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