He’s the most prolific paedophile priest in Australia.
He physically and sexually abused his victims, causing long-term mental and physical issues.
One victim attempted suicide while in his care at the Nazareth House Girl’s Home.
Many victims now suffer from ongoing mental illnesses and substance abuse as a result of Ridsdale’s horrific abuse.
Ridsdale was ordained as a priest in 1961 in Victoria, before moving to a parish in Ballarat in the 1960’s. It was here that a large portion of the abuses occurred.
His superiors were aware children were being abused by Ridsdale, but somehow still allowed him to work as a priest. Unbelievably, this criminal behaviour was overlooked and Ridsdale was simply shopped from parish to parish.
Ridsdale once fled a parish overnight, after a victim reported his offences to the police. His continued actions meant he was sent interstate and later to the USA, to escape investigators.
Victims from these jurisdictions have never seen justice for the abuse Ridsdale inflicted.
This serial abuser was finally charged with child sex offences in 1993. As more victims have spoken out against him, the charges continued to multiply – he has faced over 100 charged of sexual abuse against children, spanning a period of more than 30 years.
In 1993 he was charged with 30 incidents of indecent assault.
In 1994 he was charged with the indecent assault of 21 victims – and an additional five incidents of buggery, and the attempted buggery of another victim.
In 2006 Ridsdale was charged with another 35 incidents (the youngest victim was only six at the time of the assault) – four incidents of buggery, 24 incidents of indecent assault and seven incidents of gross indecency.
In 2014 he faced a further 30 charges against 14 victims. The final figures are staggering. This man’s employers knew of his sexual abuse. Instead of reporting Ridsdale to the authorities, the Church helped him to move and attack more defenceless children.
He pleaded guilty in 2017 to 20 historical abuse charges. This included 14 counts of indecent assault, two counts of buggery, two counts of rape, one count of attempted rape and one count of taking part in an act of sexual penetration of a child.
The website, Broken Rites discusses Ridsdale’s many offences at length – including one instance where he forced himself on an eleven-year-old victim who was staying at his presbytery for the weekend with his two brothers.
This man is nothing short of a monster.
He will be sentenced later in 2017 for the additional charges laid in April 2017.
May 2020 update:
Ridsdale, due to turn 86 next week, was 25 years into a 33-year sentence and was eligible for parole in April 2022. As a result of the latest charges, he was handed an additional 10 years. He will die in prison.
Get the justice you deserve with Kelso Lawyers. We want to hear your story. Call (02) 4907 4200 or complete the online form before you accept payment from the National Redress Scheme.
Image Source: ABC