A former Roman Catholic priest with a "dreadful weakness" for young boys moved from parish to parish sexually abusing children over the course of 24 years, a court has heard.
James Robinson, 73, is alleged to have committed a string of offences against six boys aged under 16 between 1959 and 1983 at a number of churches in the West Midlands.
He faces 22 charges, including five counts of buggery, two of attempted buggery, 12 counts of indecent assault and three counts of indecency with a child.
The former clergyman, whose full name is Richard John James Robinson but was known to parishioners as "Father Jim", worked in churches in Staffordshire, Birmingham and Coventry until the mid-1980s, when he moved to California.
He trained at Oscott College, Sutton Coldfield, and went on to become parish priest at St Elizabeth’s in Foleshill, Coventry, and Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Cradley Heath.
He was extradited from the US in August last year.
At Birmingham Crown Court, prosecutor John Attwood said: "The defendant, Mr Robinson, was sexually attracted to young boys and he used the trust and respect that came with his position within the church to prey in a predatory manner on vulnerable children for his own sexual gratification."
He told a jury of five men and seven women: "For many years Robinson was in the habit of sexually corrupting and assaulting young boys when the opportunity arose.
"His abuse remained a secret for many years as he moved from one church to another."
The prosecutor said Robinson used his position as a priest to gain "unfettered and unlimited" access to the young boys who "caught his eye", giving them gifts and taking them on trips in his sports car.
He said Robinson had "a dreadful weakness" for young boys but told jurors his behaviour did not appear suspicious to his victims' families because "it was a different world back then".
The court heard that Robinson took the boys to football matches and rock concerts, and some of them stayed overnight at the house he shared with his mother.
Mr Attwood said the priest had "something of a knack for spotting the quiet child of the family", adding: "Although he moved from one boy to another over the years, there are, we suggest, marked similarities in the way he behaved towards the boys and their families.
"There would be presents, there would be visits, there would be trips out in his car."
The prosecutor said the alleged abuse had left some of the men emotionally damaged and needing counselling in their adult lives.
He said the boys did not speak out at the time because they were bewildered, ashamed, and felt they would not be believed.
Mr Attwood said: "Many of the complainants and victims of Father Robinson have spoken of their own sense of guilt and shame of what had taken place between them.
"As one of the complainants explained ... there was no such thing as ChildLine back then."
Robinson, who denies all the charges against him, was remanded in custody.
The case was adjourned to Tuesday.