Just seven weeks ago Pope Benedict XVI apologised for the "evil" of clergy sex abuse in Australia during his World Youth Day visit, but the legacy of predatory priests still preys on St Stanislaus' College in Bathurst.
While sex abuse by priests, brothers and teachers at Catholic schools and orphanages has been an issue since the 1980s, the arrest of three Vincentian priests who once taught at the school, coupled with the apparent suicide of a brother and the order's $40,000 payment to a former student - while permitting the priest he accused to continue contact with children - has irrevocably stained St Stanislaus.
"John", the 51-year-old local who received the payment after he accused Father Guy Hartcher of interfering with him when he was 14, told the Herald he now realised the school was a kind of "pedophile paradise".
He recalled priests "grooming" pupils with pornographic magazines, students hiding from staff members when they came "hunting" for first and second formers, and a teacher he knew by the nickname of "Toad" who was notorious for grabbing pupils by their privates if they answered questions incorrectly in class.
"We were all just kids at Stannies, a real smorgasbord," "John" said.
The allegations made against priests charged within the past 12 days concern events at the school in the 1970s and 1980s.
Nobody remains on the Bathurst campus from those times, but the looks on the faces of the principal, John Edwards, and his staff show the strain of having to face up to the alleged misdeeds of men from another age.
Mr Edwards became aware about five years ago when claims about a former priest at the school were made on an internet site.
He referred the matter to authorities and Chifley Local Area Command established Strike Force Heador to look into the allegations. The investigation was widened and renamed Task Force Belle after police were tipped off about other abuse; a former teacher at All Saints College in Bathurst was also arrested in Queensland on Wednesday.
"As you can imagine, these are very difficult times for the school," Mr Edwards said. "We are attempting to remain open and co-operative. I do not wish to sound pious, but the best thing we can do is to strive to be honest and good. That is what I have told the school community and that is what we will endeavour to do."
The Vincentians remained silent as the latest sex scandal descended on yet another Australian Catholic institution; Mr Edwards was left to fend off the media that pulled into town in the wake of the first court case that saw a former school captain and later school chaplain, Brian Spillane, charged with 93 offences.
Police are continuing to execute search warrants and interview people.
The compensation lawyers, Brydens, took out a full page advertisement in Thursday's Western Times newspaper trolling for business: "Important notice to the students affected by the events at St Stanislaus school. When things go wrong you need the best people on your side."
Bathurst is a big Catholic town. St Stanislaus is built on one of the hills looking down on the town, and churches and parish primary schools litter the place - testimony to the influx of the Irish Catholic working class who flocked to work in the rail workshops in the 19th century.
St Stanislaus opened in 1867 and the Vincentians took control in 1889. The school also played a pivotal role educating Catholic farm families of western NSW: the roll-call of famous old boys includes the former premier James McGirr; the state Labor MP Tony Kelly; the war cameraman Damien Parer; the television anchor Bill Peach; the jockey Ron Quinton; and the writer John O'Grady (Nino Culotta).
This year 615 boys are enrolled, including 189 boarders. Fees range between $3315 and $4435 a year for years 7 to 12. Boarders pay $12,998.
Mr Edwards said that despite the rural downturn enrolments remained healthy and he was optimistic because of the wide support that had come after the sexual abuse allegations engulfed the school last week.
The three men arrested as a result of police investigation are the former college president, Peter Dwyer, the dormitory supervisor, John Gaven, and Spillane.
In earlier episodes at St Stanislaus, a lay teacher was jailed after being convicted of sexual abuse of a student in 1986; and Brother Murray Wilson died from gas inhalation in 1977 when he was sent to the school following complaints he had interfered with a 13-year-old at a Vincentian school in Bendigo, Victoria.
Father Guy Hartcher faced courts in 1996 and 1997 on allegations by three pupils, but was acquitted at a trial in Sydney while a Bathurst hearing decided there was not enough evidence to commit him to trial.
"John", one of the men who made the complaint against Hartcher, said in addition to the payment from Vincentians, the order was paying for his ongoing medical treatment.