New Controversies in Sex Abuse Cases
Catholic News [Australia]
August 14, 2006
A former Victorian detective is seeking an apology over a "forced" resignation for his investigations into a pedophile priest while victims of another convicted pedophile Gerald Ridsdale greeted with disbelief his latest sentence of only four more years jail for 35 additional sexual offences.
The ABC reports that a former Mildura senior detective, Denis Ryan, who says he was forced to resign because of investigations into a pedophile priest, is still hoping he will get an apology from the police command.
Mr Ryan was the investigating officer into allegations of sodomy, sexual assault and gross indecency against Msgr John Day in the 1960s and 70s but says he was harassed into resigning by senior police.
"I'm positive of the benefits ... though it was my demise, but what it did do was save many, many young children from being molested further," he said.
Also in Victoria, the Ballarat Courier says that victims of convicted pedophile Gerald Ridsdale were devastated when the former Ballarat priest was sentenced on Friday to four years' extra jail time.
The sentence, the second the former priest has received for child sex crimes, extended his earliest release date to 2013 when Mr Ridsdale will be 79.
One victim, who is now 45 years old, screamed out "Oh Jesus, oh God forbid" as he listened to one of Mr Ridsdale's offences being described for the County Court at Ballarat.
In sentencing, Judge Bill White said Mr Ridsdale's conduct had left a "terrible legacy," giving rise to "disastrous, catastrophic and, at times, tragic results," including suicide attempts, mental breakdowns, and hospitalisation in psychiatric institutions.
Meanwhile, across the Tasman, Stuff.co.nz reports that a Wellington judge has rejected a claim for $550,000 from a woman who sued Catholic nuns at St Joseph's Orphanage Upper Hutt for physical and emotional abuse.
High Court Justice Marion Frater rejected claims that the woman, whose name is suppressed, was sexually abused by a priest. She had also claimed a nun slapped the side of her head so hard that her eardrum burst.
Some discipline and control at the orphanage was "borderline – and certainly unacceptable by today's standards," but at the time it was seen as an excellent standard of care, Justice Frater said.
However, she said she did not believe the woman, 46, a mother of two living in Australia, had deliberately made up allegations about her time in Catholic care in the 1960s and 70s.
"I accept most if not all her allegations have a basis in fact."
Justice Frater had no doubt the woman was sexually abused, but could not be sure of the details.
Former director of Catholic Social Services John Consedine, a counsellor, said last week the stress of being falsely accused had taken its toll on people who had been generous providing homes for young children.
"I think she has had a very unfortunate life and had awful trauma, but what we believe is that it was not our fault and we did not contribute to it."
• Former Detective Seeking Apology over 'Forced' Resignation (ABC News, 11/8/06)
• Perhaps Some Justice Seen in Jail Sentence (The Courier, 13/8/06)
• Orphanage Abuse Claim Rejected (Stuff.co.nz, 12/8/06)
• More Charges for Jailed Priest (CathNews, 8/7/05)
• Prosecutors Block Child Sex Charges against Ex-Priest (CathNews, 17/8/04)
• Pedophile Priest May Face More Charges (CathNews, 14/12/04)
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