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Pedophile priest may face more charges


A decision is expected this week on whether convicted Melbourne pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale will face more sex abuse charges relating to a further nine people.

The Age reports that this follows a meeting at Ballarat police station yesterday between the Director of Public Prosecutions, Paul Coghlan, QC, the alleged victims and Detective Sergeant Kevin Carson who investigated their complaints.

In August, The Age revealed that Mr Coghlan was refusing to press further charges against Ridsdale (pictured), who was jailed in 1994 and will be 75 before he is eligible for parole.

A further prosecution was deemed "not in the public interest", as the allegations could have been heard at Ridsdale's original trial.

Responding to what he called "disquiet in the community", Mr Coghlan later offered to meet the complainants and reconsider his decision. The mother of an alleged victim, who represented her son at yesterday's meeting, urged victims to come forward.

If the latest complaints went to trial, it was unlikely Ridsdale, 70, would face a third prosecution, she said.

Ridsdale, 70, was convicted on a representative 46 charges of sexual abuse involving 21 boys and girls between 1961 and 1982. He was sentenced to 18 years' jail, with a 15-year non-parole period.

The offences mostly related to abuse at parishes in central and western Victoria

Meanwhile a female teacher at a Melbourne Catholic secondary college has been stood down after an alleged affair with a 17-year-old student.

The principal of St Joseph's Secondary College, in Ferntree Gully, Vin Feeney told Channel Nine news that, after the alleged affair was made public, the teacher was stood down.

"The allegation was that the teacher was conducting an inappropriate relationship of a sexual nature with a senior student," he said. "He (the student) confirmed the relationship. It was on that basis that we stood the teacher down."

Channel Nine reported the teacher denied any wrongdoing.

The Catholic Education Office and the Victorian Institute of Teaching were immediately notified, and moved to have the teacher deregistered at a hearing last Thursday.

SOURCE
Pedophile priest may face more charges (The Age 14/12/04)
Teacher accused of affair with student (The Age/AAP 13/12/04)

LINKS
Bishops' Committee for Professional Standards | Towards Healing

ARCHIVE
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)

MORE STORIES
Former detective sues police force, Catholic church (ABC TV 7:30 Report 13/12/04)
National Tribunal needed for abuse victims: McLucas (ABC Radio AM 13/12/04)
Abuse victims in debt despite compensation (ABC Radio AM 13/12/04)
Once-Obedient Catholics Challenge Church (Associated Press/The Guardian 12/12/04)


14 Dec 2004