Survivors tell inquiry of harrowing abuse at Ballarat

Ballarat evidence harrowing

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has heard harrowing evidence of child sexual abuse at Catholic institutions around Ballarat, west of Melbourne, reports Nine News.

Stephen Woods, one survivor who was raped and later blamed for what had happened, told the Royal Commission yesterday: "I want to share about how it has really affected me so personally, so deeply, and it's affected my family, it's affected my friends, it's affected my life on so many levels," Mr Woods said.

The group of abusers included former priest Gerald Ridsdale, jailed for eight years for molesting more than 50 children across a dozen parishes and churches in Victoria. 

At one school Ridsdale had molested every male child aged between 11 and 16.

The Guardian reports that Cardinal George Pell was involved in the decision to move a priest who was later found to be a prolific child sex abuse offender from the Victorian parish of Mortlake.

Cardinal Pell, who supported Ridsdale during his first court appearance for child sex offences in 1993, was part of a Church clerical group called the College of Consultors that decided to move Ridsdale between parishes. Pell later became the Archbishop of Melbourne, then Sydney, before taking up a senior role at the Vatican.

The hearing was told that Ridsdale was discussed at a meeting of the College of Consultors in September, 1982 where the minutes recorded “it had become necessary for Fr Gerald Ridsdale to move from the parish of Mortlake.”

No reason for the transfer is recorded in the minutes. 

TJH Council Royal Commission update: Ballarat Day 1

FULL COVERAGE

Child abuse survivors have chance to speak out against group of Victorian pedophile priests (Nine News)

George Pell moved abuser priest out of Mortlake parish, inquiry told (The Guardian)

Nun told victim abuse was 'God's secret' (AAP/SBS)

Victims break down in tears at abuse inquiry (SkyNews)

Ballarat's toxic legacy of sexual abuse by clergy (ABC)

Ballarat priests involved in child sex abuse sent on 'treatment' trips, inquiry told (The Guardian)

Cardinal George Pell may have known about priest's crimes against children, royal commission hears (The Age)

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