Former Priest Pleads Guilty to Child Abuse

ABC [Australia]
August 7, 2006

A former priest from the Wimmera region in western Victoria has pleaded guilty to 35 charges relating to indecent sexual assault against 10 young boys.

Gerald Francis Ridsdale, 72, has appeared in the County Court in Ballarat today on 24 charges of indecent assault, seven charges of gross indecency and four charges of buggery.

The charges relate to Ridsdale's abuse of boys in Baccus Marsh, Ballarat, Warrnambool, Edenhope, Horsham and Mortlake in the 70s and 80s when he was working as a Catholic priest.

In one case he told an 11-year-old boy, who was training as an altar boy, the abuse was acceptable because "he was closest to God" and "knew what to do".

As the case was adjourned for lunch one of Ridsdale's victims turned to face him in the dock, saying, "Look at me, look at me".

The case is continuing.


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