Jail Term for Sex Assault Accused Likely to Be Increased

ABC [Australia]
August 8, 2006

The jail term of a former Wimmera Catholic priest in prison for sexually assaulting young boys is likely to be extended.

Gerald Frances Ridsdale, 72, appeared in the County Court in Ballarat yesterday, and pleaded guilty to 35 charges of indecent assault and sexual assault.

The charges are in addition to a raft of similar ones Ridsdale was found guilty of in 1994, when he was jailed for 18 years.

They date back to the 1970s and 80s, when he worked as a priest in much of western Victoria, including Ballarat, Mortlake, Warrnambool, Edenhope and Horsham.

During yesterday's court hearing one of Ridsdale's victims turned to face him in the dock, saying "look at me, look at me".

Ridsdale will be sentenced on the new charges in Ballarat on Friday and the prosecution is seeking a "heavy punishment".


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