Australia’s worst sex offender priest has had another three years added to his minimum jail term, meaning he cannot seek parole until 2022.
The Herald Sun today reported that part of the 11-year sentence he was given today will be served at the same time as a previous sentence, meaning he may serve just an extra three months for each of the 12 new victims who bravely came forward to report abuse.
The horrific ordeal of one young girl whose father left her on a church altar to be raped by Gerald Ridsdale (now 83) moved the County Court to tears when it was revealed earlier this month.
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It’s believed his true victim count is in the hundreds, though officially Ridsdale’s total victim count is 65.
Ridsdale was first charged with child sex offences in 1993. He was jailed the following year and has never been released but was due to be eligible for parole in 2019.
Signs of sexual abuse
The main message from survivors is about the importance of paying attention to children’s behaviour.
If children are being sexually abused, there may be physical signs such as bleeding from the vagina or anus (back passage), sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or poor hygiene.
However, signs in a child’s behaviour are more likely.
•significant changes in behaviour, aggressive behaviour or regression (going back) to an earlier stage of development (for example, bedwetting)
•sexual behaviour that is not appropriate to the child’s age
•depression or social withdrawal
•getting into trouble at school (sometimes to avoid going home)
•self-harming behaviours (for example, self-mutilation, suicide attempts or prostitution).
Where to get help
•Child Protection Service – to report child abuse. Contact your local office or the DHS Child Protection Crisis Line on Tel. 131 278
•Police – to report the abuser
•Centres Against Sexual Assault Tel. 1800 806 292 (24 hours) – for support and counselling
•National Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence hotline Tel. 1800 737 732 (24 hours) – for support
•Children are not responsible for sexual abuse.
•Sexual abuse is a crime.
•Children often talk about the abuse a little at a time.
•It is very common for survivors to repress memories of abuse.
•Sexual abuse is experienced by girls and boys. Children cannot stop sexual abuse.
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