Notorious former priest Ridsdale sentenced to 11 more years in prison for child sex abuse


Former Catholic priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale has been sentenced to 11 years' jail for historical sex crimes against another 12 children.

Australia's worst pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale abused his position of trust offending over three decades, says a judge who added another five years to his overall jail term.

The former Catholic priest has been sentenced to 11 years' jail for abusing another dozen children, including a 10-year-old girl sexually assaulted on a church altar.

He has already served 23 years of a 28-year sentence for sexual offences against children in his care across western Victoria.

Victorian County Court Judge Irene Lawson said Ridsdale's appalling pattern of offending was quickly established following his ordination in 1961.

"Each of the complainants were young, vulnerable and were exploited by you for your own sexual gratifications," Judge Lawson said on Thursday.

"Your actions were violent and abusive."

Judge Lawson said Ridsdale abused his position of trust over the victims and the trust of their families.

"You were a revered priest and trusted by devout Catholic families who respected you as God's representative on earth."

Ridsdale has now pleaded guilty in five court cases to abusing 65 children during his three decades as a parish priest in western Victoria, although his true number of victims is believed to be in the hundreds.

Judge Lawson sentenced Ridsdale to 11 years' jail after he pleaded guilty to 23 charges against 12 children committed over the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Advocates expected harsher sentence

Stephen Woods from victim advocacy group Broken Rites said the sentence didn't go far enough.

"The authorities should say that he should be behind bars for the term of his natural life," he said.

"That's the sentence we victims have. We have the pain of the assaults on our bodies for the rest of our lives."

None of the victims who attended the hearing wanted to speak on record.

One told SBS World News he was "in shock" following the sentence, but hoped it would encourage more victims to come forward.

Another said no matter what sentence was handed down, it would've done little to ease his pain.

Stephen Woods said he was pleased to see authorities acting on many serious accusations of abuse, but believed a lot of Ridsdale's victims will always feel dissatisfied.

"It seems valid that people are asking for a longer sentence," he said.

"You always want more, you always want revenge because there's a lot of anger.

"If he goes to jail for the rest of his life, that's where he should stay. He's clearly a danger to society and clearly the bishops weren't capable or willing to control him."

Ridsdale had sat quietly during the hearing, head bowed and hands folded, even when Judge Lawson added that it was "increasingly likely" he would now die in jail.


Source SBS World News, AAP - SBS

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