As Cardinal George Pell ascended the senior ranks of the Catholic Church, his dark history of sexually molesting young boys remained a secret.
In the priest's sacristy of Melbourne's imposing St Patrick's Cathedral in 1996, the-then newly-installed as Archbishop of Melbourne sexually molested a 13-year-old choirboy.
After exposing himself while dressed in his ornate ceremonial robes, and fresh from presiding over Sunday solemn mass, Pell then raped and abused the boy's 13-year-old friend.
Pell has always strongly denied the allegations. When interviewed by Victoria Police detectives in Rome three years ago he described them as a "product of fantasy" and "absolute rubbish".
But after a month-long trial and three days of deliberations, a Melbourne jury unanimously convicted Pell in December.
The verdict was suppressed until February for legal reasons.
Physically ailing, the cardinal had been free on bail.
But by the end of February the man who rose to become Australia's highest-ranked Catholic, the Vatican's No.3 man and a trusted advisor to the Pope, was taken into custody.
Pell is the world's most senior Catholic to be charged with or found guilty of child sex offences, and in March he was sentenced to up to six years in prison.
County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd ordered he serve at least three years and eight months before he's eligible for parole.
Even before he was sentenced, Pell had lodged an appeal against a single conviction for sexually penetrating a child and four of committing indecent acts with children.
He stood down from his position as Vatican treasurer to fight the charges and his membership of the Group of Nine Cardinals was suspended by Pope Francis in December.
Only one of Pell's victims gave evidence at the trial.
The other died of a heroin overdose in 2014 having never admitted the abuse he suffered, not even to his parents.
But his absence didn't matter to the jury, who believed the prosecution's case and his friend's evidence that the abuse was not a "far-fetched fantasy", as Pell's legal team claimed.
Jurors accepted the memories of the surviving choirboy, now in his 30s, of the awful minutes that followed that mass a week or two before Christmas.
The boys, both on scholarships to the prestigious St Kevin's College, had been "caught" by Pell swigging sacramental wine in the priest's sacristy after sneaking away from the post-mass procession.
Pell planted himself in the doorway and scolded them. He then undid his pants and pulled his penis from under his ceremonial robes.
The court was closed for the survivor's evidence of the events that followed - his recollection of standing frozen, watching his friend "squirm" as his head was pulled toward Pell's genitals.
"Then he turned to me," he said, in evidence later cited by Senior Crown Prosecutor Mark Gibson SC.
The survivor recalled Pell orally raping him and demanding he remove his pants, which he did.
Pell fondled the boy's genitals while masturbating himself. The teen put his pants back on and together the boys rejoined their choir.
Afraid of jeopardising his schooling and not understanding what had happened or "if it was normal", the survivor didn't say a word for years.
Not even when, a month or so later, Pell shoved him against a wall in a cathedral corridor and fondled his genitals, the court heard.
"It's something I've carried for the whole of my life ... it took courage much later in life for me to even think about coming forward," the victim told the jury.
Pell's high-profile barrister Robert Richter QC had told the jury Pell had returned voluntarily from Rome - where he had diplomatic immunity - to clear his name.
He made the same point months earlier in a first trial that ended with jurors discharged, some sobbing, after being unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
In a move rarely - if ever - seen in a Victorian court, Mr Richter used a slideshow to lay out the defence case in his closing remarks.
It relied largely on the claim that 10 "independently impossible" events would have to have occurred in the same 10-minute window for the abuse to have occurred unseen.
He had wanted to use a graphic - compared by prosecutors to the Pacman game - to demonstrate his point but permission was denied.
Instead, he relied on dot points and bold quotes.
"Only a madman would attempt to rape boys in the priest's sacristy immediately after Sunday solemn mass," he declared, with the words projected in big, bold letters on a screen behind him.
Pell's appeal barrister Bret Walker SC claimed evidence from the prosecution's own witnesses at trial revealed it was "impossible" for the offending to have occurred as the surviving boy recalled it.
Victoria's Court of Appeal took 11 weeks to reach a decision on Pell's case before announcing a 2-1 decision on Wednesday to dismiss his bid to overturn all five convictions.
Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and President Chris Maxwell said the surviving boy was "a very compelling witness, clearly not a liar" and it was open for the jury to be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Pell was guilty.
But in a dissenting judgment, Justice Mark Weinberg expressed the view Pell should be acquitted.
He found the complainant embellished aspects of his evidence and that his account of the second incident was implausible and unconvincing.
"There is, to my mind, a significant possibility that (Pell) may not have committed these offences," he wrote.
All three judges agreed in rejecting two other grounds of appeal.
Mr Walker had argued Judge Kidd was wrong to deny Mr Richter the use of the video, and that a mistake was made in not having Pell officially plead not guilty in person before the pool of possible jurors.
Pell now has the option to seek special leave to appeal his case to the High Court, but first, his legal team will have to closely examine the 325-page appeal judgment to see if they have grounds.
And now the Catholic Church, tainted by a child sexual abuse scandal in archdiocese worldwide, must deal with the repercussions at the highest levels of the Holy See.
Australian Associated Press