Voiceless Victim

A survivor of clergy child sexual abuse speaks out for those who can't speak for themselves

Category Archives: child protection

Who is Looking After the Children? Certainly Not the Catholic Church.

Crack paedophile protection team on the job

Crack paedophile protection team on the job

When a normal human being looks at a child they see a fellow human being. A human being who is tiny, innocent, vulnerable, loveable and full of potential. One who deserves our utmost efforts to protect them from harm.

When a narcissist looks at a child they see an object who is easier than most to manipulate into giving them whatever they want. The child is nothing to them but a tool to use to obtain their desired objective.

When a sociopath looks at a child they see an easy mark, one they can dominate much easier than most adults, and one they can train to bend to their will. The child is nothing to them but a target they can derive pleasure or power from, through subjugating and harming the child.

Those who rape children are usually narcissists, sociopaths, or both.

They look at a child and see an object for sexual release, or someone they can enjoy harming through forcing them to submit to abhorrent sexual acts against their will.

Those who sexually abuse children do so because:

  1. They believe they are entitled to sexually prey upon the vulnerable, and that any child who cannot defend themselves or is not protected by the adults around them is fair game
  2. They believe they can get away with it

Religious institutions both produce and attract so many child rapists because of the existence of four crucial conditions conducive to the sexual exploitation of children. These are highly exaggerated entitlement, imbalance of power, sexual dysfunction and lack of accountability.

The catholic church in particular has a problem with its priests raping children in large numbers, in every country where it has a presence. Though catholic officials, dissociated from both reality and humanity, see the problem as one of the victims selfishly and unfairly reporting the crimes committed against them.

Catholic religious, and priests in particular, are trained to believe they are special, above lay persons or normal human beings, and are entitled to special treatment. Many readily accept the proposition that they are more holy, purely by virtue of their position, and therefore far more deserving than ordinary mortals.

As their entitlement grows, so the relative entitlement of lay persons is diminished, particularly low status lay persons such as women, children, the disadvantaged and the disabled.

In dysfunctional individuals this robs any such people they come across of even the core right to refuse an entitled cleric sexual access to their bodies.

This distorted entitlement is dangerous enough by itself. When matched with the ultimate unquestionable, godlike authority demanded for catholic priests by the catholic hierarchy, it becomes doubly dangerous.

But even a highly entitled individual in a position of overwhelming power over children does not automatically desire to rape them. Normal, healthy human sexual development generally results in adults looking for consensual sexual relations with other adults. But no catholic priest is offered the opportunity for normal healthy human sexual development, unless they come to the priesthood as an already normal adult.

Most of the rapist priests causing recent or current problems were not given a choice in the decision to become a priest, whether by compulsion or extraordinary family pressure. Many were locked away in a dysfunctional, often abusive seminary system, some as as young as 11 or 12, well before they were capable of making a lifetime decision about the priesthood and its requirement for celibacy. Most were deliberately denied the support of their families throughout their formative years to ensure their dependence on the church alone.

They were shut away from female company, and as the Royal Commission hearings revealed in December, the entire teachings on sexuality amounted in many cases to “Don’t”.

Many were brutalised, bullied, manipulated and abused, including sexually. Some seminaries operated in such a way that new recruits were simply pounced upon by sexual predators the minute the door shut behind them.

Is it any wonder then that research reveals the majority of priests are psychosexually immature, and a large proportion are sexually dysfunctional?

But even this does not make them child rapists.

Even if these entitled, powerful, sexually dysfunctional individuals existed in an otherwise just or humane environment, child rape would not flourish to reach the epidemic proportions seen in the catholic church.

Unfortunately the catholic church supports and protects the rapists and punishes and undermines their victims. This happens on such a scale that the rapists know without a doubt that the church will ensure they not only get away with their crimes, but are also helped to continue them.

In fact many come to believe they are not just entitled to rape whomever they please, but also entitled to escape responsibility for their crimes.

The catholic church, like the rapists themselves, views children with the eyes of a narcissist.

Children are not considered precious or valuable by the catholic church. They are not vulnerable or deserving of protection. To the callous hierarchs they are either unimportant, beneath notice, sexual prey or collateral damage.

Of course church officials know they need to make occasional deceptive statements about loving and valuing children, if they are not to lose most of their flock. But if children were truly valued in any way, the way human beings value children, the church would surely have acted to protect these innocents from the very real and very well known and understood danger of being raped by entitled clerics.

Much more precious to the narcissist church is la bella figura or pleasing façade. This façade is crucial to the hierarchy’s continued ability to operate profitable tax free commercial enterprises, receive generous government funding, and dictate government policy around the world.

For centuries the catholic hierarchy have been able to behave like criminals and be honoured as saints. This is achieved by maintaining a fanatical obsession with supporting the lie that the church does good works and all priests and religious are holy.

Properly protecting children from rape by priests necessarily involves admitting that priests rape children. Admitting that priests rape children is a far worse outcome in the opinion of the catholic hierarchy than even hundreds of thousands of children being raped.

But why?

Because the catholic system of brainwashing from childhood, controlling throughout their lifetime, and profiting from the billions of lay catholics could not continue without the widely held belief in the holiness and superiority of the poorly paid, often severely dysfunctional priests who shore up the hierarchy’s lives of power and luxury.

This fantasy of specialness, otherworldliness, sacrifice and nobility is supported by the fallacy of clerical celibacy.

Universal mandatory celibacy is unique to the catholic church. It plays an important role in the incidence of child rape in this institution, though it is not a “cause” of child rape.

The cause of child rape is the belief that it is acceptable to rape children, a positive assessment of the relative risk of such behavior, and the decision to act accordingly.

Celibacy in the catholic church is not widely observed. Experts estimate as many as 50% of clerics are not celibate at any time. The number who have never broken their vow of celibacy must indeed be small.

Whether or not a priest is celibate is, frankly, a private matter. But the catholic church has chosen to deceitfully promote their clerics as non sexual, and therefore not just holy but unquestionably safe around children.

Because of this public appearance of celibacy, any sexual liaison by a priest is, at least within the catholic church, illicit, and must remain hidden from general view.

A secret homosexual affair is normal and hardly frowned upon, especially if kept in house, for example with another priest.

Preying upon barely adult vulnerable girls who can be manipulated to blame themselves for the liaison, and can be controlled and exploited for sex without scandal, often for decades, is also common. It is also rape, by the way.

Child rape is common amongst the more disturbed and sexually predatory because children are unlikely to speak out for decades, and even if they do, are unlikely to be believed. Children, because of their size and development, can be easier to dominate and control than fully grown adults, who may be able to resist physically or have an adult understanding of their rights. Children are also easier to frighten into silence and to convince to blame themselves for the priests’ crimes.

