Category Archives: Christian Brother Robert Best

Victims fear as ex-priest Ridsdale nears parole


Victims fear as ex-priest Ridsdale nears parole

Jared Lynch

May 30, 2013

From the link: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/victims-fear-as-expriest-ridsdale-nears-parole-20130529-2nc5r.html

Gerald Ridsdale in 1993. Photo: Geoff Ampt

Gerald Ridsdale in 1993. Photo: Geoff Ampt

 

Victims of serial child rapist Gerald Ridsdale have been told the former Catholic priest could be freed from prison within a month.

Ridsdale, 79, who abused dozens of children over three decades from the 1960s, was sentenced in 2006 to a maximum of 13 years, a term that would expire in 2019. He was already serving a maximum 18-year term from 1994.

Victims have recently been contacted by the Adult Parole Board and informed that the paedophile could be released as soon as June 29, sparking fears that he is likely to reoffend.

Victims of Ridsdale said he should never be freed. ”The damage to the victims … to the rest of the family circle goes on and on. It never goes away. It is constantly present,” said ”Shirley”, whose sons were abused by him.

”The victims get a life sentence but the perpetrator certainly doesn’t have a life sentence.”

The parole board has encouraged victims to write submissions, which the board will consider next month when it decides whether Ridsdale should be paroled.

He was convicted of molesting 30 children between the early 1960s and 1987. During his initial court appearance, evidence of a Catholic Church cover-up of child abuse emerged.
Cardinal George Pell, who was then auxiliary bishop of Melbourne, accompanied Ridsdale to court – a show of support he attempted to explain to the state parliamentary inquiry into child abuse this week. Ridsdale’s trial revealed the church hierarchy had moved him from parish to parish, where he continued to reoffend, despite complaints having been received.

During his 2006 sentencing hearing in the County Court in Ballarat, Judge Bill White described Ridsdale’s conduct as appalling and said it ”plummets to the depths of evil hypocrisy.

As many as 26 Victorians have committed suicide after being abused by Ridsdale and Christian Brother Robert Best, according to an investigation by Ballarat police Detective Sergeant Kevin Carson.

Shirley, who did not want her real name published, believed Ridsdale would still be a danger to the community if freed.

Stephen Woods, who was abused by Ridsdale and Best, also believed Ridsdale was still a threat.

”The extremeness of their crimes, I think they should never be released because of the risk they present to society,” Mr Woods said.

Corrections Minister Edward O’Donohue said the government had honoured its 2010 election promise to enable the Adult Parole Board to force certain parolees to wear GPS monitoring systems.

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