Last month it was revealed Catholic church officials were less than honest with police in NSW about the crimes of their carefully protected child sex offender colleagues and friends.
Many would say, so what’s new?
What was new was the release under Freedom of Information of documents requested by David Shoebridge, MLC. These damning documents demonstrate how the Catholic Mafia in the NSW police, a group many of the witnesses before the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry swear do not exist, were helping this coverup in an official capacity.
The non existent mafiosi went so far as to promote the drafting of a document, a Memorandum of Understanding between NSW Police and church officials, which contained a clause stating that the church would, could and should hide crucial evidence from police unless ordered to hand it over by a court.
“Church authorities shall make available the report of an assessment and any other matter relevant to the accused’s account of events only if required to do so by court order.”
Other troublesome clauses effectively give veto over the release of evidence to the police to – can you believe it – the offenders themselves! Or to other parties who commonly experience threats or pressure from church officials not to be honest with police.
Why any police force would draft such clauses undermining our laws and the rights of abused children to access justice simply beggars belief.
But in the hands of the catholic church, with a well documented history of officials taking any such concession and then exploiting it to a ludicrous degree in their efforts to cover up crimes and bury scandal, such a clause is akin to carte blanche for any and all breaches of laws against the cover up of serious crimes.
Surely the NSW public believes and expects that institutions such as the catholic church should obey the laws of NSW, the same as anyone else. Any document of this nature is clearly an attempt to avoid doing just that. Or to give official support to a long standing corrupt practice.
Thankfully someone in the police force stopped this farce before it became a tragedy. The document was never signed. And never came into force.
Not that it could, because it is illegal.
In addition to criminally stupid and horrifyingly immoral.
Such an agreement contravenes Section 316 of the Crimes Act.
Of course, survivors and those who work in this area know that consistent Catholic church practice (though church officials will never admit it is policy) is to breach Section 316 of the Crimes Act in every possible way in cases of child sexual assault and other serious crimes.
That is certainly what happened in my case.
But the NSW police refuse to investigate this additional crime, for which there is clear evidence. And in their 18 months of investigation of the many, many sexual offences against me, they never managed to obtain copies of incriminating documents, whose existence I only learned about afterwards.
So this announcement has added poignancy to me, as it brings me back to the heart-wrenchingly hard task of trying to survive my brutal denial of justice.
It makes me rethink the whole episode.
It was not just a lack of support from senior police for the efforts of my excellent detective. It was not just the absolute obstruction of the police investigation by church officials. It was not just bureaucratic incompetence at pursuing relevant documents. It was not just witnesses and potential whistleblowers intimidated about the personal consequences of revealing the truth. It was not just a lack of cohones from the Director of Public Prosecutions and the truly appalling DPP solicitor ‘managing’ my case. It was not just an ineffective, antiquated, heavily biased and totally inappropriate legal structure for dealing with these cases.
It was all those things.
But it was also corruption.
The mere existence of such an official document is evidence of corruption.
The fact it was never signed is largely irrelevant.
Someone, and the question needs to be asked, who, in the NSW Police force worked on this document with the intention it become policy.
Having read the entire document, there is an approach, a use of language and expressions that lead me to conclude the document was drafted, and I assume initiated, by church officials, not police officials.
That a self serving and corrupt criminal institution should attempt to dictate police policy should raise red flags all over town.
Many of the clauses actually talk about church officials co-operating with legal requirements to report these matters to police and also co-operating with police investigations. Unfortunately church officials do not actually comply with these clauses. I believe them to be window dressing or a distraction from the illegal clause hiding amongst them and now revealed by David Shoebridge.
What is the reaction of church officials to the public exposure of this secret policy document?
Did they abhor the illegality of its purpose and proposed actions?
Did they deny knowledge of such an evil plot?
Did they claim to be “doing so much better these days” ?
No, they admitted they used (and still use?) this clause as a reason and excuse for their own illegal behaviour. As if somehow, by its very existence, it was able to override the law and make their illegal behaviour magically not illegal.
Could they really be stupid enough to see this MoU as a “Get Out of Jail Free Card”?
“But Your Honour the corrupt police officer working under the Cardinal’s/Bishop’s instructions said it was okay to do it that way, so you really can’t blame me, can you?”
There was certainly no mention of why this detail had so far been kept secret from all official inquiries. You know, the official inquiries they fought so hard to prevent, but now claim to support. Is this ongoing secrecy about corrupt practices their idea of how to be open and transparent and co-operate fully?
This matter must be investigated thoroughly by the Royal Commission. This matter by itself should be enough to trigger a Royal Commission, if we did not already have one.
I wonder if NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell is as keen to investigate this evidence as he was to undermine the claims of Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox about NSW police not fully investigating catholic child sexual assault cases?
Somehow I doubt he will announce another NSW Special Commission of Inquiry.
We should also be asking about the existence of similar illegal arrangements in other Australian states, especially those states whose police forces have been most tightly controlled by the catholic mafia.
But the question I really want to ask is why are the media, politicians and the public not more outraged by this blatant corruption of our police force by a wealthy religious institution engaged in widespread criminality?
This is not the sort of thing that should ever happen in the Australia I want to live in or raise my kids in.
This is the sort of real issue we should be basing our electoral decisions on, rather than the manufactured question of who is prepared to act most inhumanely to stop the boats, re-abuse refugees and impress the xenophobes.
Stay safe everyone.
Read the MoU
Sincere thanks must go to NSW MLC David Shoebridge for obtaining and revealing this crucial document, as he has done with so many others.
While the issue of child protection and justice for victims must always remain outside of party politics, David deserves all credit for being one of only a handful of Australian politicians who have truly fought for the rights of abused children. Unlike so many politicians and others who, when the Royal Commission was announced last year, suddenly took undeserved credit for supporting our efforts while forgetting their own many years of obstructing our pleas for justice, David has long put in tremendous effort, and taken much flak, on behalf of victims.