Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Ridsdale faces his victims

One of Australia's most notorious paedophiles, Gerald Ridsdale, was unable to control his sexual desires while in the seminary, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse in Ballarat has heard. Ridsdale was read out a long list of his offences over the years, involving many victims. He also told senior counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness SC, he could no longer recall being abused himself as a child, despite making statements to that effect in the 1990s. Ridsdale said statements he made in 1994, about being abused by members of the clergy, including a Christian Brother when he was 11 or 12 years old, would have been correct at the time. He told the commission he felt bound to become a priest because of family expectations, but had problems controlling his sexual urges from the beginning. But said he "didn't confess the sexual offending against children" because he did not want to lose his priesthood.

He was asked if the church should have notified authorities of his own offending over the years. He replied: "What I've done and the damage that I've done ... I'd say, definitely yes". Ridsdale was quizzed at length about whether or not people were warned about his offending tendencies as he was moved from school to school around western Victoria, in the 1960s and 70s. When asked by Ms Furness if anyone was notified at Mildura, when he was relocated there from Ballarat, he answered "I don't know".Ridsdale did say he was warned by clergy in Ballarat before being moved to Mildura, "if this happens again you'll be off to the missions".(NOT off to the police! What were they thinking?)Ridsdale recalled abusing choir boys in Mildura, and later at Swan Hill, when he was again moved on.  "Yes ... there would probably be another couple [of victims] there," he told Ms Furness. Ridsdale also said he had little to do with George (Pell). Today Cardinal Pell offered to appear before the inquiry. Lets hope they take him up on his offer and cross-examine him robustly.

ABC broadcast van outside the courts at Ballarat this afternoon.

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