Australian Serial Paedophile Priest Described Abuse as ‘God’s Work,’ Told Victims They Were 'God's Little Angel,’ Victims Had Lost Faith in the Catholic Church

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | March 19, 2014 4:08 PM EST

Gerald Francis Ridsdale, a former Australian Catholic priest, described his paedophile tendencies as "God's work." In raping a four-year-old girl, he told her she was "God's little angel."

REUTERS/Argentine Presidency/H
Catholic Priest Lorenzo de Vedia (C) blesses Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner during a mass in honour of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez on the first anniversary of his death, in Buenos Aires March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Argentine Presidency/Handout via Reuters

Mr Ridsdale has admitted his guilt in sexually abusing 45 children that spanned 20 years from 1961 up to 1980.

One of his victims, who was under the care of the Catholic diocese, said she indecently assaulted during holiday drives when she was between 10 and 13 years old.

"I trusted you, Gerald Ridsdale, you represented God and all that is good," she said as she read her victim statement on Tuesday to the Victorian County Court. "You exploited, manipulated and humiliated me while you hid behind the veil of the church."

Several of his victims said they had lost faith in the Catholic Church because despite knowing about the paedophile priest ungodly acts, the institution still refused and failed to act on complaints.

"I'm unable to have any faith in them as an organisation," one said in his victim statement.

Mr Ridsdale told a 4-year-old girl she was "God's little angel" as he groomed her prior to abuse, the court heard. It was also learned that he abused her on another occasion, right inside the confessional box after telling her she needed to be punished for her sins.

"I was ordered to the prayer, 'Forgive me Father for I have sinned," before he abused me. I felt like dying," she said.

Another victim, a 9-year-old altar boy, said he was told that what Mr Ridsdale was doing was "the Lord's work" as he abused him.

Mr Ridsdale appeared on Tuesday before the County Court, pleading guilty to 30 charges involving sex offences against 11 boys and three girls.

The 79-year old priest is already serving a long jail sentence for multiple child sex offences. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Defence barrister Helen Spowart said Mr Ridsdale already suffers from serious health problems and is resigned to dying in jail.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Argentine Presidency/H / )
Catholic Priest Lorenzo de Vedia (C) blesses Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner during a mass in honour of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez on the first anniversary of his death, in Buenos Aires March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Argentine Presidency/Handout via Reuters
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