Not only are the child rapists more dysfunctional than those raping adults of either sex, they also tend to be more prolific. Adult-oriented predators may be satisfied with a single sexual partner for decades and may amass at most a handful of victims over a lifetime of abuse.

Child rapists by comparison tend much more to have multiple concurrent victims, such as my abuser. The worst cases can get their hands on thousands of primary victims, and destroy many entire communities. Some child rapists are not obsessed with a particular type of victim but rather the power over another. These predators will rape boys, girls and occasionally adults of either sex as well, depending upon opportunity.

Imagine the number of opportunities for being caught, either in the act or at least acting inappropriately, such as having a child overnight in their bedroom, that prolific predators present. How many lay catholics or other religious see things that should result in action to save a child from such a terrible fate, but do nothing?

How many bishops receive reports of such activities or complaints from victims or their families and do absolutely nothing?

The sexual predators see this, and they learn very quickly, that in the catholic church, almost no-one puts the safety of an unimportant child, or even thousands of children, above the reputation of a priest and the church itself. Certainly no-one in a position of power. Anyone in a position of power who tried to protect children rather than the church would not be in power for long.

And so child rape is considered by many priests a soft and relatively low risk option for their illicit sex. The church hierarchy’s lack of an effective response to these crimes solidifies the view that is it acceptable to rape children as long as scandal is avoided.

Interestingly, it is not the rape of thousands of innocent children that will bring to life the catholic church’s considerable ability to control and punish its priests, but something few outside the church would see as harmful.

Normal consensual relations with an adult woman is perhaps the most illicit sex of all for catholic priests. The most frowned upon by the catholic hierarchy.

Marry a woman you love and who loves you, and you will be thrown out of the church immediately in disgrace.

Rape thousands of children, ruin countless lives, including family members of the victims, and cause scores of suicide deaths, and you’ll probably be promoted and honoured as especially holy in life and in death.

You will certainly be forgiven, offered every possible assistance, and protected from publicity and law enforcement throughout your life.

This misuse of the concept of forgiveness by the catholic church is also crucial in exposing more children to rape by priests.

The catholic church, because of the strong desire to coverup these crimes to maintain la bella figura, defines them as mistakes, missteps, slips and unfortunate occurrences.

It readily forgives the rapist and tries to rob the victims of their right to decide whether to forgive, or even to complain. It bullies the families of victims to stay silent, pressuring them that it is unchristian to deny forgiveness, regardless of the fact the criminal has neither admitted his past offences or even stopped offending.

In recent years many documents have come to light revealing a long history of predilection for this appalling crime, detailed knowledge of its seriousness, and edicts outlawing it and recommending the most stringent possible punishments. Such efforts have either been temporary, ineffective or insincere as the problem has continued throughout church history.

Today’s church has turned its back on such attempts and chosen to allow, even positively enable, the rape of children.

More recent documents show an obsession with enforcing secrecy about these crimes, a declaration that something as inoffensive, some would say positive, as the ordination of women should be considered a crime of equal seriousness with child rape, plus official instructions to bishops not to co-operate with local law enforcement in these matters, and to punish victims for speaking out far more stringently than the offender is punished for raping children.

Faced finally with some of the truth of these crimes reaching the public, and no longer able to get away with the traditional approach of point blank denial, the church hierarchy now engage in a PR war to further harm victims and ensure child protection remains inadequate or non existent.

These particularly callous efforts meld insincere apologies, avoidance of responsibility, deflection of blame, focus on the church and its officials as victims not perpetrators, with vague promises that never result in any meaningful change, action or increase in child protection.

When under particular media pressure, church hierarchs will announce the formation of a review body, committee, council, or resource group, or commission research or issue guidelines.

Experience has shown these efforts are cynical, meaningless and possibly dangerous. Mendacious claims include: “we know much better now”; “things have changed”; “we are doing everything possible now”; “the church is the safest place for children”;  “we followed the advice of lawyers/psychologists”; or “we were no worse than society in general”.

Independent inquiries such as in Ireland and Philadelphia have revealed in detail that such claims are baseless, and not just the law but even their own woefully inadequate guidelines are today still not followed.

Many independent experts have resigned in disgust over bishops’ efforts to exert dictatorial control over and effectively hobble the operation of supposedly independent review bodies or research organisations, including members of the National and local Review Boards set up by the US Bishops’ Conference, and the German equivalent of the widely criticized John Jay Study.

German Bishops commissioned “independent research” yet expected to be able to manipulate the research and rewrite the report so that the results reflected their propaganda objectives, rather than the outcome of data analysis. The researchers resigned the commission last year, after first ensuring all other German researchers were aware of the deceitful tactics of the bishops and would not be similarly misled.

German Bishops pumped out industrial quantities of misinformation, refused to accept responsibility for their own actions, and falsely blamed others: the usual strategy when in danger of being seen for what they truly are.

The hierarchy of the catholic church demands respect for religious practices, tax breaks and unquestioned authority and trust when it suits them. But they also claim diplomatic immunity and other benefits as a nation state, even in instances when they are functioning as the headquarters of the criminal catholic church.

The Vatican is rapidly filling with fugitives from local law enforcement eager to benefit from claimed diplomatic immunity or the lack of extradition treaties with the country or countries where their crimes were committed. Many of these fugitives are under investigation for or already proven guilty of child rape or enabling and covering up child rape.

Yet the Vatican arrogantly informs the UN that as there are few children within its tiny borders (apart of course from child prostitutes temporarily shipped in to service the various lusts of these self declared celibates), therefore there are few child protection issues for the Vatican to address.

Thankfully, at the review of the Holy See’s compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 16 January in Geneva, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, whose purpose is to stand up for children’s rights everywhere, gave zero credence to Vatican attempts to yet again avoid responsibility for its steadfast refusal to protect the countless children deliberately and knowingly exposed to its rapists throughout the world.

The fact that this is a consistent worldwide problem is a result of the consistent worldwide practice of this church, as dictated from the Vatican.

As first world countries become more aware of the problem, instead of shuffling child rapists between parishes or states, the trend is now more frequently to shuffle the criminals between countries, and especially to developing nations, where victims are less likely to be heard or believed.

In every possible way, the culture, structure and operation of the catholic church supports and enables the widespread and systemic rape of children.

Based on which actions by priests and bishops they support and promote, and which they punish and discourage, the conclusion is inevitable that the catholic church hierarchy, based in Vatican city or as they prefer to be known when pretending to be a nation state member of the UN, The Holy See, have no desire or intention to put child protection first. They did not in the past, they do not now and there is no sign of any genuine intention to do so in the future.

Thankfully the UN have put the Vatican on notice that they must make real changes, not just perform another PR display of the appearance of change.

Or risk losing the protection of la bella figura.

Without la bella figura, the whole extremely profitable edifice will come crashing down.

