Paedophile Gerald Ridsdale had a way with kids, says priest now ‘horrified’ to learn of crimes

By Shannon Deery
Herald Sun
May 26, 2015

Notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale has spent more than 20 years behind bars.

A PRIEST has shocked victims of sexual abuse by admitting he admired Australia’s most notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale, “for what he did for youth”.

But St Alipius parish priest Fr Adrian McInerney has denied any knowledge of Ridsdale’s offending.

Ridsdale has spent more than 20 years behind bars after admitting to molesting more than 50 kids, but it is estimated he assaulted more than 200 in an evil career that spanned decades.

He dished out much of his vile abuse to kids while based at St Alipius parish, Ballarat East, before being shuffled between Victorian parishes by Bishop Ronald Mulkearns.

Current St Alipius parish priest Fr McInerney told the royal commission today he had admired Ridsdale’s way with kids.

The comments sparked sniggers and an angry outburst from inside the Ballarat courtroom where the commission is sitting.

Fr McInerney said he admired the way Ridsdale was able to connect with kids by setting up pool tables and other activities for them that he later admitted was a trap for his predatory crimes.

He said he was “horrified” when he later learned of Ridsdale’s crimes.

“I know how it looks but I did not know,” he said.

Fr McInerney said he had no idea about Ridsdale’s offending until it became public knowledge.

His evidence mirrors a statement by Cardinal George Pell who has also said he was blind to Ridsdale’s offending until it was commonly known.

Fr McInerney said he was also unaware of offending by clergy he worked alongside including Br Robert Best and Br Ted Dowlan.

The commission has heard that at the time offending by some of the men was common knowledge around Ballarat among children and adults.



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