 and 13, and Father Evans was in his 60s.
The court was told that the girl and her family were close to Father Evans, who they referred to as "Father Eddie", and would invite him for dinner.
The family would sometimes attend German-language church in Braddon.
It was at morning teas after these services that most of the alleged acts took place.
The trial, which entered its fourth day on Monday, heard from Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn administrator Monsignor John Woods, who told the court he had limited contact with Father Evans after the allegations were made, but did withdraw the accused's rights to minister as a priest.
Archdiocese professional standards officer Matthew Casey, who liaised with police during the investigation, said church officials did not speak to Evans until after he had been interviewed by police officers.
Mr Casey said he visited Fathers Evans with a church lawyer to check on his welfare and inform him that his priestly rights had been withdrawn.
He said Father Evans told them he had been surprised by the allegations after so many years when he thought all had been forgiven and forgotten.
Mr Casey told the court the priest said he felt guilt for things that had happened in his house that he knew had been wrong, but he did not know were a crime.
Mr Casey, who took notes of the conversation which were tendered in evidence, said Father Evans asked what the alleged victim wanted and admitted he touched her bottom.
But he appeared to deny penetrating her with his finger, Mr Casey said.
Father Evans also allegedly told them that it had not been sexual, and that the girl had chased him.
The trial before Justice Richard Refshauge continues on Tuesday.