Ex-bishop Ronald Mulkearns ‘at Fault on Pedophile Priest’

By Tessa Akerman
The Australian
May 27, 2015

Former bishop of Ballarat Ronald Mulkearns needs to take some ­responsibility for the offending of pedophile Gerald Ridsdale, his former secretary has said.

Giving evidence to the abuse royal commission at Ballarat yesterday, Father Adrian McInerney said everyone needed to take ­responsibility but Bishop Mulkearns was “possibly the pivotal person”. He said Bishop Mulkearns knew of the complaints about Ridsdale but moved him from parish to parish. “In retrospect, let’s say he needed to remove people completely from ministry,” he said.

The decisions of where to move Ridsdale were made in meetings between various priests and the bishop. Father McInerney said he was not suspicious at the time about the continual movement of Ridsdale as sexual abuse of children was not in the public consciousness as it was now.

He agreed with counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness SC, that the expectation was that there would be a full and frank discussion of topics and appointments in the meetings. He agreed that the expectation of everyone was that everything the attendees knew about the priests, good or bad, would be spoken of.

Father McInerney said the first time he heard of the allegations against Ridsdale was when he ­accompanied him to his sentencing submission hearing in 1993. He said he didn’t know the nature of the charges and “just took it that (Ridsdale) needed help”.

He said it was naive of him and he agreed it could be classed as reckless to speak on someone’s behalf without knowing the charges. He said Ridsdale had asked him to assist with a “minor matter”.








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