Paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale sentenced to eighth jail term

Bed-ridden pedophile Gerald Ridsdale has had his prison term increased for abusing his 72nd victim.

Bed-ridden pedophile Gerald Ridsdale has had his prison term increased for abusing his 72nd victim. Photo: Supplied

A magistrate has told pedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale he will “probably die in custody” as he increased the 89-year-old’s jail term by one year for abusing his 72nd victim.

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 currently serving a maximum 39-year sentence for abusing dozens of child victims 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.

The victim, who is now aged in his 40s, ran out of the room after being touched and said he felt like “the world was 100 miles per hour” during the offending.

“It was like I was a passenger and had no control,” he said, in a statement read to the court.

“This led me down a path of destruction.”

Ridsdale suffered a fall in November 2022 and is now bed-ridden, suffering chronic pain, muscle wasting and weak limbs, the court was told.

He was recommended to be placed into palliative care earlier this year.

Magistrate Hugh Radford said Ridsdale was in a position for 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.

If he serves out his full maximum sentence, Ridsdale will be 100 years old when he is released.


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