Child Sex Abuse Inquiry: "Bully" Cardinal George Pell Complicated Royal Commission Case with Nonsense, David Risdale Says

By David Mark
ABC News
May 21, 2015

PHOTO: David Ridsdale says Cardinal George Pell tried to buy his silence after he told Pell he had been abused by his uncle, Gerald Ridsdale. (ABC News)

A man who was sexually abused by his Catholic priest uncle in Ballarat in the 1970s has accused Cardinal George Pell of being a "bully".

This week David Ridsdale told the Royal Commission into Institutionalised Sexual Abuse Cardinal Pell had tried to buy his silence when he told him he had been abused by his uncle, notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale.

"If he'd just said he didn't remember it might have been one thing, but he chose to add layers of nonsense," David Ridsdale told 7.30 after appearing at the Royal Commission yesterday.

"I told George that I had been abused by Gerald.

"George then began to talk about my growing family and my need to take care of their needs. He mentioned how I would soon have to buy a car or house for my family.

"I remember saying to both my sisters, 'the bastard just tried to bribe me'".

After giving evidence Mr Ridsdale told 7.30 Cardinal Pell was "a bully, a bully is what he is".

"They thought they could bully me. And so many men have lost their lives because of their inaction," he said.

Cardinal Pell has rejected Mr Ridsdale's allegations under oath and publicly on a number of occasions, and repeated his denial again this week after Mr Ridsdale's testimony.

"I was and remain extremely sympathetic to David Ridsdale who, because of his uncle, suffered horrible abuse," Cardinal Pell said in a statement.

"I continue to regret the misunderstanding between us.

"At no time did I attempt to bribe David Ridsdale or his family or offer any financial inducements for him to be silent. At the time of our discussion the police were already aware of allegations against Gerald Ridsdale and were investigating.

"Then, and now, I supported these police investigations. I have previously made a sworn denial of these allegations and I reiterate that denial."

The man at the centre of the allegations, Gerald Ridsdale, is due to appear before the Commission next week.

David Ridsdale said he hoped his uncle would be able to shed light on the role of the Catholic Church and its hierarchy.

"All I want him to do is explain to us all when the church knew, I am not interested in him giving rationales," Mr Ridsdale told 7.30.

"He's not going to be allowed to talk about the offences, which I am happy with.

"I want him to be honest about when the people in charge of him knew.

"Ideally I'd like him to point out which other priests knew and were aware. I would pray that he'd be honest."

The Catholic Church has said Cardinal George Pell could re-appear before the child abuse Royal Commission via video-link.

Frances Sullivan from the church's Truth, Justice and Healing Council said Cardinal Pell would co-operate with the Commission.

"The Cardinal has made it clear from the word go, and even when he went to Rome, that he would cooperate fully with the Royal Commission, and since then he was asked to appear via video-link into the Melbourne hearing last year, and I'm sure, if requested, he will turn up again," Mr Sullivan said.








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