Douglas Drummond, former Queensland Special Prosecutor and a judge on the Federal Court of Australia, has written a powerful piece, fearlessly probing the record of Victoria Police (in particular about the Pell jailing) and the Royal Commission into institutional child sexual abuse. He is to be commended.
The frightening bias of VicPol and the commission continues to unfold. Australia needs a thorough investigation into the background of the country’s worst ever miscarriage of justice. What happened to Cardinal Pell could happen to anyone.
I have added a tab on Victoria Police to the Cardinal Pell section of my website.
The Unexplored Shame of Victoria Police
by Douglas Drummond, Quadrant, 3 July 2020
The Catholic Church and its bishops have been subjected to a lot of deserved criticism by the Royal Commission, the media, survivors and others for their failures to deal with the sexual abuse of children by priests, particularly over the decades from the 1960s to the 1990s. Victoria Police has largely escaped criticism, though it made similar failures during this same period.
At the first public session of the Commission in August 2015, it said that, as well as religious institutions, were police force were one of the types of institutions it would be investigating.
Catholic Diocese of Ballarat
In its Final Report in Case Study 28, the Royal Commission said: “The scope and purpose of Part Two of that case study involving the Ballarat Diocese was to inquire into:
1. the response of the Diocese and of other Catholic Church authorities in Ballarat to allegations of child sexual abuse against clergy or religious
2. the response of Victoria Police to allegations of child sexual abuse against clergy or religious which took place within the Catholic Diocese of Ballarat”.
The Commission made a full inquiry into the first item. But its inquiry into the second item was in a number of respects surprisingly deficient.
Ridsdale (right) was probably the worst of the many paedophile priests in Victoria, if not Australia. Much of his offending took place in parishes in the Ballarat Diocese. The Commission noted Ridsdale was convicted in 1993, and later, of sexual offences against a total of 65 children as young as four which occurred from the 1960s until the 1980s. This was only part of his criminal activities: according to The Age report of June 14, 2002, [“Ballarat’s good men of the cloth”] just before his first trial in 1993, Ridsdale told his family of his crimes. One family member asked: “How many, Gerald. Four, or five?” “Hundreds,” was his reply.