Posted December 11, 2015 15:06:18

The current Bishop of Brisbane ignored complaints about notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Youngster Sexual Abuse has heard.

Bishop Brian Finnigan was the secretary to the Bishop of Ballarat in the 1980s.

In 1981, he took a phone call from concerned parents in Mortlake about Gerald Ridsdale.

Counsel Assisting Angus Steward read a statement from the parents.

“We mentioned that the enquiry was related to the security of our son,” he study.

“We asked Father Finnigan whether or not we required to be concerned about the welfare of our youngster in relation to Father Ridsdale.

“He stated that there was no require for concern and there had been no reports of improper behaviour by Ridsdale.”

Beneath cross-examination from royal commissioner Justice Peter McClennan, Bishop Finnigan mentioned he had no memory of the conversation and did not refer the complaint.

Justice McClennan: A person comes to you and says they are concerned about the security of their child. Does that not lead to you the greatest alarm?

Bishop Finnigan: On reflection it ought to have, but at the time I didn’t twig to it.

Justice McClennan: When a person comes to you, a member of your church, and says they are concerned about the safety of their kid, was it not incumbent on you to do what ever you could to make certain that the child was protected?

Bishop Finnegan: I’d accept that now, but at the time, as I said, they have been going to adhere to it up with the Bishop and they weren’t going to tell me the detail, apparently because they mentioned they had been going to speak to the Bishop privately, so I left it at that.

Justice McClennan: Nicely, at the extremely least to help the youngster, wouldn’t you go to the Bishop and say, ‘Bishop there’s anything you must know, this message has been conveyed to me’?

Bishop Finnigan: I ought to have but I did not due to the fact, as I stated, they had been going to get in touch with the Bishop.

It was then place to Bishop Finnigan that the parents wanted him to place them in contact with Bishop Ronald Mulkearns.

“Oh no, I would not interpret it that way at all,” replied Bishop Finnigan.

Bishop Finnigan told the commission he did not inform Bishop Mulkearns of the 1981 complaint, nor did he organise a meeting among the Bishop and the loved ones.

Bishop Mulkearns knew of formal complaints about Gerald Ridsdale molesting young boys as early as 1976.

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Subjects: royal-commissions, catholic, kid-abuse, sexual-offences, ballarat-3350, brisbane-4000, vic

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