Perhaps the Church of Child Rape and the Paedophile Protector-in-Chief will finally take this issue seriously.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

Victims Heard at Last

Statement issued by survivors of Catholic child sexual abuse, their families and supporters on the first day of Royal Commission hearings into the catholic Church’s response to child sexual abuse:

The children of Australia have long been denied our basic human right to safety.

In order to protect the reputation and assets of wealthy institutions and those who control them, we have been knowingly exposed to terrible danger.  We have suffered unbearable pain, and many of us have not survived.

When we begged for help or for justice our voices were ignored.

Those in a position to help us left those responsible for inflicting this harm to “deal with” the crimes committed aginst us.

In doing so they neglected their duty of care to us and to tens of thousands of children of this country over a long period of time.

But now, thanks to the bravery of survivors, insiders in various organisations and the media, speaking out about this issue when no-one wanted to listen, we are here, at last, to witness the truth being told by a few heroic individuals.

As you listen to their experiences, we hope you will gain a greater understanding of the real impact of these crimes, and we ask you to remember also all the others, heard and unheard, who have been through similar pain.

Our stories are hard to hear, but they are even harder to live, and immensely difficult to tell.

We tell them so that future children will not be callously exposed to danger, as we were.

We ask you to open your hearts and your minds to the suffering of so many Australian children, and in doing so secure the right to safety for future generations of children.

We ask that those responsible be held responsible. We ask that those accountable be held to account.

We ask for laws that protect children rather than predators, and we ask that they be enforced uniformly, that no person or institution be considered above the law.

We ask that all children be offered the same protection, no matter where they live, who their parents are, or what they believe.

We ask you not to be swayed by comforting but meaningless promises of change by institutions proven to continually lie about this issue.

We call on all State and Federal Governments to express support for and move towards implementing the recommendations of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry. We ask that this become the bedrock of child protection and justice for survivors in Australia, a solid foundation upon which the Royal Commission, with its more extensive investigations and recommendations, can build.

But most of all, we who know first hand what it is to be abused, abandoned and to live in constant fear, beg the Royal Commission, the media, our politicians, and the public to remember this is not about point scoring, or reputations, or power. It is most definitely not about religion. Or politics.

This is about living in a safe and just society.

This is about protecting children.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

Will the Royal Commission Use Its Teeth?

There have been a number of times when evidence before the Royal Commission’s public hearings has been conflicting. Confusing. Dodgy even.

But this week’s questioning of YMCA managers has uncovered what only the most naïve would consider to be anything other than direct and deliberate lies to the Commission.

Witnesses flatly contradicted the evidence of other witnesses, or of documents. One witness contradicted her own earlier sworn evidence taken in a private hearing. But in response to attempts to straighten out these inconsistencies and about-faces, they give the same, carefully rehearsed, defensively unco-operative evasive non answers.

Senior Counsel Assisting Gail Furness SC and Commissioner Justice Peter McClellan made it perfectly clear when they were frustrated by witnesses’ pretense of not understanding in order to avoid answering difficult questions. And they simply did not accept nonsensical assertions about how well this matter was handled in the face of clear evidence to the contrary.

The carefully polite questioning occasionally slipped with these witnesses. Justice McClellan in particular showed his quiet anger when anyone arrogantly flaunted their contempt for both the powers of the Commission and the intelligence of those questioning them.

Some of these managers were emotionally shut down and avoidant, with their coldly defensive and self-righteous manner. They brushed aside, both verbally and with their body language, any suggestion they could have done anything in any way wrong.

Wrong things happened, certainly, but despite being in positions of responsibility, little or no responsibility – personally, as a management group, or as an institution – was admitted or accepted.

This attitude was maintained even when managers were questioned directly about their own or others’ lack of adherence to YMCA policies, lack of proper conduct of reference checks, lack of adequate supervision and training, and employees unable to report upwards their concerns about worrying behavior of a colleague.

The more junior YMCA staff witnesses last week were clearly distressed that they did not do more to follow up on feelings of something not right about Jonathan Lord’s interaction with the YMCA’s clients. They understood how they could have acted differently, how the situation could have been managed differently, and that as a result, children may have been saved from suffering. Not so the middle and senior managers, despite their far greater responsibility and ability to take effective action.

Those who have most to answer for in allowing Jonathan Lord unquestioned access to his favourite prey, not only deny there was a management problem, or any responsibility for the problem, but support and even promote each other.

Despite claims from YMCA about how seriously they take the issue of child protection, those responsible for what the Commission and an expert described as a clear failure of management have not analysed any problems with the management of their centres or sought to learn from those failures, and have not been put through intensive external training in management and child protection, but have instead been rewarded with even more senior, influential, strategic and no doubt financially lucrative positions.

Some of these managers have demonstrated such a dedication to protect certain individuals and the institution from the truth and from facing responsibility, such a lack of consideration for victims and neglect of the safety of children, that they could be considered ideally qualified to become Catholic bishops. Except, of course, some are in possession of the wrong set of genitalia.

This forensic examination of these managers’ actions shines a light on individuals who, like most catholic officials, are callous, defensive and self serving in their response to these horrific crimes. We can observe, even if we can’t understand, how they shut down their humanity, shut down any consideration of the innocent child victims and their shocked families, and of anything other than protecting themselves and their institution.

The question that must be asked of the Commissioners is, will there be any consequences for those who lie to the Commission?

Certainly many of the misleading or incorrect assertions made under oath were subjected to a detailed re-examination armed with sharp logic and strong evidence to the contrary, and most eventually resulted in a more truthful admission. But in some cases the witness simply refused to accept the truth.

If such behavior is rewarded by having no consequences, as long as a witness is able to maintain their fiction and refuse to admit to the truth, how will the Commission cope with all the complicit catholic religious and bishops, who have been given official Vatican encouragement to lie through their teeth via the policy of mental reservation, and have sworn an oath to protect the reputation of the catholic church, no matter what?

Especially dangerous are bishops and cardinals, who are expressly required, encouraged and rewarded for putting their loyalty to the church hierarchy in Rome and the pope in particular, above the law of the land. These princes of the church consider themselves to be doing the right thing, and even acting heroically, by thwarting the efforts of local law enforcement and other legal and judicial authorities.

Will the deceit of “I can’t recall”, “I don’t remember”, “to the best of my recollection”, “I was not aware at the time” and others be allowed to block access to the truth?

Or will witnesses be required to actually provide answers, rather than a confection of carefully rehearsed excuses, and legally directed evasive strategies?

November and December promise to be exceedingly interesting months.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

Sexually Abused Kids Don’t Have to Suffer All Their Lives and They Certainly Don’t Have to Die

Evidence about the Jonathan Lord YMCA case continues at Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. A number of brave, strong, articulate mothers spoke about discovering their small boys had been abused by Jonathan Lord. Each one is the kind of mother, the kind of Australian, that makes this country great.

