Remorse from Jail

Wimmera Mail Times [Australia]
February 21, 2007

Convicted paedophile and former Wimmera Catholic Priest Gerald Ridsdale has written an apology to his victims from his Ararat prison cell.

Ridsdale, 72, has been charged with having molested 40 children throughout his 30-year career.

In his letter, which Ballarat Police will send to the families of 10 victims, Ridsdale apologised to those he molested, as well as their families, the church community, police and social workers.

A spokesman for Broken Rites, a church-related sexual abuse support group, said it was the first time Ridsdale had shown remorse for his actions.

"His remorse is very recent and quite belated," he said.

The spokesman said while Ridsdale pleaded guilty to all charges presented, he had never shown any remorse.

"He pleaded guilty to all 40 charges because police had all the evidence it needed on him. He never came forward and admitted to anything he wasn't accused of," the spokesman said. "His apology is like the government sending more troops to Iraq and calling them trainers. You don't really know what is the underlying reason for it," he said.

The spokesman believed there could be more people in the Wimmera who had been molested by Ridsdale who had not yet come forward.

"A lot of people in country towns would not have told their parents, because they would all be involved in the church and they would not have been believed. There have been 39 males and one female come forward in Victoria. But we believe it is just the tip of the iceberg," he said.

The spokesman said anyone with information could call Broken Rites on 9457 4999.


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