ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- The Mount Cashel civil trial heard Monday that three boys separately told the same priest in confession they were being abused by Christian Brothers.

The boys lived in the orphanage in St. John's, N.L., in the 1950s and can't be named as part of a publication ban.

Their agreed statements of facts were entered as part of a lawsuit arguing the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corp. of St. John's should compensate former residents for alleged abuse dating back to the 1940s.

Lawyer Geoff Budden represents about 60 clients and says the archdiocese knew or ought to have known about sexual and physical abuse but didn't stop it.

The Archdiocese of St. John's says it was never responsible for the operations of the orphanage or school.

About 20 more men represented by other law firms could be affected by a decision expected later this year or early next year.