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  Home :: 2006 August :: Ex-priest admits to more child abuse

Ex-priest admits to more child abuse

Victoria's most notorious pedophile, former Catholic priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale, has pleaded guilty in court today to 35 counts of child sexual abuse.

Ridsdale, 72, of Ararat Prison, admitted to 24 counts of indecent assault, seven of gross indecency and four of buggery in Ballarat County Court today.

The court heard the charges relate to assaults against 10 male victims in towns across western Victoria between 1972 and 1987.

The incidents occurred in Ballarat, Bacchus Marsh, Horsham, Edenhope, Mortlake and Warrnambool while┬ Ridsdale was a Catholic priest.

Prison guards flanked Ridsdale, 72, who is serving an 18-year jail term for similar crimes, when he appeared before judge Bill White today.

Supporters of some of Ridsdale's victims attended court.

The charges were laid after the Director of Public Prosecutions, Paul Coghlan, QC, responding to what he called "disquiet in the community", met alleged victims and their families in 2004.┬

The meeting convinced the DPP to reverse an earlier decision not to prosecute Ridsdale again because he was elderly and already serving a lengthy term.

Ridsdale was charged following a five-year investigation by Ballarat Detective Sergeant Kevin Carson.

In 1994 Ridsdale was sentenced to 18 years' jail with 15 years non-parole after pleading guilty to 46 charges involving 21 children.

Twenty boys and one girl, all aged between nine and 15, were sexually abused by the man between 1961 and 1982.

Ridsdale was removed from the priesthood in 1992.

The hearing continues.

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Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia