An infamous Australian paedophile, who gained notoriety for his extensive history of sexual abuse while working as a priest, has confessed to his seventy-second victim on his deathbed.
Gerald Ridsdale, an 89-year-old former Catholic priest, has been in prison since 1994, serving a maximum sentence of 39 years for abusing more than 70 children during his tenure as a priest in schools and churches, reports The Daily Express.
Prior to his arrest, the depraved offender would frequently visit schools and places of worship throughout Victoria, Australia.
Last year, Ridsdale’s earliest possible release date was postponed to April 2027 after he admitted to abusing two brothers between 1981 and 1982.
Now bedridden and unable to walk, he appeared via video link from a prison hospital at the Ballarat Magistrates Court on Thursday.
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Throughout the proceeding, witnesses noted that Ridsdale was noticeably frail, draped in a blanket, and sat in a wheelchair with his eyes closed.
During the court session, he confessed to a fresh charge of indecent assault against a 13-year-old boy while serving as an assistant priest at a Catholic school in Horsham back in 1987.
According to the testimony, Ridsdale lured the young boy into his office and proceeded to touch him inappropriately after requesting the meeting.
Reportedly, he grabbed the boy’s bicep and told him: “You’re a big strong lad.”
Ridsdale’s lawyer acknowledged his client’s deteriorating health, noting that it had been declining since early 2021.
They revealed that Ridsdale has been wheelchair-bound since approximately June of the previous year.
He also suffered a fall in November, which left him stranded on the floor of his prison cell for several hours.
Consequently, Ridsdale was admitted to the hospital within Port Phillip Prison on November 29, where he remains incarcerated.
Hospital records from January recommended palliative care for the disgraced former priest due to his condition, according to his lawyer.
Following his admission of guilt for this despicable crime on Thursday, Ridsdale acknowledged the vulnerability of the child involved and recognised the significant breach of trust caused by his abuse.
As a result, he received an additional prison sentence, and will return to court for sentencing in August.