Ex-priest faces more sex charges

A former Catholic priest facing child sex abuse charges in relation to alleged incidents in Warrnambool, Mortlake and other Victorian towns appeared in court yesterday.

Gerald Ridsdale appeared in the Ballarat County Court via a video link from Ararat Prison.

The former Ballarat diocese priest is charged with 68 counts of indecent assault and 12 of buggery in relation to 10 boys. It is alleged he abused the boys at locations across country Victoria, including Warrnambool and Mortlake, in the 1970s and 1980s.

Meanwhile, the head of Australasian St John of God has come under fire for the way he handled compensation payments in regards to allegations of sexual abuse at Marylands School during the 1970s.

Brother Peter Burke gave evidence today in the High Court trial of former Christchurch religious brother Bernard Kevin McGrath.

He is on trial on multiple counts of sexual abuse of boys.

Br Burke told the court that approximately AU$4.5 million was paid out to complainants who contacted the Catholic Church in 2002.

Defence lawyer Raoul Neave asked Br Burke why the claims were not investigated before the payments were awarded. Br Burke responded saying it was hard for him to say whether they were real or made up.

Ex-priest faces more sex charges (Warrnambool Standard 7/3/06)
St John of God head under fire (NZCity/MewsTalkZB 6/3/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)

More charges for jailed priest (CathNews 8/7/05)
Extra protection for John of God accused (CathNews 16/2/05)
St John of God priest and brother to be extradited (CathNews 15/2/05)
Brothers face extradition to NZ to face abuse charges (CathNews 1/12/03)
Order head says give abuse victims benefit of doubt (CathNews 14/10/03)
John of God Order condemns tactics of NZ law firm (CathNews 6/8/03)
Sex abuse complainant admits lying to get payout (CathNews 3/7/03)
Brother suspended over sex claims (CathNews 5/7/02)
St John of God Brothers to pay out $3.6 million (CathNews 13/6/02)

8 Mar 2006