Widespread Child Abuse in Ballarat Diocese
May 29, 2015
* The first complaint about Ridsdale was made to Bishop James O'Collins in 1961. He was told if it happens again he's "off the mission" (priesthood taken away).
* Bishop Ronald Mulkearns knew about Ridsdale's offending in 1975, but didn't suspend him until 1988.
* Convicted priest Paul Ryan says Bishop Mulkearns knew about him in 1977 and "buried his head in the sand" about sexual abuse in diocese. Ryan was removed as priest 1993.
* Bishop Mulkearns, Monsignor Leo Fiscalini and vicar general Father Henry Nolan all received complaints about Ridsdale's conduct in Mortlake (1981-1982).
KNOWLEDGE BY THE CHURCH IN SYDNEY
Documents show Bishop Mulkearns in 1983 told Sydney Archbishop Cardinal Edward Clancy that Ridsdale was receiving counselling for "certain sexual problems" and was not to have contact with children following his transfer to Sydney.
CLAIMS ABOUT CARDINAL GEORGE PELL
Ridsdale's nephew David Ridsdale accused Cardinal Pell of trying to bribe him in 1993 after being abused by his uncle. Pell allegedly asked him: "I want to know what it will take to keep you quiet."
Pell denied the allegation. "At no time did I attempt to bribe David Ridsdale or his family or offer any financial inducements for him to be silent."
* DISMISSED COMPLAINT
Timothy Green says when he was 12 or 13 he told Pell, in 1974, that Brother Edward Dowlan was abusing boys at St Patrick's College. "Father Pell said `don't be ridiculous' and walked out."
Pell says he has no recollection of a conversation with Green. "To the best of my belief, this conversation did not happen."
* HELPED MOVE RIDSDALE
Pell was at a 1982 meeting of the College of Consultors which discussed moving Ridsdale from the Mortlake parish, but he says no claims of abuse were raised at the meeting.
"I would never have condoned or participated in a decision to transfer Ridsdale in the knowledge that he had abused children, and I did not do so."
* ANOTHER PRIEST SAW RIDSDALE ABUSING A GIRL
A victim believed another priest walked in while Ridsdale was sexually assaulting her at the Ballarat East presbytery and did nothing. Ridsdale says he doesn't know who the priest was. He shared the presbytery with Pell and one other priest.
A PRIEST CONFESSED
Justice Peter McClellan reveals at least one priest used the confessional box to admit abusing children, and that way reconciled his offending behaviour
Christian Brothers still haven't made any move to expel Robert Best from the order, four years after his latest conviction.