St Patrick’s College and St Alipius Boys’ School are a black mark on the history of Catholicism. Learn more about the history of abuse at the schools.
Image: Victoria’s Collection
St Patrick’s College Ballarat is one of the longest-running boarding schools for boys in Australia. Established in 1893 by the Christian Brothers, St Patrick’s has been a staple school in Victoria’s Central Highlands.
In 1959, Cardinal George Pell was the school captain – just one of many convicted paedophiles who attended and/or taught at the school in the last century.
St Patrick’s College and its sister schools have been tormented with emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Scores of children have been abused under the watch of the Catholic Church – but for some, punishment for their abusers has come far too late.
Between 1953 and 1983, several students who attended St Patrick’s College and their sister school, St Alipius Boys’ School were sexually and emotionally abused.
One of the biggest offenders during this time was the school’s chaplain, Gerald Ridsdale. Ridsdale was convicted multiple times between 1993 and 2017. He faced child sexual abuse and indecent assault charges against 65 children as young as four-years-old.
Image: Sydney Morning Herald
Ridsdale was protected by Melbourne Archbishop Ronald Mulkearns who claimed he knew nothing about Ridsdale’s crimes, despite receiving complaints from parents and children in the 1970s.
Pell also lived with Ridsdale and claimed he had no idea about Ridsdale’s sexual preference for children – hard to believe, coming from one of Australia’s latest Catholic priests to be convicted of child sexual abuse.
Other paedophile offenders and enablers involved with St Patrick’s & St Alipius Boys’ School include:
In 2011, Victoria Police revealed upwards of 30 prior students of St Alipius Boys’ School have committed suicide after being abused.
The current headmaster of St Alipius & St Patrick’s, John Crowley, has since apologised to survivors of abuse.
“For childhood innocence lost; a time that should have been one of great wonder, that was stolen in the most despicable and heinous way, by the very people who are meant to protect and care for you, for this we apologise,” Mr Crowley said.
St Patrick’s and St Alipius Boys’ School were a black mark on the history of Catholicism in Australia. It’s only in the last twenty years the mark has started to be scrubbed clean.
At Kelso Lawyers, we’re committed to helping victims of child sexual abuse and helping them achieve justice and compensation from the Catholic Church.
If you believe you have been abused by a member of the clergy, please get in touch. We can help you achieve justice.