Church admits liability in child abuse case

CathNews (Service of the Australian Bishops’ Conference)

September 9, 2019

The Church has accepted legal responsibility for the sexual abuse of a child by paedophile Gerald Ridsdale in a significant case that could open the floodgates for survivors seeking compensation. Source: The Age.

After denying any knowledge of Ridsdale’s offending before the nine-year-old boy was raped in a confessional box at Mortlake, in western Victoria in 1982, lawyers for the Church on Friday accepted an amended statement of claim from the survivor in the Supreme Court – in effect admitting legal liability for his crimes.

A 10-day civil trial scheduled to begin on January 29 next year will now focus primarily on the amount of damages the Church will pay the survivor. A mediation hearing will be held on October 15.

The survivor, identified in court under the pseudonym JCB, is suing Ballarat Bishop Paul Bird for negligence on behalf of deceased former bishops James O’Collins and Ronald Mulkearns.

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