Prosecutors say the abuse took place between September 1972 and July 1983 while Soper was headmaster at St Benedict's School in Ealing.
Soper caned pupils to give himself a thrill at the school, where sexual abuse and violence was allegedly widespread, it is claimed.
Soper, formerly of Peja, Kosovo, denies two counts of buggery, one count of indecency with a child, 10 counts of indecent assault on boys under 16 and six counts of indecent assault on boys under 18.
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One former pupil said he was 'the scariest of the monks there'.'He was a disciplinarian and never smiled,' added the complainant.But seven days before he was due to attend a police station in the UK, he flew to Kosovo, Albania, with 204,000 euros withdrawn from his Vatican bank account, jurors were told.Soper, who was then working as general treasurer of the International Benedictine Confederation, claimed he had been paid to study a mystical strand of Islam in the Balkans, the Old Bailey heard.He claimed his parents, who have since died, didn't tell the police because 'priests were much respected'.Ms Etherton said: 'A priest or a monk is a person to look up to and hold in deep respect, not someone to challenge or confront.'A young boy's word against that of a priest - you may think it's little wonder that most of the complainants at the time said nothing.' One former pupil was paid £135,000 to settle a sex abuse claim against Soper out of court in 2010, while another one was paid £5,900 after launching a civil claim, the Old Bailey was told.Born Andrew Soper, he took on the name Laurence after being ordained in 1970.He flew to the UK to be interviewed by police about the claims in July 2004, June 2009 and September 2010, and was allowed to return to Rome on police bail until 11 March 2011.Former headmaster father David Pearce and former maths teacher John Maestri have previously been prosecuted for child abuse at the school, jurors heard.The court heard that several of the complainants came forward after reading about allegations of sexual abuse at the school on the internet.According to charges, he indecently assaulted one boy on a school cycling holiday and anally raped him twice on other occasions.Soper, who was in charge of discipline at St Benedict's School while he taught there, is also accused of using caning as 'a method to rouse and to gain sexual gratification'.