If most mothers were more like them, we would never have needed this Royal Commission, because the coverup, the secrecy, the willingness to sacrifice children to protect reputations, and the lax attitudes towards child safety, including jokes but no action about “kiddie fiddlers”, would never have taken hold in our culture.

I spoke privately to one of these inspirational mothers yesterday at the hearings. She talked of a generational change in parenting attitudes. I agree. My mother’s generation were all too willing not to question authority, especially religious authority, not to believe their children’s disclosures, or even the evidence of their own eyes.

Revered, powerful males were unquestionable. Religious of both sexes were untouchable. Children had no rights whatsoever.

Today, not so much.

As a mother of two boys of a similar age to Jonathan Lord’s victims, if I had the slightest suspicion, the tiniest inkling of anything or anyone harming my child, nothing, and I do mean nothing, would stop me from doing whatever it took to protect them. Or to help them recover.

But it’s not enough to rely on that change in attitudes. We need effective and comprehensive systems to ensure our children’s safety.

The courageous witness noted that just because the YMCA does a much better job with child safety than the Catholic Church, does not mean that what the YMCA does is good enough.

Which is why the Royal Commission’s investigation into these issues is desperately needed.

More issues continue to emerge about systemic problems that let our children down and leave them vulnerable to sexual exploitation by determined criminals.

As the numbers of boys disclosing grew, police, DoCS and the YMCA started to treat the later revelations of additional victims and additional offences as less relevant or even annoying.

What these organisations seem to forget is, even if the organisations are not as interested in subsequent information, once several victims had already come forward, to those directly involved as victims or parents of victims, this is the most devastating, critical, traumatic and vitally important element of their lives.

And that these victims and families all deserve the very best of support to help them through such a difficult time and to improve the long term prospects for all involved, particularly the innocent kids.

For example, once the police had enough evidence to proceed to arrest on the basis of a number of victims and a number of crimes, officers weren’t particularly interested to have to stop their other work to interview new victims. But every single victim deserves to have their story heard and to have the offender held responsible specifically for the crimes against them.

This is a common problem, with most of Australia’s prolific repeat offenders only ever brought to trial for a fraction of their victims and a minute fraction of their actual offending. This is one of many reasons for completely inappropriate sentencing decisions for these crimes in Australia. And is even more worrying in light of the fact that less than 1% of child sexual abuse cases even make it as far as  conviction.

Families were also kept in the dark by many organisations, especially the YMCA, about what was going on, severely impacting their ability to properly support the child victims, which should have been the top priority.

Initially, parents were told Jonathan Lord was simply on annual leave, or not told who was the subject of the police investigation, removing parents’ ability to ascertain whether their child was affected by these crimes and thus offer support as soon as possible.

This is appalling.

Even worse, Jonathan Lord, after being arrested then released on bail, kept offending.

The secrecy must have been a factor in allowing this to happen. If the community was informed, parents would have been able to protect their children from serious further harm. This is also not a unique occurrence. Child sex offenders, often well respected and prominent members of the community, are frequently released on bail, despite being a significant flight risk and a significant danger to the community. In so many ways, the reputations and privacy of child sex criminals throughout Australia are vigorously protected at the cost of undermining child safety and inflicting additional suffering on victims.

Hopefully the revelations resulting from this Royal Commission will remind the Commissioners, our politicians, individuals and institutions that every extra offence carves additional severe trauma into a child’s broken heart, even if the child has lost count because of the already large number of sexual assaults they have suffered.

We all need reminding that the constant terror of facing an unending future of additional assaults for years on end irreparably damages a child’s psychological development. And the knowledge that no-one will act to stop the offending, especially if adults are known to be aware of what is going on, exponentially increases this harm.

We all need reminding that every additional victim is a precious life possibly destroyed, another family ripped apart by tragedy, perhaps irrevocably.

The good news is many of Jonathan Lord’s victims have wonderfully supportive parents doing everything possible to help them recover, and for some, their prognosis is hopeful. They have a good chance of reaching their potential, and enjoying a normal life free from the dark shadow of ongoing trauma.

The reason they will likely do so much better than many other victims of child sexual abuse is because they were able to see firm action taken by powerful adults to rescue them from their attacker and hold him accountable for his crimes. And because they are receiving early and, hopefully, ongoing counseling assistance as needed. They will certainly all need watching for the next few decades (not just till the age of 18) to identify if long term impacts of their abuse emerge and to ensure they receive appropriate and timely support.

This encouraging outcome illustrates that sexually abused kids do not have to suffer terribly throughout their lives and die early, unable to stand the pain of living.

This is not an outcome that has ever been an option, and is still not an option, for victims of Catholic clergy sexual predators.

Personally I look forward to the day the Royal Commission understands that not only does the Catholic Church enable and coverup the widespread and systemic sexual abuse of children, not only does it severely re-abuse sexually abused children through a cruelly self serving response to these crimes, but that this dysfunctional institution and the sociopaths who run it are also directly responsible for the tragic deaths of far too many of our doubly abused kids.

And I look forward to the day the Royal Commission recommends the Australian Government takes appropriate action for the first time in history.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

AO is a hero and his mum AN is a hero too

Today the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard from the amazing mother of a child victim of the child sex offender, Jonathan Lord.

AN was the first witness in Case Study 2, which started today, into Lord and the YMCA, which employed, and then promoted him.

In measured tones, though occasionally struggling with her emotions, AN told of the experiences she and her son AO went through as a result of AO being targeted by Jonathan Lord.

But like so many of those put through this nightmare by powerful and well protected criminals, the trauma did not end with the arrest of Jonathan Lord.

AN clearly, intelligently and compassionately identified serious problems with how police dealt with these matters, serious problems with the law including the law of particularity which effectively denies victims access to justice, problems with inadequate or inappropriate support for victims and their families, especially in terms of access to counseling, and the lack of proper and compassionate communication with victims and their families.

She fought back tears as she read her statement. I bawled as I watched from home over the live feed. I wish I could have congratulated her in person but would have found being in the room and hearing her evidence very hard.

She also told how the Principal of her Catholic school was able to be supportive to her sexually abused child. I note that this is possible because in this case the Catholic Church was not responsible for enabling and protecting the offender.

Many other Catholic school principals will have some very hard questions to answer from the Royal Commission about their own, very different, actions.

But despite briefing everyone she could at the school about the support her child needed, the teachers ignored this and shut her child down when he, inevitably, disclosed about his abuse. This was not done as brutally as they usually silence the victims of Catholic religious, but still this response was completely inappropriate and likely to be damaging to AO, and hinder his recovery.

Luckily AO has AN to keep an eye on his progress and to speak up for him and demand changes when other adults demonstrate how poorly qualified or suited they are to hold positions of responsibility over children.

