Voiceless Victim

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

Tag Archives: Royal Commission child sexual abuse

Does Papal Pretender Deserve Person of the Year? No Way Jorge

The announcement that Time Magazine had declared Pope Frank, the Paedophile-Protector-in-Chief, their Person of the Year for 2013 left all of us who are not either brain dead, brainwashed or irretrievably corrupt completely speechless.

Pope frank on time

Surely this would be the joke of the new century, if it were not so terribly tragic.

The subsequent announcement that this old man in an old fashioned, baggy white dress and retinue of silly hats and caps, has been declared Esquire Magazine’s Best Dressed Man of the Year is simply ridiculous beyond belief.

Even more bizarre is that The Advocate, a gay magazine, declared the leader of this vehemently anti-gay, though largely homosexual, religion as their Person of the Year, too. Despite recent carefully crafted murmurings of a softening of the traditional hate filled hard line against gays, there is simply no way Francis of the Facade is any friend to openly gay men, or their interests.

The vatican’s new, and no doubt highly paid, PR supremo, Greg Burke, a member of the catholic cult Opus Dei, and a former Fox News staffer, is clearly no stranger to the tricks used to spread ultra conservative, orthodox religious spin. The information that the cunning Mr Burke is also a former Time employee makes a little more sense of Time’s puzzlingly inappropriate award.

It is easier to accept that a sleazy Vatican employee pulled in all his favours from his very good friends and former colleagues at Time than that otherwise seemingly intelligent editors came to this decision without inducements or prompting. Of course the publishers at Time, and the other magazines, no doubt enjoy the controversy and spike in readership that such a stupid choice generates. And it seems they really don’t care about any loss of credibility amongst those still in possession of a brain. Or perhaps they’ll have moved on to a new job before any fallout is felt.

This pope has done absolutely nothing to eradicate the epidemic of child rape destroying the lives and threatening the very existence of hundreds of thousands of the most innocent and vulnerable in this world. This man, Jorge from Buenos Ares, who claims infallibility and holiness, and demands slavish adoration and unquestioning respect in the face of a crime wave that puts the mafia, his collaborators, to shame, has done nothing, has achieved nothing, that justifies in any way a fraction of the media attention thrown away on him.

Far less an honour stolen from the truly deserving but less grasping.

Why do the mindless adore Francis the Fake?

Well, it’s certainly not for his good looks.

pope frank cartoon 3

Benny the Rat could not help but look as evil as his actions, even after a makeover. Foolish Frankie looks dorky, he smiles, and tries very hard to come across as benign, even human.

Sure, the puppet master Burke has regularly staged deliberately heart tugging photo opportunities as part of the media profile makeover to soften the image of this head of the world’s wealthiest criminal organisation. But why can so few people understand how cynical this carefully constructed facade, designed to please, distract and mislead, really is?

Cringe worthy stuff from the paedophile protector in chief

Cringe worthy stuff from the paedophile protector in chief

The fact that an immensely rich and supremely powerful world leader, who could do so much good at the stroke of a pen, but chooses not to act, is not as bad an habitual criminal as his predecessor, is not any reason to declare him person of the year.

This latest papal pretender is more of a clean skin than the master of clergy child rape enabling and coverup, Ex-Benedict the former Holiness, who these days makes good use of the specious claims of Vatican city to be a nation state, hiding out for the rest of his life from law enforcement.

But now that the latest heartless narcissist, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has swapped pink for white and is firmly ensconced in the ostentatious arms of Vatican gold, at least away from the cameras, he cannot help but be just as culpable as all his fellow popes. Unless he does something to change the centuries of tradition whereby unimportant children of lay catholics are thrown under the wheels of the solid gold gravy train driven by Vatican Inc.

Has anyone seen any evidence of Francis implementing actual change, not just more weasel words?

pope x 2

Has the warm, caring fantasy of humility and change meant F1 has finally revealed the full details of these crimes, or thrown open the carefully hidden secret files, ordered cardinals to stop obstructing justice and assist local law enforcement, removed known dangerous sexual predators from their hiding places in the bosom of mother church, or introduced real child protection measures, not just the appearance of change.

Anyone deserving the title of human being, let alone person of the year, would do at least that.

