Former Ballarat Bishop Accused of Hushing up Pedophile’s Offences

By Tessa Akerman
The Australian
May 26, 2015

Former Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns allegedly hushed up pedophile Gerald Ridsdale’s ­offences and refused to step in because he was too busy with confirmation duties, according to evidence submitted to the abuse royal commission.

A former principal of a school in western Victoria said Bishop Mulkearns had told her in 1982 not to tell staff about Ridsdale’s abuse of students, there was not to be a meeting with parents and that “we could do nothing for the children”.

Bishop Mulkearns, then the most senior Catholic in Australia’s worst diocese for clergy sex offences, has also been accused in evidence tendered to the royal commission of having asked a nun to tip off Ridsdale that others knew about his offending, allegedly with the intention of stopping it.

Ridsdale is feared to have ­abused hundreds of children in the Ballarat diocese from the 1960s to the 80s. He is in jail convicted of abusing more than 50 children.

Bishop Mulkearns, who has since retired and is in ill health, ran the Ballarat diocese between 1971 and 1997 and was central to moving Ridsdale from parish to parish each time he was caught abusing schoolchildren.








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