AN was strong, determined, angry where appropriate, took immediate and responsible action, sought professional help when needed, and communicated AO’s needs to the adults around him. Through all this, despite dealing with serious trauma of her own as a result of AO’s father’s suicide at this time, AN kept her focus firmly on AO’s needs.

How wonderful, and how unfortunately rare in such situations, to see an adult mature enough to put the child’s needs first.

I note here by comparison the horrifying detail that Jonathan Lord was promoted in gaining access to children by the efforts of his mother Jill Yankos, who was quite pushy in approaching and recommending young, vulnerable mothers use her paedophile son as a babysitter. Based on the evidence so far, it is impossible to judge whether this mother knew of her son’s criminal activities, but experience would suggest that we cannot just assume she did not.

I will end with a quote from the brave victim AO, who is still in primary school.

“My mum is a hero because she listened to me.”

How I wish my own mother had been even a little like AN. How different my life would have been.

AO has every chance to recover fully from his abuse thanks to his mum AN.

Vote 1 AN for Australian Mother of the Year.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

A Tale of Three Inquiries – Part 2 The National Royal Commission

Many hopes are pinned on the National Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to fill the massive gaps left by the narrow terms of reference of the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry, and the inadequate time and powers of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry.

This is the comprehensive national inquiry which will scoop up the evidence from the smaller inquiries, and we hope, consolidate and then finish the job.  We hope the Royal Commission will do the job thoroughly.  We hope the Royal Commission will create an effective national framework to hold those guilty of child sex crimes accountable, and deliver recommendations, which it will be up to State and National Governments to implement, to properly protect all of Australia’s children.

There are many who hope to prevent the truth coming out. Many reputations will be justifiably shredded. Many, particularly religious officials, and not just from the catholic church, should be in jail. They have a lot to lose and they will stop at nothing to thwart the efforts of this Royal Commission, despite fallacious statements of an intention to co-operate. It is up to all of us who have had direct experience relevant to this Commission, not just survivors, and are able to speak to the Commission either privately or publicly, to ensure it does not fail for lack of evidence. Both for our own sakes so we are no longer comprehensively and deliberately denied justice and healing, and also for those equally innocent children who come after us, who also do not deserve to suffer as we did and do.

I personally hope the Royal Commission will not stop till it gets to the true reasons why so many adults protect predators and sacrifice children. Why so many undermine our laws, our justice system, and the truth in order to defend the reputations of dangerous criminals, while sentencing thousands of their innocent victims to life, or death, sentences.

We cannot just dismiss this issue as the dark side of human nature, cannot ascribe all blame to the evil monsters who deliberately inflict such horrific crimes on the most vulnerable in society. The buck doesn’t even stop with the equally evil monsters who knowingly enable these crimes, knowingly thwart our laws and knowingly endanger large numbers of children.

These crimes, and so much suffering, could have been prevented if those who turned away and let it happen, who did not speak up, who did not challenge the bullies, who did not put the protection of children before what is expedient for their careers and their social standing, had instead reached inside and found their courage, and had defended the truth, instead of going along with what they knew or suspected were lies.

Organisations which put their own interests before the human rights of those whose lives they impact, and those responsible for implementing, scrutinising or policing their policies and processes, are also very much to blame for so much of the suffering we will hear about over the next few years.

I sincerely hope the Royal Commission finally understands that institutions where children are in the power of adults will inevitably attract those seeking to exploit that power. That we cannot trust anyone to be in unquestioned and unscrutinised authority over children or other vulnerable populations. We must not give anyone the “benefit of the doubt”. We must not enforce the “rights” of powerful adults while denying even the most basic human rights to defenceless children.

I hope the Commissioners will understand how corruption, criminality, undue influence, threats, mismanagement, self interest, political and departmental incompetence, inexperience, laziness and cowardice all betray children, even under well intentioned systems.  And at the other end of the spectrum, I hope they gain insight into how badly children fare under an overtly abusive system, such as those seen in many religious residential institutions, with up to 2,000 years experience of rewarding criminality, abuse of power and corruption, and treating the safety of children as unworthy even of consideration.

This week the Royal Commission began its first public hearing in front of all six Commissioners in its specially built hearing room in one of the most expensive office buildings in the Sydney CBD (or Australia for that matter).

The Commissioners would no doubt argue that their tough job extracting the truth from some very hardened and slippery criminals requires the overt appearance of power and authority. And for many religious criminals money certainly equals power.

However I am sure that most survivors would far prefer the millions spent on this location to have instead been channelled into appropriate and effective (not politically directed) ongoing support for survivors.

This first week is one of a number of case studies, looking at a specific case and touching on a number of organisations and issues. In the crosshairs this week was convicted sex offender Steve Larkins, and his time at Scouts Australia and Hunter Aboriginal Childrens’ Services.

The coverage of those organisations and issues was not comprehensive, and has already opened many new avenues of inquiry, and identified much additional evidence required by the Royal Commission. I hope the Commissioners were as horrified as I was to learn that Larkins had also been given unrestricted access to extremely vulnerable children at the notorious Kendall Grange, run by the paedophile Catholic order St John of God.

Before anyone complains that I cannot describe St John of God as a paedophile order, it is worth remembering a psychologist who worked with the order’s hundreds of child abuse victims  for many years concluded 75% of the order were the subject of child sex abuse allegations. What else do you call such a group? And why have the police and indeed the Royal Commission not made St John of God a number 1 priority for investigation? What sort of society do we live in when such a statistic can be made public knowledge, and no-one in a position of authority is disgusted that this paedophile order is still receiving generous tax breaks, still demands religious reverence and unquestioned authority, and is still making profits from the provision mental health and other services, and yet nothing is done about their many, many crimes, about their not being fit persons to hold the positions they do, and the danger they represent?

In addition to the standard collection of detailed evidence, it was a delight to see Counsel Assisting, Gayle Furness, and Commissioner Justice Peter McClellan ask deadpan and fairly obvious questions of those whose actions or lack of action created the perfect conditions where a dangerous child sex predator could continue to offend and which exposed an unknown number of innocent children to a lifetime of undeserved suffering.

Because so much of the reason why this problem has grown to the extent of a culture of child rape in Australia, is the habit of responsible adults to ignore, dismiss or turn their backs on this issue. To not take these crimes seriously, to not treat them with an appropriate sense of urgency, to not ensure they are addressed and do not fall through the cracks, to not properly investigate any suspicions, to rely on assumptions rather than evidence, and to not care about how damaging these crimes are and how much danger these offenders represent to children.

This week’s evidence showed that in the Hunter/Newcastle/Port Stephens region no-one questioned whether their actions or attitudes were appropriate or adequate responses to these crimes. Most just went along with the general neglect and general cover-up.

