Phil Jacobs was arrested in on sex assault charges in August 2010 after arriving at Victoria airport. (theinquiry.ca)

A Roman Catholic priest has admitted to sexually abusing teenage boys in the U.S., but denies he did the same thing in Canada.

Father Phil Jacobs testified in his own defence Monday at his trial on charges of sexually assaulting three teen boys in Victoria during the late 1990s.

Jacobs told the court about being bullied into masturbating by fellow students in high school and of having ungratifying masturbation encounters with two fellow students when he was a young man while studying to become a priest. 

He's admitted to trying to teach two teenage boys how to masturbate when he was a priest in Ohio during the early 1990s. He said he felt he could teach them how they should masturbate and avoid the humiliation he had suffered as a teen.

After one of those boys complained, the Diocese of Columbus sent Jacobs for treatment.

Jacobs said the therapy taught him empathy for his victims and that there were ways to control his compulsion.

Jacobs testified he did not sexually assault or sexually touch any of the three men who have testified at this trial.

The men were altar boys at St. Joseph the Worker parish in Victoria during the late 1990s, and their stories are similar to the allegations in Ohio.

The U.S.-born Jacobs, 60, was arrested in August 2010 while re-entering the country at Victoria airport.

The trial continues in Victoria Tuesday.

With files from the CBC's Lisa Cordasco