A magistrate has told paedophile Gerald Ridsdale he will “probably die in custody” as he increased the 89-year-old former priest’s jail term by one year for abusing his 72nd victim. Source: 9news.com.au.
Ridsdale appeared frail and kept his eyes closed as he lay in a prison hospital bed, appearing by video link for his sentence at Ballarat Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
He has been in prison since 1994 and is serving a maximum 39-year sentence for abusing dozens of children when he worked as a priest at multiple schools and churches across Victoria.
He pleaded guilty in June to a new charge of indecent assault against a 13-year-old boy while he worked at a Catholic school in Horsham in 1987.
The boy went to the counsellor’s office to meet with Ridsdale, who grabbed his arm and said he was a “big strong lad” before touching him inappropriately.
Ridsdale suffered a fall in November 2022 and is now bed-ridden and in palliative care.
Magistrate Hugh Radford said Ridsdale was in a position of trust as a trainee priest, and “more than that you were a man of God” who should have been providing guidance to the boy.
He handed Ridsdale a 12-month prison sentence with no parole period, increasing his current maximum term to 40 years and his minimum to 33-and-a-half years.
“You will probably die in custody,” he said. His earliest release date was extended to April 2028.
Paedophile priest may die in jail as sentence increased (By Emily Woods, AAP via 9news.com.au)