Paedophile priest Ridsdale 'likely to die in jail'

Paedophile priest Ridsdale 'likely to die in jail'

SBS World News Radio: Australia's most notorious paedophile priest has been handed another 11 years' jail for sexually abusing 12 children across three decades.

Gerald Francis Ridsdale 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 has now considered another 23 charges he pleaded guilty to last month.

They included rape and buggery of 11 boys and a girl between 1962 and 1988 in Ballarat, Mildura and Horsham among others.

The court heard one of the victims was taken to Ridsdale numerous times by their father and had been sexually assaulted on the altar of a Ballarat church.

Judge Lawson's judgement says:

"Your actions were violent and abusive. You abused your position of power and trust over each of your complainants. You knew at all times what you were doing was wrong. You knew no boundaries, on occasion offending in your church, in the confessional and in various presbyteries."

She then sentenced him to 11 years' jail, but after incorporating time he's currently serving he could be out on parole in five.

Stephen Woods, from victim advocacy group Broken Rites, says the sentence doesn't go far enough.

"The authorities should say that he should be behind bars for the term of his natural life, because that's the sentence we victims have. We have the pain of the assaults on our bodies for the rest of our lives."

The earliest the now-frail 83 year-old Ridsdale can be released is April 2022.

None of the victims who attended the hearing wanted to be recorded.

One told SBS while he was in shock following the sentence, he 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 says he's pleased authorities are acting on many serious accusations of abuse.

But he believes a lot of Ridsdale's victims will always feel dissatisfied.

"It seems valid that people are asking for a longer sentence. You always want more, you always want revenge because there's a lot of anger that this person has put into our lives. 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.