Title: Gerald Ridsdale photo that haunted George Pell for decades
For 29 years, there was one photo Cardinal George Pell was never able to escape.
Back in August 1993, the then-auxiliary bishop – who has died aged 81 – was pictured walking side-by-side into court with Gerald Ridsdale.
The man would go on to become known as Australia’s worst paedophile priest – and will likely die behind bars.
Ridsdale, now 88, was imprisoned in 1994 for sexual offending against children. He has remained in custody ever since.
In fact, it was only three months ago, in October last year, that he was sentenced again. It marked the seventh time, according to ABC Ballarat.
That case was over the sexual abuse of two boys in western Victoria in the 1980s – Ridsdale’s 70th and 71st victims.
For years to come, the 1993 picture with Ridsdale would haunt Pell, who went on to become Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic as well as financial controller of the Vatican.
He would later describe the decision to accompany his former housemate to court as both a “priestly act of solidarity” and a “mistake”, saying he didn’t realise the impression it would give.
In 2012, almost 20 years later, Pell was forced to revisit the moment when speaking after then-prime minister Julia Gillard announced the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.