Australian mining town breaks its silence about grim past of sexual abuse / The New York times

The scale of the abuse in Ballarat was staggering. Gerald Ridsdale, the former chaplain of St. Alipius Primary School in Ballarat, was imprisoned for sexually abusing 65 children from the early 1960s to late 1980s. He was only one of several priests convicted of abusing children. (The New York Times)

Rob Walsh was outside Melbourne Magistrates’ Court recently awaiting a pretrial hearing for Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s third-highest-ranking official, when, he said, he unexpectedly walked into the cardinal himself.

“The encounter wasn’t their first. They both were raised in the same old mining town, which could be why the cardinal extended his hand, inviting Mr. Walsh to shake it. Mr. Walsh declined — a gesture that signified the lasting impact of a decades-long sexual abuse scandal that has rocked this town, Ballarat, and sent shock waves around the world.

“‘The ripple is still on the lake and it’s still occurring,’ Mr. Walsh said from his home in Ballarat, referring to the lingering effects from that scandal, in which priests preyed on children, including Mr. Walsh, during the 1960s and 1970s.

“‘It’s gone through families and generations.'”

By Jacqueline Williams, The New York times — Read more …

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