VICTIM David Ridsdale says seeking legal redress against the Diocese of Ballarat for abuse he suffered at the hands of his uncle was like being molested all over again.
“It was extremely traumatic, that was my experience,” Mr Ridsdale said. “It was just as traumatic in some ways and the trauma continues for me.”
Catholic Church Authorities attempted to pressure Mr Ridsdale’s parents to drop the charges against notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale, the child sex abuse inquiry heard.
A transcript of the minutes of a Catholic Church Insurances body meeting tendered to the inquiry, revealed Monsignor Glynn Murphy warned Mr Ridsdale’s parents they could “expect a fight” if they pursued legal action against the disgraced priest.
Mr Ridsdale said while it was vindicating to have public acknowledgement of the way victims were treated, it was also “extremely disturbing” to have his fears confirmed.
“They (Catholic Church authorities) were in cahoots,” he said. “This is stuff that we've believed and talked about for years.Having it confirmed is both great and also extremely disturbing.”
Mr Ridsdale said the church’s culture of concealment of sexual abuse was so deep victims never stood a chance.
Earlier this week, Mr Ridsdale faced a gruelling cross-examination by Cardinal George Pell’s lawyers amid claims the cardinal attempted to bribe him to keep him quiet.
He said the process continued to re-victimise survivors.
He said legal technicalities like the Ellis Defence used by the Catholic Church to evade financial responsibility for abuse perpetrated by its clergy also further traumatised victims.
“Other countries are under common law, we’re the only country that allows the Church to think they’re not real,” he said.