Not So Very Frank Francis can’t quite manage what most of us would do without hesitation, and in a heartbeat, but he has announced another fake body to look into this issue. A committee paid for and controlled by the catholic church, despite any nonsensical claims to “independence”.

If such a committee were to actually be independent, it should be made up of and seek input from survivors, whistleblowers, uncorrupted law enforcement and law makers, and those who have worked to rebuild lives destroyed by centuries of papal inaction. The funding of an independent committee would be completely independent of church hierarchy. And any results would never be filtered through church officials, or only released once rewritten to their satisfaction. There is zero possibility of Faker Frank’s Fake Committee looking anything like that.

Genuine investigations have been conducted and are being conducted throughout the world by properly qualified, suitably empowered and truly independent investigators.

There is no additional need for the criminals to investigate themselves. The very notion itself is preposterous. There is no societal need for the Vatican to swamp the media with their lies. This deluge has been going on for centuries, and it is these very lies that have allowed the crimes to continue, and have prevented the operation of justice.

There is no need to hear the Vatican’s excuses and misdirections on this subject once again, even after supposedly “expert” contributions. Because the only “experts” the Vatican consults, or listens to, are those who say what they have been instructed or paid to say.

There is no knowledge gap in this area that requires addressing by those committing the crimes. Plenty of people and institutions have first hand experience and decades of understanding of what is really going on, what the cause is, and how to prevent it continuing. These are people who live in the real world and have no trouble facing difficult concepts such as truth, reality and the crimes committed by catholic clerics.

The only stumbling block is the fanatical secrecy of the catholic church, and the criminality of their actions in protecting and enabling child rapists to escape law enforcement and continue to rape children.

The catholic hierarchy misuses respect for religion and the religious belief of millions of catholics as a justification to get away with pretending not to be criminals, while continuing to commit their crimes. 

And the cowardice of many politicians and law enforcement officials, manipulated, threatened or corrupted by catholic church officials to neglect their duty to enact and enforce laws that protect children rather than dangerous but powerful predators, means that, as required, catholic criminals are treated as above the law, and so continue to flout it.

Any Vatican conceived and controlled facade of an investigation is hardly going to address that aspect, let alone resolve it.

The apologists pumping out the catholic hierarchy’s propaganda would have us ignore this crucially important issue and instead bathe in the reflected glow of Friendly Frankie. Yet what could be more important than the safety of our children?

Only childless, self absorbed, sexually dysfunctional yet sex obsessed, developmentally delayed little boys in the bodies of grown men, who are spiritually dead yet pretend to talk with their invisible friend while playing dress ups and participating in canabalistic rituals, could fail to understand that so completely.

What do vatican PR spin masters under the instructions of Burke want to distract us with? What do they promote as more important than saving children from being raped repeatedly by dangerous men claiming the authority of god?

The media circus that is the cult of Francis the Humble.

How things have changed

How things have changed

pope frank bells and smells 2

Or the winner of my award for Con Job of the Year.

The man once took a bus, when he could have taken a limo.

No limos here

No limos here

Give the man a Nobel peace prize.

The man makes it known he is staying in a hostel, when he has a free room in a gold encrusted palace.

Really? He actually sleeps there? He doesn’t sneak back through the secret passages at night and luxuriate in silk sheets and solid gold toilet?

Wouldn’t a truly humble man do other things in a similar vein?

Wouldn’t a truly humble man in the midst of such greed make significant changes?

Wouldn’t a truly humble man do these things because they were the right thing to do, and not perform them for the cameras and announce them in media releases?

And even if Frankie the Fixer did actually do what is claimed for him, why does he not donate any savings to the poor, or to victims of his vicious policies?

If some good came of his choices, other than truly spectacular PR victories, then it might in some way, any way, be meaningful.

Oh, the symbolism

Oh, the symbolism

But he does not and it is not.

This obscenely wealthy pope, who hoards countless billions in cash and property, and could fill a dozen world class museums with his priceless art treasures, makes a few token gestures, makes a few vague comments, and continues with evil policies, while refusing to act to prevent so much suffering in the world, much of which is easily in his power to prevent.

Those who seek, or even accept without seeking, great power of any kind, have great responsibility to use that power wisely and for the greater good. Popes have almost unlimited power of every kind, and could single handedly make this world a safe place for children. Could institute effective programs to offer every child shelter, an education, health care and enough food to eat.

