One of Australia’s worst child sex predators, pedophile priest Gerald Francis Ridsdale, is expected to die in prison.
The former Catholic priest will be sentenced on Tuesday for abusing 14 children at parishes in Victoria’s western district, between 1961 and 1980.
He has now admitted his guilt in assaulting 53 children in abuse that spanned three decades.
Ridsdale’s latest charges include grooming a four-year-old victim by calling her “God’s little angel” and telling an altar boy he was doing “the Lord’s work” as he abused him.
One victim told Ridsdale’s Victorian County Court plea hearing in March he had hidden behind the Catholic Church as he abused children.
“I trusted you, Gerald Ridsdale. You represented God and all that is good,” she said, reading her victim statement to the court.
“You exploited, manipulated and humiliated me while you hid behind the veil of the church.”
Ridsdale, 79, has been in jail since 1994.
He had become eligible for parole when the latest charges were laid in 2013.
When Chief Judge Michael Rozenes sentences him on Tuesday on 30 charges, predominantly indecent assault, it will be his fourth conviction, following jail terms in 1993, 1994 and 2006.
His barrister Helen Spowart conceded that he was now almost certain to die behind bars.
She said there was no way to argue in mitigation of his crimes.
“It’s difficult to imagine more serious sex offences than this,” she said last month.
But she said his guilty pleas had at least spared victims from giving evidence in court.
Prosecutor Susan Borg said Ridsdale’s abuse had destroyed lives and multiple generations of families.