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Convicted priest may face new charges

Convicted pedophile and former Melbourne priest Gerald Ridsdale may face new charges after the Director of Public Prosecutions this week decided to reconsider a decision not to prosecute new allegations.

The Age reports today that nine more victims have filed complaints against Ridsdale since he was convicted in 1994 on 46 charges of sexual abuse throughout central and western Victoria.

The DPP, Paul Coghlan, QC, has offered to meet victims who have come forward since the conviction, and said he would reconsider prosecuting Ridsdale, 70, over their allegations.

Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls welcomed Mr Coghlan's review, which follows comments by Premier Steve Bracks encouraging victims to come forward. Mr Bracks said he hoped victims could have their day in court.

In a letter to Mr Hulls, Mr Coghlan said the decision not to prosecute was based on the fact that the new allegations could have been heard at the original trial. Responding to what he called "disquiet in the community", Mr Coghlan said it was important the public have confidence in the justice system.

"The group who are of the greatest concern are the victims. I have not met them. I am prepared to do so," Mr Coghlan wrote in a letter to Mr Hulls. "It follows that such meetings only have a point if I am prepared to reconsider my decision. I am prepared to do so. I will arrange for the victims to be contacted and informed of my decision."

Convicted priest may face new charges (The Age 19/8/04)

Milwaukee Preacher Gets Sentence For Exorcism ( 17/8/04)
Child abuse scheme to cover 30 more centres (One in Four)
Prosecutors block child sex charges against ex-priest (CathNews 17/8/04)
Activities of jailed priest reportedly resurface in Pell inquiry (CathNews 2/10/02)

19 Aug 2004