But they see only that any sharing of their wealth, any use of their power, except to shore up their own power and add to their own possessions, means less wealth and less power for themselves. These empty, soulless men grasp desperately to posses everything, but can never fill the gaping hole in themselves. Because they are filling it with the wrong thing. They stridently claim spiritual superiority, but are spiritually bereft and the ultimate materialists. Nothing, not even the enslavement of the whole world to their bidding, and the pouring of the whole wold’s resources into their coffers will ever satisfy them.

No amount of deceit, no amount of crime, no amount of corruption or destruction of the innocent is repugnant or wrong to them, if it is in the pursuit of their own wealth and power.

And so the deceit of Francis The Great Pretender should be seen as business as usual.

Yet it stings.

How can so many be fooled by this paper thin nonsense?

The tiniest application of logic or thought to this tomfoolery makes the whole rotten edifice crumble before your eyes.

pope frank smirk

Yet one picture of a goofy looking, smirking hypocrite makes people feel safe and that everything will be okay after all. That these self described good, holy men could not really be pretending, could not really be evil monsters preying on us and our children in every possible way.

Well they are.

pope frank not impressed

And it is time to grow up.

It is time to investigate the comforting lies and find the real truth.

And if that truth is even worse than expected, and it is, it is time to face it.

Because there is only one thing worse than facing such a horrible truth.

And that is by ignoring the problem, allowing it to continue.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

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Truth, Justice and Healing comes not from a Council but from a Commission

Survivors in Australia are waking up this week to a different world.

A world where those in positions of authority do not look the other way, shrug their shoulders and callously ignore the fact of the criminal child rape of children, the criminal coverup of those crimes and the ongoing re-abuse of the damaged adult survivors.

For decades or even longer parents, teachers, police, social workers, school principals, priests, bishops, cardinals, prosecutors, lawyers, judges, the media and, most of all, politicians have learnt or known of our suffering and did not care enough to do anything.*

Whether they thought it was not their place, or they would get in trouble for creating a scandal, or they would lose their job or social standing, or it could not be possible, or this issue was not allowed to be spoken about, or someone else would deal with it – they all left children to suffer horribly to save themselves discomfort.

And they got away with this dereliction of their duty of care, just as those who deliberately and cunningly plan and commit their crimes, and those who deliberately enable those crimes to continue, get away with their evil.

For so long we were silenced, no one spoke up for us and no one was held accountable.

Recently more and more survivors are speaking up and are being given more opportunities to do so.

But still we lack decisive, comprehensive action on this issue. The vast majority of these offenders and their protectors still slip through any protective measures with ease and are never stopped and never held accountable.

The criminals know they are still safe. And they act accordingly.

But they are not safe any longer.

Sitting in the hearing room of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in recent months I have been brought to tears many times as the realisation dawns that they are asking the right questions, they are determined to get the answers, and the information gathered will be used to develop truly effective recommendations. The tears are partly joy that the questions are being asked at last, and partly great sorrow at how much unnecessary suffering has been caused by not asking them earlier.

But this week there can no longer be any doubt.

As the smug paedophile protectors of the Catholic Church face the Commission for the first time, their facade of sincerity and their carefully crafted evasions, qualifications, diversions, excuses and misdirection are given the credibility they deserve. Absolutely none.

The CEO of the Untruth, Injustice and Denial of Healing Council, Frances Sullivan, sits smugly in the front row every day, and his lawyer offends most survivors in the room as soon as he opens his mouth. Church representatives, whether in front of TV cameras, in witness box or at bar table, make sure to say a lot of the right things, but we who understand them far better than we ever wanted, know they mean not a word of it. They still regard survivors speaking about our experiences as the problem to be dealt with. They don’t believe they have done anything deserving criticism. They still believe their way of doing things is just fine as it is, if only the biased media would focus on someone else for a change.

This week is the first time logic and brutal honesty has been applied in such strength and forensic detail to these experts in the low arts of obfuscation and mental reservation. And stripped of their protections of undue reverence and undeserved respect, they are revealed as less like moral leaders and much more like the immoral and often criminal cowards they truly are.

Hearing Justice Peter McClellan’s questions this week has brought me to the point where I can finally, for the first time in my life, relax and trust those in authority to do the job they were appointed to do.

I can see a possible future where campaigning for child protection and justice for survivors is not left to the survivors because those in power have neglected this issue so completely.

