Paedophile Offender: Gerald Ridsdale

gerald ridsdale and george pell

Gerald Ridsdale is Australia’s most prolific paedophile priest. The Catholic Church enabled his offending by moving him between parishes for over three decades to cover up complaints about the sexual crimes he was committing against children.

The Catholic Church knew about Ridsdale’s offending as early as the late 1950s when he was still undergoing training. Despite this, he was ordained as a priest in 1961, after which the Church immediately received (and ignored) a further complaint. From this time on, the Church continued to ignore numerous complaints about Ridsdale, choosing to shuffle him from parish to parish every time his offending came to light.

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In addition to being transferred between parishes across country Victoria, Ridsdale was also sent to work for the Catholic Church in Melbourne, Sydney and the United States, where he accumulated further victims. He was also appointed as a ‘relieving priest’ in numerous locations whenever the Church needed to quickly remove him from a posting.

Ridsdale was finally brought to justice in 1993 when he pled guilty to child sex offences against nine boys. He has since been convicted on a further seven occasions for the sexual abuse of more than 70 Victorian children. The offences run into the hundreds.

He presently remains behind bars and is facing 62 new criminal charges as of April 2024.

If you suffered abuse in a church, school or children’s home, we want to hear from you. We will fight for you. Click here to share your story, or call us on (02) 4907 4200.

Feature Image: Sydney Morning Herald

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