An Australian ex-priest convicted of child sex abuse pleaded guilty Thursday to sexually abusing a 72nd victim.
Gerald Ridsdale, 89, has been in prison since 1994. He is serving a 39-year sentence for a series of convictions for abusing children between 1961 and 1988 while he worked as a Roman Catholic priest in churches and schools across his home state of Victoria.
Bedridden, he pleaded guilty in the Ballarat Magistrates’ Court by video link from a prison hospital to a new charge of indecently assaulting a 13-year-old boy in 1987 while Ridsdale worked as an assistant priest at a school in Horsham, a town about 200 miles northwest of Melbourne.
Ridsdale will return to court Aug. 15 for sentencing on his 193rd conviction for child sex abuse.
Through his lawyer, Ridsdale told Magistrate Hugh Radford that he had been unable to walk since mid-2022 and his doctors have recommended palliative care. His medical conditions were not detailed.
Ridsdale accepted that the only appropriate sentence for his new conviction was additional prison time.
During his 29 years as a priest, Ridsdale was shuffled between 16 church posts. In 2017, a government inquiry into child sex abuse found his frequent relocations were evidence of the church covering up his crimes.