It will come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to hear Anne Levey has not stepped foot inside a Catholic church for more than two years.
Her son Paul’s tale of being sent to live with notorious paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale in Mortlake in the mid-1970s was among the most harrowing heard across more than two years of testimony.
Despite her best efforts to have her teenage son removed from Ridsdale’s control, disgraced former Bishop Ronald Mulkearns claimed he could not fulfill her wish despite knowing of the priest’s abusive history.
Now living in Albury, Ms Levey said her once devout commitment to the cross had evaporated after hearing countless cases of rampant sexual abuse and systematic cover-ups.
“I was totally devastated when I went to the commission. I thought it was just Ridsdale,” Ms Levey said upon hearing about dozens of paedophile priests throughout the diocese.
“I used to go to church every Sunday but I just couldn’t go down to the church now and look a priest in the face.”
She said Paul's father never took him on outings so when Ridsdale came on the scene, the convicted paedophile was taking him to rallies and the zoo
“I thought it was wonderful,” she said.
“I blame him (Mulkearns) for everything because he’s the one who knew Ridsdale was a paedophile and that just blows me away because he's supposed to be a man in charge.
“They've covered up to keep face for the church but what about our boys?”