Yeah I would agree with LL, and he did admit attraction to the girls. Forgive me, but I have a hard time understanding that attraction. I accept logically and cognitively it exists in some people (men and women) but I cannot conceive thinking that way. When my daughter was 9, at no point did I ever look or think of her that way. Just typing it makes me queasy.
I once went to a seminar where the speaker put it this way: Imagine hitting your child. She very quickly and adamantly said she was not advocating or encouraging physical violence in any way, but she said "Anyone who's had children will (sooner or later) became angry enough at some little thing the child does that they can imagine striking out. The vast majority of parents do not thankfully, but still it is possible for you to conceive of it. It is possible just to think it."
Then she said, "Now imagine looking at that same child and finding them sexually attractive. Now then, look at the tremendous gulf in behaviors." She went on to espouse her opinion that pedophilia is a form of insanity, that someone who can find a child sexually attractive is so far out of the norm, there is no reasoning with them, only containment and isolation would solve the problem.
It is very unusual for someone to actually admit to their pedophilia desires (my father never did).
I will also say that denial is sometimes useful in that it helps us survive through a traumatic or overwhelming experience. But it's like a narcotic, used too much or too often and it becomes addicting and we can no longer see what needs to be seen. I would suspect that your ex-husband displayed other tendencies or characteristics of pedophilia. But then 30 years ago, I doubt anyone would have recognized it for what it really was, unless one of the girls came forward.
I hope he's been put away, as pedophiles have very little impulse control and the vast majority see nothing wrong in raping a child.