This week’s evidence revealed many didn’t act themselves because they relied on the erroneous assumption that the fatally flawed court and child protection systems were actually doing the job they were supposed to do.

This week’s evidence also revealed the tragically common occurrence where the police, courts and child protection did not function as they should. Where they protected offenders, not their victims.

Adults who were in a position to take action that may have protected children in danger, or who could have stopped Larkins from being given continued access to children, decided it was not necessary, often because of the involvement of the police or because a matter had gone to court, or because a background check should have been done. The frequent assumption that if there was something to be concerned about, appropriate action would have been taken, was shown by this week’s evidence to have been a big factor in continuing to expose children to danger.

Statistics from Victoria, analysed by Judy Courtin, lawyer, researcher and PhD candidate, show just how wrong this assumption is in relation to the police and courts. The end result of the combined efforts of Victorian police and courts is that less than 1% of child sex assaults ever result in a conviction. Even less ever result in the only truly effective child protection measure, removing the offender from access to children via incarceration.

From now on, because of this historic Royal Commission, these assumptions will be challenged and the hard, normally unspoken questions will be asked.

It was very emotional to be one of the only survivors in a room full of corporate, government and police witnesses and lawyers, hearing Gayle Furness ask the very questions we have wanted asked all these years, and watch her wait patiently for an acceptable answer.  An answer that never comes.

It brought slow, sad tears to my eyes to hear how every single witness, even to some extent the brave whistleblower, who in the end left the matter in the untrustworthy hands of his superiors and the police, let down all the vulnerable children to whom the predator Larkins had access. How much suffering around the country has been experienced by all the kids similarly betrayed, over the last 100 years in Australia?

Larkins is not the only predator attracted to Scouts Australia, though he was the focus this week. There are some very smelly old skeletons in the Scouting closets, but a policy from 2000 was presented to the Commission which looked to be an attempt to do the right thing. Such an approach is of course eminently sensible for any well managed modern organisation which does not believe it has a god given right to commit as many crimes as it likes without facing any legal or civil consequences or outside scrutiny.

The Scouts child abuse policy published in 2000 is based on three very simple yet effective points.

1. Immediate suspension for anyone about whom there is a child abuse allegation

2. Provision of counselling for all victims and other affected persons (no limits on counselling, and choice of own counsellor)

3. Report to relevant outside body, either police or child protection authorities or preferably both

Clear. Simple. Measurable. Action.

Not complicated. Not difficult. Not impossible. Not hard to identify the best thing to do.

The Royal Commission’s deliberations will determine whether this is a policy on paper only, a façade to reassure stakeholders and supporters, and whether it was or is in fact implemented.

But even if it is just another smokescreen, it is worth comparing these excellent points to the disgraceful Towards Healing and Melbourne Response operated by the Catholic Church in Australia. Or rather by the Catholic Church’s insurers.

Amazingly, despite arrogantly claiming to set world best practice in dealing with child sexual abuse, and deceitfully crowing that their churches are the safest place for children, the Catholic Church chooses not to attempt to do any of the above three simple and effective actions, but instead the complete opposite.

Church leaders don’t even pretend to undertake these three crucial steps. Because their compliance, or rather lack of compliance, with such clear requirements could be easily measured.

And if compliance can be easily measured, someone might expect church officials to actually do what they claim to do, and not just use such claims to sweep aside questions or criticisms.

And no senior church official has demonstrated any intention of doing anything like the three actions in the Scouts policy.

Because that would protect children rather than child sex predators.

Because that would help victims to recover and to be able to speak out about their abuse.

And because that would take these matters out of the hands of church officials, and knowledge about the nature and scale of the widespread criminality inside the catholic church could become public knowledge.

The Royal Commission could take this excellent starting point further in their recommendations. Organisations where abuse has occurred should be required to immediately and without question report any and all knowledge of such incidents. With stringent penalties, including jail time, for non compliance, slow compliance, or warning predators.

A national statutory authority could receive such reports, collect and hold information, with reference to the privacy of victims, and pass matters onto police, child protection or other bodies as appropriate. The statutory body would ensure victims receive counselling and any other support services, paid for by the abusive organisation but never supplied by anyone associated with the organisation. This body would also decide whether immediate employment suspension was warranted, and ensure an investigation takes place. After an appropriate investigation the offender would be charged by police, have a working with children notification, be restricted from access to children, or have their employment reinstated and their reputation cleared.

A single, national statutory body dealing with all reports would easily be able to provide accurate statistics to governments and researchers to measure the success of child protection measures, to inform future policy and legislation, and to track the lifetime offending record of predators attempting to move from state to state or organisation to organisation to avoid detection.

Naturally such an authority would need to be subject to regular independent audits.

It is not that hard to work out how to protect children instead of child sex offenders. The hard part is proving to Australia’s politicians that there really is no viable option but to put the safety of children first.

That is why the evidence submitted to the Royal Commission is so important.

Because even just the first week of evidence before the Royal Commission has shown clearly that children exposed to child sexual offenders in Australia do not just fall through the cracks. The whole system is one huge gaping chasm, with almost nothing to hold onto, and nothing to catch or support us before or after we fall into their clutches.

It is not a well intentioned system that is somehow failing to do its job. The system has been taken over by the predators themselves, such as Steve Larkins running Hunter Aboriginal Children’s Services, doing a Working With Children check on himself, and keeping his staff and even his Board in the dark and too intimidated to ask questions. The system is being steered by those, such as the church officials who developed Towards Healing, who have a vested interest in coverup, denial of healing and obstructing justice. The system is helped by those, who are themselves child sex predators, or who have been bribed, threatened or corrupted by cunning predators, and have worked themselves into strategic positions in the police force, the courts, the education system, mental health, charities and child protection. And from these positions they ensure reports go nowhere, nothing is followed up, evidence is lost or misplaced, procedures are not followed, policies are watered down, and their colleagues are encouraged not to take any breaches seriously.

The current system is actually working perfectly. Because the system is designed to fail children and to sacrifice child safety.

We do not need the Royal Commission to tinker around the edges of this most dysfunctional system.

We need a new system. One the predators and those who enable and coverup for them cannot subvert, cannot divert, and cannot use to harm rather than help Australia’s children.

Stay safe everyone.

V V

The next public hearing of the Royal Commission, into the YMCA and their response to the predator Jonathan Lord, is scheduled for 10.00 am Mon 21 Oct at Hearing Room 1, Level 17, Governor Macquarie Tower, 1 Farrer Place, Sydney

Fasten your seat belts, its going to get bumpy

Motivational of Bette Davis

Margo Channing, played by Bette Davis, snarled this famous line before a party brimming with hidden undercurrents, lies, and deception, in the 1950 film, All About Eve.

