The mother of a boy abused by a pedophile priest says she called Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson to ask for help but he claimed there was nothing he could do.
The mother, who can't be named for legal reasons, told the Newcastle Local Court on Friday that Wilson, who is accused of concealing sexual abuse, was a family friend when she called him in April 2004.
"We didn't know what to do," the mother said of finding out her son had been abused by the now-dead pedophile priest James Fletcher in the NSW Hunter region.
"We were at a loss."
The mother said after telling Wilson her son had been abused by Fletcher the archbishop claimed there was nothing he could do given he'd moved and was living in Adelaide.
Wilson allegedly told the mother to contact her local bishop.
The mother said Wilson visited the Maitland area a few months later and came to her home.
She said Wilson claimed not to know her son had been abused by Fletcher but she believed he did know.
The mother told the court Wilson had been planning to visit Fletcher, who was staying at his mother's home, the following day at a time when the pedophile priest was facing trial for sexually abusing another young boy.
Fletcher was found guilty in December 2004 of nine counts of child sexual abuse and died in jail of a stroke in January 2006.
The crown case against Wilson is that he covered up the sexual abuse of an altar boy by Fletcher.
The victim, Peter Creigh, has previously told the court he was preyed on by Fletcher in 1971 in the NSW Hunter region when he was a 10-year-old altar boy.
Mr Creigh said he went to see Wilson in a room at the back of the presbytery of a Hunter region Catholic church in early 1976 to tell him about what Fletcher had done to him five years earlier.
He said Wilson promised to tell the parish priest about the abuse claims and have the matter looked into.
After hearing nothing for six months, Mr Creigh went to see Wilson again, who told him he had no further knowledge of the situation and the church was still looking into his abuse claims.
Mr Creigh says Wilson never contacted him again.
Defence barrister Stephen Odgers SC says Wilson doesn't dispute meeting Mr Creigh in 1976 but believed he had a false, reconstructed memory of discussing Fletcher's abuse.
A second former altar boy claims he was about 11 in 1976 when he told Wilson how Fletcher abused him, but the then assistant priest refused to believe him, and ordered him to say 10 Hail Marys as an act of contrition.
Wilson, 67, is the most senior Catholic official in the world to be charged with concealing child sex assault.