Former Catholic Priest Vincent Ryan to return to jail
Vincent Ryan abused children throughout the Hunter Region for decades. Under the watchful eye of the Catholic Church, Ryan sexually abused more than 30 boys under his care and served a 14-year prison sentence for his crimes.
He was released in 2010.
Now, Ryan is set to go back to prison – it has been found that he abused two more altar boys during the 1970s and 1990s. He will go back to prison for three years and three months for two offences involving two young boys.
They were aged 10 and 12 at the time, respectively.
He was found guilty of sexually abusing one boy in a church sacristy after giving him altar wine. The other boy was upset after attending a funeral and Ryan took advantage of his emotional state.
District Court Judge Dina Yehia said Ryan was rehabilitated and unlikely to re-offend, but a non-custodial sentence was not an option due to the seriousness of his crimes.
Judge Yehia also said all children have a right to a childhood free of abuse and the problems abuse causes later in life.
Australian Catholic Church releases standards for child protection
In May, Catholic Church officials released national safeguarding standards based on the recommendations of the Royal Commission.
The new safeguarding standards build on Pope Francis’ update to canon law released earlier in the month. Pope Francis said “the good of the church requires condemnation” and pushed for accountability and mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse.
The new safeguarding standards were released through the Catholic Professional Standards Ltd, a group created to set the standards and audit the church’s response to child sexual abuse.
Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) and Australian Bishops Conference said the safeguarding standards are crucial in the church’s ongoing response the child sexual abuse.
“The standards will allow Catholic entities and the public to have additional confidence in the Church’s approach to addressing the tragedy of abuse and to building a culture of safety for all, especially for the young and the vulnerable,” Monica Cavanaugh, president of the CRA, said.
Outrage over the Catholic Church’s legal tactics
Catholic priests and victims of child sexual abuse alike are outraged over the legal tactics used by the Catholic Church in recent court proceedings regarding serial paedophile, Gerald Ridsdale.
A Melbourne firm is suing the Diocese of Ballarat on behalf of one of Ridsdale’s victims. Ridsdale raped him in a confession box in 1982.
In a pre-trial judgment, Supreme Court Judge Michael McDonald ruled the victim could sue the institution itself rather than individual clergy members like Ridsdale and his enabler, Bishop Ronald Mulkearns.
Mulkearns moved Ridsdale to various parishes in South Melbourne to protect the reputation of the church. The landmark decision exposed the Catholic Church’s refusal to acknowledge Mulkearns knew about Ridsdale – and forcing the victim to sue the billion-dollar Catholic Church rather than Mulkearns or Ridsdale.
“The presence of Ridsdale is analogous to the presence of a dangerous guard dog left on premises by an occupier,” Judge McDonald said.
Victims advocate, Father Kevin Dillon, has spoken out against the pre-trial ruling.
“Why in the world are people still being put through this sort of legal wringer?” Father Dillon said.
“These appallingly wounded people belong to us. There is every evidence that people who should have known better let it continue, there is no way in which you can deny that.”
“This is proof,” another victim said.
“People have been saying for years they are adversarial. They have not changed.”
The fight for justice from the Catholic Church is not over. They’re still using hardline legal tactics to take advantage of victims of child sexual abuse.
At Kelso Lawyers, we aim to take the fight to the Catholic Church.