More Charges for Jailed Priest

Catholic News [Australia]
July 5, 2005

Ballarat police in Victoria have charged former Wimmera priest Gerald Ridsdale with a further 63 charges of sexual abuse.

The Wimmera Mail-Time reports that Gerald Francis Ridsdale, 71, is serving 18 years´ jail for 46 sex offences against 21 children aged between nine and 15 and is due for parole in October 2009.

A mention hearing for the new charges will be on July 27 in Ballarat.

Ballarat Criminal Investigation Unit detective Kevin Carson said the charges related to alleged incidents that occurred in the 1970s and 1980s and involved nine victims.

Det Carson said the victims came from a range of different areas where Ridsdale was located.

Ridsdale worked as a Catholic priest at Edenhope between 1976 and 1979 and in Horsham between 1982 and 1986.

In November 1993 Ridsdale was expelled from the priesthood and in 1994, after pleading guilty to 46 charges of sexual abuse, was sentenced to 18 years´ jail with a minimum of 15 years.

The Mail-Times reported a meeting between the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions Paul Coghlan QC and some of Ridsdale´s alleged victims in December last year.

Following the meeting Mr Coghlan decided the new cases against Ridsdale should proceed.

The Office of Public Prosecutions had earlier said prosecuting Ridsdale might not lead to substantial increases in his sentence.

Victims support group Broken Rites has continually encouraged victims to come forward and report abuse to police.


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