Child abuse survivors have chance to speak out against group of Victorian pedophile priests

9 News
May 19, 2015

Stephen Woods said after he was abused he was told he was evil and it was his fault.

At least 54 children were victims of Gerald Ridsdale.

Abuse victims, witnesses and perpetrators will give evidence at the hearings over the next three weeks.

[with video]

A Royal Commission has heard harrowing evidence of child sexual abuse at Catholic institutions around Ballarat, west of Melbourne.

Stephen Woods, one survivor who was raped and later blamed for what had happened, spoke in court today.

"I want to share about how it has really affected me so personally, so deeply, and it's affected my family, it's affected my friends, it's affected my life on so many levels," Mr Woods said.

"I was told as a child that I was bad, that I was evil, and that this was my fault."

The group of abusers included Gerald Ridsdale, jailed for eight years for molesting more than 50 children across a dozen parishes and churches in Victoria.

At one school Ridsdale had molested every male child aged between 11 and 16.

Today, Phillip Nagle was the first to take the stand and spoke of his troubled years as a student at St Alipius.

Mr Nagle told the Royal Commission about a photograph that had been taken of his grade four class in 1974.

Out of the 33 boys in the photo, 12 had died, and Mr Nagle believes all of them took their own lives.

Seventeen abuse victims will give evidence at the Royal Commission, as well as witnesses and perpetrators.

The hearings will run for three weeks and will not just address abuse, but also the lies and those who attempted to cover up evidence of abuse.




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