Fury at Pedophile's Sentence

By Shelley Hodgson
Herald Sun
August 11, 2006,21985,20090899-661,00.html

Pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale could spend as little as four extra years behind bars on fresh child sex abuse charges.

Ridsdale, who was due for release in 2009, was today handed a new jail term of 13 years with a minimum of seven years in the County Court in Ballarat.

However the sentence now means the earliest he will be eligible for parole is August 2013.

Effective from today, the sentence relates to 24 counts of indecent assault, seven counts of gross indecency and four counts of buggery committed between 1970 and 1987 while Ridsdale was a priest in western Victoria.

Victims were outraged at what they said was a lenient sentence.

"What Ridsdale did to me and what he did to many other children is a crime worse than murder," a man, 34, who was just six when Ridsdale first sexually abused him, said outside the court.

Another victim yelled at Ridsdale, 72, while he stood in the dock: "You could have said sorry you bastard!"

Judge Bill White hit out at the Catholic Church in today's sentence.

"The Catholic Church cannot escape criticism in my view of it's lack of action on complaints being made as to your conduct, the constant moving of you from parish to parish, providing more opportunities for your predatory conduct, and it's failure to show adequate compassion for a number of your victims," Judge White said.


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