Victim calls for truth from church leaders

Clergy abuse survivor David Ridsdale
Clergy abuse survivor David Ridsdale

A clergy abuse survivor has voiced his disappointment with evidence given by Catholic Church leaders in the last week. The third round of hearings into abuse that occurred within the Diocese of Ballarat began on Monday. Out the front of the Ballarat Magistrates’ Court on Thursday abuse victim David Ridsdale said he was not satisfied with Bishop Ronald Mulkearns' apology at the sex abuse inquiry. 

"Apologies are words, and we haven't had the actions," Mr Ridsdale said. “The actions are required from the institutional hierarchy because this is systemic abuse.” He said Bishop Mulkearn’s evidence and other evidence from Christian Brothers this week, showed clergy within the church had known about the sexual abuse of children for a decades. Mr Ridsdale said he was looking forward to Bishop Mulkearns' evidence continuing. 

“It’s only part one so I’m hoping in the next session he will give us some more information,” he said. 

Until now, the former Catholic cleric had been excused from giving evidence because he was too sick, but the royal commission has now decided he will front the inquiry by video link from his nursing home. Last June, Bishop Mulkearns finally broke his silence about clergy sex abuse within the Catholic Church, telling a court he remembers a priest "misbehaving" in a sexual way. 

Bishop Mulkearns was forced to give evidence against former priest who cannot be named for legal reasons who pleaded not guilty to a string of sexual assault charges. Bishop Mulkearns underwent a compulsory examination revealing evidence about child sexual abuse for the first time in almost two decades and admitted he had knowledge of the priest behaving in a sexual way.