A former priest has been sentenced to 13 years' jail for the sexual abuse of eight boys at a Catholic college in Melbourne.

David Rapson, 60, will serve at least ten years in jail after being convicted of nine counts of indecent assault and five counts of rape dating back to the 1970s.

Victorian County Court Judge Liz Gaynor described Rapson as a callous predator whose offending was brazen, manipulative and heartless.

The court heard Rapson would ply students with whisky and cigarettes, entice them with computer games and drug them with lemonade and Milo before he abused them.

Judge Gaynor said Rapson's abuse was "utterly cruel, sadistic and violent" and was committed against powerless boys whose parents had unwittingly placed them in his care.

One of his victims was just 12 when he was repeatedly raped at the college.

At one point he ran away in fear, running through fields and swimming across a river before hiding at a neighbouring property.

When he was found, the college did not notify his parents and insisted on using the school's doctor to treat his injuries.

Judge Gaynor said Rapson was a young gay man assigned to a college that was known to harbour priests and brothers who sexually abused students.

She said he became an enthusiastic member of a group of sexually deviant priests at the school.

"Many of them (the victims) kept secret your sexual offending for decade. As so many of them said, who could they tell? You were a priest. You were a teacher," she said.

Rapson has a history of sexually abusing boys at the school.

In 1992, he was jailed after pleading guilty to abusing a 15-year-old boy in 1987.

In 1993, he was dealt with for other assaults at the college.

He was defrocked in 2004, 12 years after he was jailed as a convicted child molester.

The court heard Rapson was physically abused by his drunk and violent stepfather and was once tied to a clothesline to stop his repeated attempts to run away from home.

The court heard Rapson was also abused by two men as a child.

Rapson will be 70-years-old before he is eligible for parole.

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