Sexual abuse victim Paul Levey hopes for apology

BROKEN: Sexual abuse victim Paul Levey hopes the Catholic church will apologise for allowing him to live with defrocked priest Gerald Ridsdale.
BROKEN: Sexual abuse victim Paul Levey hopes the Catholic church will apologise for allowing him to live with defrocked priest Gerald Ridsdale.

THE stages of grief have been many and varied for sexual abuse victim Paul Levey.

Now, nearly four decades later, he hopes a law change will allow him to finally get the apology he has been fighting for.

At age 14, Mr Levey was sent to live with Gerard Ridsdale at the Mortlake presbytery.

His Catholic parents put their faith in the priest to care for their son after the breakdown of their marriage.

What ensued for Mr Levey was a living hell in which he was subjected to daily sexual abuse by Ridsdale.

His abuser ensured his victim kept quiet for the eight months he resided with the priest.

“He scared me into not telling,” Mr Levey said.

“He’s an evil man – I’m glad he’s in jail and I’m glad he won’t get out of jail.”

Mr Levey, 50, didn’t tell anyone about his abuse until age 22.

His father heard a report about Ridsdale sexually abusing another young boy.

“My father straight away rang me and asked ‘what happened at Mortlake?’”

“He virtually marched me down to the Sunbury police station.”

But his day in court to face the man stole his innocence and “broke him” didn’t provide the closure he needed.

Mr Levey decided to sue the Catholic church in the early 90s, but at that time taking on a religious organisation was a legal minefield.

He hopes a second attempt to secure a settlement and an acknowledgement of guilt from the Catholic church will be successful.

“I want them to admit their guilt and not hide behind lawyers and technicalities.”

He hopes his search for closure is nearing the end.

But one thing he will forever struggle to comprehend is the knowledge that complaints had been made about Ridsdale before he was sent to live with him.

“That’s the most hurtful thing, they knew who he was,” Mr Levey said.

He believes the Catholic church should be forced to make sweeping changes, including the mandatory reporting of sexual abuse claims made in the confessional.

“Too many people suffered for too long,” Mr Levey said. “No one should have to go through it.”