We are in for a bumpy few years. It’s going to get bumpier come September, when the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry and NSW Special Commission of Inquiry are scheduled to release their reports, and the Royal Commission begins public hearings.

But as we have seen recently, along with the dips come the jumps and lifts as well.

Our spirits were raised by seeing, first Archbishop Denis Hart, then Cardinal George Pell, appear before the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry. They should have been questioned harder, for longer, and about many more issues, but nonetheless it was both exciting and encouraging to see them held accountable in some way for the very first time. It was even better watching the faces of the Committee members asking the questions. How uplifting to see people in positions of authority, not dismissing us, not caving in to pressure from Church officials to bury the truth, but instead standing up for the rights of children not to be raped, and wearing expressions of disgust for the pathetic excuses and deplorable behaviour of these self important princes of the church.

It was also hard to watch, as all such episodes are, as it brings home to us just how badly we have been neglected and abandoned by those who should have asked these questions and done something to stop these crimes decades ago. Because if they had, imagine how much suffering and how many lives could have been saved.

Another bumpy ride is offered by the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry. Sitting in the public gallery of the Newcastle courtroom it is hard not to wonder why so much of the inquiry’s time and effort are focussed on discrediting brave whistleblower Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox, instead of investigating the shocking crimes and cover up he revealed. But Peter is prepared to endure any amount of legal bullying, confident that the full truth will be given a chance to be heard by the Royal Commission. Meanwhile the Special Commission of Inquiry, working within very restrictive terms of reference, has hopefully finished endlessly repeating accusations and insinuations about Peter, and will now finally turn some of its attention to the cover up of child sex crimes by church officials.

Excitement at the prospect of seeing those responsible for so much suffering finally face detailed investigation has been replaced by disappointment much of their evidence will now be heard in camera, hidden from survivors, the public and the media. The consolation is that this is reportedly necessary because of the possibility these crimes will finally make it to court. Judging by what was revealed in the last week, there certainly seems to be reason to expect a raft of prosecutions. If action is taken, these will be the first Australian prosecutions for the cover up of child rape by Catholic officials, despite mountains of evidence, and a cover up occurring in nearly every case. There was an arrest for such a coverup last year, but in common with standard procedure, the only official to be formally charged was near death and so, in the end, like so many others, he escaped justice and never made it to court.

According to Church officials, the only people responsible for this systemic problem are conveniently dead or old enough to use the ever reliable “too old and infirm” con. So it is exhilarating that even this severely hobbled inquiry has brought to the surface documents about the actions of church officials who are a long way from being able to carry off the standard issue sympathy attracting walking stick, wheelchair, ambulance or oxygen mask.

Even the Royal Commission, with broad terms of reference and extensive powers, still has and will continue to provide many bumps for survivors. A senior lay Catholic and a former police commissioner being appointed as Commissioners concerned many survivors, especially as Robert Fitzgerald’s very relevant background was not disclosed. Teething problems with communications have also worried many. The fact that funding promised by the Government has not been put towards the provision of ongoing counselling for those revealing their traumatic past experiences, possibly for the first time, is particularly worrying and disappointing. The single most crucial use of this money is for the lifesaving counselling we have long been denied by church officials and successive governments. Some of the organisations receiving the funding are not putting the money towards services for survivors, and/or have a history of refusing help to clergy abuse survivors, reabusing survivors or secretly accepting money from the abuser institutions.

However the Royal Commission has already helped and given hope to many. I have sat in, as a support person, on a private session and was very impressed with how it was conducted. I have spoken with those in charge of different areas of the Royal Commission’s operations and am similarly impressed and confident this vital task is in good hands. And with every passing day I am more convinced this Royal Commission is a rare and precious opportunity to tell the truth and be heard. An opportunity we should all value, support and not let go to waste.

Survivors in other countries are desperate to be offered a similar opportunity.

We cannot change the past, but we have been given this one chance to change the future.

There are signs church officials are starting to tire of the pretence of co-operation and will soon descend to the vicious and expensive defence of their reputations seen around the world in similar situations. But instead of letting this get us down, we should take heart from the fact we have truth, evidence, courage and public disgust at these cowardly crimes on our side.

Congratulations and best wishes to all those heroic survivors, their families, supporters and whistleblowers who have told or will tell their truth to one or more of Australia’s trinity of inquiries.

Our evidence can help ensure decision makers properly understand the scale and nature of this problem, and make decisions based on reality, instead of being taken in by church officials’ lies and misinformation.

We might not all see our own version of “what justice looks like” become a reality. We will all have a lot of bumps, both up and down, to survive. But between us all, and with the help of the truth revealed at last by these inquiries, we should achieve enough justice and enough change to be confident this problem is finally being properly addressed. And one day we might even be able to sleep peacefully at last, as if this horror never happened to us.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

Julia Gillard’s legacy lives on in historic Royal Commission

Many victims of child sexual abuse are mourning Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s overnight defeat at the hands of the smirking, conniving, grey haired boys club. I suspect she knew all along her time at the top would be short and that she had a limited opportunity to achieve real change before she would be taken down for the crime of being a successful, assertive woman.

Unlike many of our underachieving politicians, Julia did not waste her time in power. She made a genuine, positive difference to so many people’s lives and to our nation’s progress towards being a humane society.

The people she aided were not the ones who would help fund a privileged retirement from politics. Rejecting self interest for social justice, Julia Gillard stood up for the rights of the abused, the neglected, and the deserving. And she did it with grace, with conviction and with calm determination.

It is undeniable Julia is no unblemished model of perfection. Unfortunately Australian politics is a dirty business and the route to the top invariably involves getting excrement on your hands. But instead of burying her face in the trough once there, Julia wiped her hands, rolled up her sleeves and got down to the business of being a true leader.

Blokey, misogynist Australia will never forgive her for that. For showing up their childish, self serving antics as not inevitable, but simply not good enough.

Julia made mistakes aplenty too. An example is her refusal to support heroic Australian citizen Julian Assange and protect him from bullying and possibly murder by the thugs of the US administration. I can only imagine what pressure was brought to bear to obtain such a betrayal.

But when she got it right, Julia got it so very, very right.

She is the only world leader in history to truly stand up to the might of the oppressively powerful Catholic Church hierarchy and insist they be held accountable, nationally, for their crimes.

Even the International Criminal Court in The Hague last week baulked at such a task, and indeed, dodged the responsibility, leaving Julia, and, hopefully, other world leaders who may follow her example, to stand up for the rights of abused children.

This is not her only such achievement, but for me, it is the one that makes so much difference.

I had the privilege to meet Julia at Kirribilli House in January, and discuss one on one her intentions for the Royal Commission. I saw a genuine desire to right this grave wrong, to uncover the truth, and to deliver some justice to those denied it so cruelly.

