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Timeline: Gerald Ridsdale's decades-long trail of destruction

The Catholic Church knew as early as 1970 that Gerald Ridsdale was a danger to children – yet it kept moving him from parish to parish, where he abused many more boys and girls, until his first conviction in 1993.

1954
Werribee
Enters Corpus Christi seminary. Abuses a child at camp for disadvantaged children.

Gerald Ridsdale as chaplain at Nazareth House girls' home in Ballarat in the early 1960s.

Gerald Ridsdale as chaplain at Nazareth House girls' home in Ballarat in the early 1960s.

1961-63
Ballarat
Ordained as a priest. Within less than a year the church receives complaints that he has abused children. Appointed to city's Cathedral parish, where his duties include acting as chaplain at Nazareth House girls home (where he abused girls), and St James boys home, Sebastopol.

1964-66
Mildura
Appointed assistant priest to Monsignor John Day, also a sex offender.

Late 1960s
Swan Hill
Appointed parish priest, abuses at least two children, including an altar boy.

1970-71
Warrnambool
Appointed priest at St Joseph’s parish. Court later hears evidence that Ballarat diocese authorities knew from the time he was at St Joseph's that Ridsdale was a danger to children.

1971-74
Ballarat East
Appointed priest at St Alipius parish and chaplain at St Alipius primary school, where Christian Brothers Robert Best, Edward Dowlan and Gerald ‘Leo’ Fitzgerald were also abusing boys, including some of the same victims.

1972-73
Apollo Bay
Brings an altar boy from Warrnambool to the coastal town on holiday and abuses him.

1974-75
Apollo Bay
Re-assigned to the local parish, Our Lady Star of the Sea, as priest. Brings boy he met in Colac to the presbytery and abuses him.

1975
Melbourne Referred by Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns to a psychiatrist after diocese made aware of more abuse allegations.

Inglewood Appointed parish priest in the town, north-west of Bendigo. Within several months he leaves overnight upon learning some of his victims have reported his abuse of them to police.

Ballarat East Returns to St Alipius, where he again abuses boys.

1976-77
Edenhope Appointed parish priest in the Wimmera town, near the South Australian border. At least two boys later accused of him of abusing them.

1980
Melbourne
Moves to the National Pastoral Institute, abuses several boys while living there.

1981-82
Mortlake
Appointed priest of St Colman's parish, where he abuses up to 30 boys, including JCB, who he raped in the confessional. Leaves after parents complain to church that their children have been sexually assaulted and physically injured by Ridsdale.

1982-85
Sydney
Given a desk job at the Catholic Enquiry Centre, serves as a relief priest in the diocese of Broken Bay, and as chaplain on Pacific cruises. Finds more victims. Still wanted by police for sex offences in NSW, which were the subject of a civil writ served against the church in 1994.

1986
Horsham
Appointed to Saints Michael and John's parish, where he abuses more children. Diocese keeps him on as parish priest, despite receiving a complaint from a mother that he had abused her son years earlier at Edenhope. She demands Ridsdale be removed or no longer have access to altar boys.

1990
New Mexico, US
Ballarat diocese sends Ridsdale to a residence for paedophile priests, run by a religious order. While there, he works as a locum for the local Catholic diocese, which receives complaints about him abusing children.

1991
Richmond, NSW
Appointed chaplain at a psychiatric hospital run by the St John of God order of Christian Brothers, to counsel patients, many of whom were sexually abused as children.

1992
Victim from Edenhope reports abuse by Ridsdale to police, leading to first charges and prosecution against the cleric.

Gerald Ridsdale outside the County Court in Warrnambool in 1994.

Gerald Ridsdale outside the County Court in Warrnambool in 1994.CREDIT:ANDREW DE LA RUE

1993
Convicted of 30 incidents of indecent assault involving nine boys - including several of his nephews - aged between 12 and 16 between 1974 and 1980. Sentenced to 12 months' jail (with parole after three months).

1994
Convicted of indecently assaulting 20 boys aged 9 to 15 (and the 11-year-old sister of one boy) between 1961 and 1981, five counts of buggery involving four of the boys, and the attempted buggery of one boy. Jailed for 18 years, with a minimum of 15.

2006
Charged with 35 incidents involving 10 boys, the youngest aged six, between 1970 and 1987, including four counts of buggery, 24 of indecent assault and seven of gross indecency. Sentenced to a further four years’ jail.

2014
Sentenced to a further eight years in jail, with a minimum of five, for 30 charges against 14 victims, including the indecent assault of a girl while delivering the sacrament of confession.

2015
Testifies via video link to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

2017
Pleads guilty to 23 charges, including two counts of rape and one of buggery, for the abuse of 11 boys and one girl aged 6 to 13 in Ballarat between 1962 and 1988. Sentenced to 11 years’ jail, with a minimum of five years.

2019
Ararat
Remains in prison at Hopkins Correctional Centre. Eligible for parole in 2022.

Sources:
The Age archives, Ballarat Courier, Warrnambool Standard, Broken Rites, Royal Commission, and police, court and church records.

Source : https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/timeline-gerald-ridsdale-s-decades-long-trail-of-destruction-20190906-p52or7.html

Abuser Name or Alias:: Gerald Risdale
Abusers Organisation:: Catholic Church
Type of Abuse:: Sexual

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