Ballarat had been at the centre of child sexual abuse committed by its Catholic dioceses. A Royal Commission uncovered a culture of secrecy according to ABC News where the church did anything to avoid scandal to protect the church and its priests’ reputations. Sadly, this story is not unique.
Some 140 cases were reported and sixty-five (one as young as four) were related to one priest — Gerald Ridsdale. Like the Catholic church had done all over the world, pedophile Ridsdale was moved from parish to parish for over thirty years to cover up his crimes against children. According to church records, he offended children even before he finished his seminary training! He even fled from one town when victims reported him to the police.
His first conviction was in 1993 and when this was broadcast by the media, other victims began to step forward.