I have also seen first hand the workings of this Royal Commission, and met with those entrusted with this difficult and delicate task, and have full confidence this legacy has been left in good hands. There will be many who attempt to undermine the intentions of the Royal Commission, but I believe those at the very top are smart enough, talented enough, determined enough and empowered enough to get to enough of the truth that child rapists in priests clothing will never again feel so completely protected from Australian law as they have until now.

What does the future hold for the Royal Commission and those affected by its work? Will Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbott gut the Royal Commission or hobble its ability to undertake this vital investigation?

If they attempt to do so they can be sure survivors and the media will be watching closely. And if we do see corrupt attempts to once again protect powerful criminals and once again betray Australia’s children we will certainly not sit back and let it happen. We will not be silenced. We will never again be voiceless victims.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

Voiceless Victim Invited to Tea with the Prime Minister

Who would have imagined as little as twelve months ago, that Australian victims would be about to start work on their submissions to the Royal Commission into institutional child sex abuse we were told so many times would never happen.

And that we would be generally pretty happy with its newly announced Terms of Reference and Commissioners.

And that Australian child sexual abuse victims, heartlessly excluded from the 2008 papal apology in Sydney that was supposedly addressed to us and for our benefit, would be the guests of honour at a morning tea with the Prime Minister.

That, dear friends, is the surreal situation we will find ourselves in tomorrow at Kirribilli House, Sydney.

The cuppa and bikkies we consume tomorrow will not just fill the bellies of the representative few.

They will fill the hearts of all victims with a hitherto foreign emotion.

It is called hope.

We know Julia is using us for a photo opp.

We know there is a healthy dose of political expediency in her announcement.

But at the end of the day, this gutsy woman, Julia Gillard, was the first Prime Minister in Australian history to make the call to a Cardinal Prince of the church and tell him “You’re not going to like this mate, but I’m doing it anyway.”

I will carry all of you with me in my heart tomorrow.

You will all be there, where you deserve to be.

Guests of honour, invited by the Prime Minister.

No longer neglected.

No longer abandoned.

No longer voiceless.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Catholic Church Funded Statistics Part II

It was encouraging to learn today that German researchers working with catholic officials to produce the latest, supposedly independent, supposedly research based support for Vatican lies about endemic child rape by catholic religious have had enough and pulled the plug on the project.

Read the details here

Only recently German bishops were crowing about a new self study posing as proper research, whose methodology sounded frighteningly similar to the seriously flawed and misleading John Jay study from the US. I searched fruitlessly for additional details about this German study, or even a copy of the research itself, but there was nothing to be found beyond a media release.

Know we know why.

Sticking to the successful Vatican mind games as trialled on the largely unsuspecting US public, parishoners and politicians, German bishops were clearly intending to buy and then exploit another expensive work of deception to smear and undermine victims and those telling the truth about this important issue.

Lies, Damn Lies and Catholic Church Funded Statistics Part I

John Jay study

Unfortunately the German researchers the bishops hoped to buy, the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony (KFN), were either smarter or have more professional integrity than the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

Or perhaps they simply have more humanity.

After all we are talking about prostituting their ability and expertise to protect dangerous, sanctimonious criminals who consider themselves entitled to rape and sexually exploit as many defenceless children as they can get their grubby hands on. At the same time protecting the equally abhorrent criminals who enable and coverup these crimes.

It is entirely possible that bishops misled both the John Jay College and the KFN about their intentions for the work they were commissioning. Catholic bishops find it almost impossible to speak directly or clearly, or to be honest about what they are really up to. They cannot be up front on any topic, far less one as threatening to what is most dear to them – their own careers, and the power, wealth and influence of the institutional church – as the child rape epidemic they can no longer hide.

Avoiding nasty details, sticking to inspiring sounding cliches which are the opposite of reality, impenetrable vagueness, circular reasoning, euphemisms and mental reservation are all so ingrained that most bishops would struggle to communicate clearly if their life depended upon it.

Their stock in trade is saying a lot, while conveying little, and committing to nothing.

Except when blaming others or listing where others have gone wrong and how everything will be so much better if only everyone would blindly obey instructions from the pope and bishops.

It is entirely possible that, when commissioning this work, the bishops claimed they would be completely open and transparent. That they did not intend to hold anything back or hide any details. That they would “co-operate fully”, a favourite claim. And that they were truly interested in finding out the truth and would not try to manipulate or edit the final report to produce a desired result.

If they did claim any of these things, and they have made these claims so often in relation to law enforcement, judicial inquiries, and court proceedings, then, as has happened consistently in all those situations, they lied.

But inevitably, whether misled, naive, or somewhat complicit, at some stage the researchers, both in the US and Germany, would have realised just how little the bishops meant any claims to reveal all details or to want truth, instead of support for their excuses and distractions.

The John Jay College produced not one but two reports based on flawed and incomplete data, which have been consistently misused as representing incidence of abuse. That misrepresentation has been allowed to spread widely, uncorrected, leading the more outrageous apologists, and even bishops, to claim that catholic churches are the safest places around for children. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The second report, based on the same data as the first report, took full flight into cloud cuckoo land. It blamed the Woodstock generation for a sudden flowering of abuse, despite the fact child rape has actually been rampant in the catholic church for two millennia. This report also claimed there is no discernible difference between abuser priests and non abuser priests, despite the significant and deliberate underreporting of known abuse by bishops trying to coverup the problem. There was no difference between abuser and non abuser populations because so many abusers were included in the reportedly non abuser population. The second report also arbitrarily diverged from the official, widely used definition of paedophilia, lowering the age range significantly in order to claim the majority of priests were not in fact paedophiles. And perhaps the most dangerous fiction of all was that the abuse is all in the past, based on a tapering off of reports in recent years. This claim directly contradicts the original report, which noted that only a minority of abuse is reported within a short time frame, and the majority of victims take decades to report, making it impossible to draw reliable conclusions about current abuse rates at this time.

Clearly the German bishops have finally revealed enough of their deception and their dangerously evil intentions that the German researchers have decided they cannot be a party to the report the bishops wish to buy.

It is common practice for research to be commissioned by commercial interests specifically in order to mislead. To give them an advantage against competing messages. Bias, in all its forms, can be used to frame questions that deliver required responses, and data can be carefully selected to exclude information that does not meet the client’s needs. Biased research can usually be easily spotted based on its methodology. But we must assume the bishops went further than just bias.

That they wanted KFN to put the appearance of truth on lies.

Dangerous lies.

Lies that subvert efforts to improve child protection. Lies that keep child rapists out of jail and free to re-offend.

It seems that the researchers at KFN, unlike those at John Jay College, are not prepared to prostitute themselves for the church’s thirty pieces of silver.

Not when children’s safety is at stake.

I sincerely hope Australia’s Royal Commissioners, when appointed, read about this sorry episode.

So they can know what they are up against in the search for the truth of this issue.