Paedophile priest Vincent Gerard Ryan dead at 84

Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC [Sydney, Australia]

May 30, 2022

By Giselle Wakatama

Notorious paedophile priest Vincent Gerard Ryan has died at the age of 84.

Key points:

  • Vincent Gerard Ryan had 37 known victims
  • Ryan has died at the age of 84
  • Catholic Church officials will not comment on his death

Ryan, known as Vince Ryan, was jailed for more than two decades for abusing 37 known victims, dating back to the 1970s.

He completed his studies in Rome a decade earlier, before becoming a parish priest in the beachside Newcastle suburb of Merewether.

He went on to work as a parish priest across the New South Wales’ Hunter Valley until he was first jailed in 1996.

His abuse survivors are angry he has died without being stripped of holy orders, or defrocked.

The Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Diocese will not comment on his death.

Victims raise the alarm

It was July 1995 when two men, Gerard McDonald and Scott Hallett, raised the alarm on Ryan’s abuse.

Ryan preyed on both of them back in 1975 when they were primary school students at Catholic school in Merewether.

Ryan had his priestly faculties removed in the years before his death but was not laicised, meaning he retained the title of Father.

That has angered survivors.

“It is bulls**t. I am angry how he died a priest and it has got me thinking that they still support him even in death,” Gerard McDonald said.

Mr Hallett agreed.

“They never address really punishing these guys and it’s without question nobody deserves to be punished a lot more than he did,” he said.

“There’s unfinished business and people that still haven’t come forward. 

“I know people who haven’t come forward; he got away with heaps.”

The biggest supporter of Ryan’s victims is former New South Wales police minister Troy Grant.

Mr Grant has told the ABC he would never forget being appointed the police officer in charge when he first learned of Ryan in the mid-90’s.

“From that investigation it really became a Pandora’s box and ultimately led to 37 victims over a 20-year period and really disturbingly the uncovering of the church’s complicity in those offences.”

Mr Grant noted the Ryan investigation led to judicial change. 

“It had a major impact, it was subject to a special commission of inquiry, it was a critical case in the Royal Commission and it was actually a brief examined in the NSW Police Royal Commission in the 90s,” he said.

“I guess I am proud of the fact it was a case that was able to highlight the extent of the offending, the extent of the cover up and the way that investigations potentially needed to go or things that needed to be looked at that weren’t traditionally done so.”