updated 5/18/2006 8:56:49 AM ET 2006-05-18T12:56:49

A Roman Catholic deacon on Maui pleaded guilty to more than 60 counts of sexually abusing a boy during a three-year period.

James "Ron" Gonsalves, 69, of Wailuku, could receive one year in jail, three years of home confinement and 20 years probation under a plea agreement with prosecutors.

When Circuit Judge Shackley Raffetto asked the deacon why he was pleading guilty, Gonsalves replied, "Because it's true."

Gonsalves pleaded guilty Wednesday to 30 counts of first-degree sexual assault, two counts of attempted first-degree sexual assault and 30 counts of third-degree sexual assault.

Gonsalves had been placed on leave about a month before he was arrested and charged last July. He was ordained a deacon, the lowest of the ordained ministry, in 1987, and was assigned to oversee St. Ann parish in Waihee in 1999.

The sexual abuse began in June 2002, when the boy was 12, and continued until last June, Lt. Glenn Cuomo of the Criminal Investigation Division said. The sexual assaults occurred at the church and at Gonsalves' home, he said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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