Abuse royal commission: Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns’ cancer

By Tessa Akerman
August 25, 2015

The man who is key to answering the question of why the Diocese of Ballarat was the site of extensive sexual abuse by Catholic ­clergy may not give evidence to the royal commission after being diagnosed with cancer.

The Ballarat Diocese told The Australian yesterday that Bishop Ronald Mulkearns underwent surgery last week and his prognosis was uncertain.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard evidence the former bishop knew of Gerald Ridsdale’s offending and moved him from parish to parish when complaints were made. Ridsdale was Australia’s worst pedophile priest and abused scores — and possibly hundreds — of children in Victoria and NSW.

Bishop Mulkearns avoided the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into child sex abuse in institutions, citing ill health and memory loss after a stroke in 1998.

Broken Rites’ Wayne Chamley said the seriousness of Bishop Mulkearns’s condition was unknown and hopefully he would be stabilised by the time the second public hearings into Ballarat began in November.


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