We are safe in Peter McClellan’s and Gail Furness’s hands, as we never were in the church’s.

We have been given what we asked for with this Royal Commission.

Fearless, committed, intelligent people who are not swayed by anyone’s claim of a special relationship with a supernatural being.

Let’s do all we can to help the Commission do its job.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

* There are notable exceptions, individuals, who did put children first and did take action. But the numbers and power of those determined to silence us, preferably permanently, overwhelmed and stymied their efforts.

Why Aren’t We More Outraged by This Corruption?

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.

VV

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.

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

Newcastle Diocese’s Disgrace – Memory Loss, Distaste for the Truth, and Prayers but no Action

Pat protesting

Public hearings of the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry in Newcastle in recent weeks have left survivors and supporters disappointed, horrified, traumatised, gasping in disgust, occasionally giggling, and even bravely protesting before the media contingent.

And finally, applauding the amazing bravery of AH in exposing his private pain to public scrutiny. Nothing less, it seems, will serve to stop church officials from evading responsibility for any crimes they may have committed, or from continuing to expose children to serious danger.

One reaction we have not experienced is surprise.

The predictable list of excuses is being rolled out with gusto.

Blaming dead people, impenetrable vagueness about important details, convenient claims of memory loss, avoidance of personal responsibility, denials, excuses, and insulting assertions that refusing to listen to us, neglecting our needs and bullying us into not seeking the help we so desperately want is actually in our best interests; all these are being spouted ad nauseum.

It is no surprise either that these tactics eerily echo similar excuses used in the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry hearings and in numerous investigations of this issue around the world.

Despite all this, some survivors will be helped. Some truth is coming out, mostly in documents. Some admissions are being made, where their own documents leave no room for continuing denials.

The abuse problem in this region is staggering. But this narrow and politically constrained investigation is not allowed to see the full picture. Nowhere near it.

Plus, there are other regions in NSW, and in other states, that have suffered equally from this destructive epidemic. But they were not the subject of politically embarrassing claims on TV. And so, predictably, they do not warrant the time and expense of this Special Commission.

The NSW Government will no doubt claim this whole exercise is intended to help survivors. But we can recognise, through long and painful familiarity with the hypocrisy of church officials, when our abuse is used to further exploit us and harm us, under cover of helping us, by those engaged in self serving power games.

And so we watch and listen as a brave whistleblower is viciously targeted. And church officials are given a public platform for their usual smug, entitled and evasive performance, while survivors and supporters are largely silenced.

We wait to see whether this inquiry will be allowed to do anything with the glimpse of the truth it has been permitted to see through the cracks in the previously unbreachable, heavily armed wall concealing the church’s real actions.

And we wait for the real inquiry, the Royal Commission, to start its public hearings.

Stay safe everyone, this is a challenging time but it is not the end, just the beginning.

VV

Child Rape, Truth and Politics

Regular readers will know Voiceless Victim was chosen to represent victims at a morning tea with the Australian Prime Minster, Julia Gillard, at her gorgeous official Sydney residence, Kirribilli House, the day after the announcement of the terms of reference for our long awaited Royal Commission.

Since you could not all be there, the least I can do is share with you what I learned, and what I experienced.

We gathered at a nearby hotel to fill in consent forms and wait till the official party were ready to receive us.

Here was my first and only disappointment of this momentous day.

Some of those who most deserved to be there were not invited.

The list of those who should have been there is very long. I understand they could not invite everyone. But not inviting Chrissie and Anthony Foster, and their two surviving daughters Katie and Aimee, shows that those putting together the invitation list still have a lot to learn about who are the real contributors to this issue.

Some were invited who had no right to be there, who have worked in this area, but whose actions actively harm victims, and whose motives are less than pure. These self serving vultures were preening themselves smugly at being included in “the few” and sneering at “the many” who did not make the cut. Their salivating at the prospect of influence, media attention and generous funding to come their way was nauseating.

I have heard much about such opportunistic frauds and the harm they have done in Ireland from the amazing Irish defender of victims’ rights, Hanora Brennan.

It is very sad to see them rear their ugly heads in Australia even before our hard won Royal Commission has begun. But it is inevitable.

We must accept such creatures will appear, no matter what we do, and should we slay the current dragons they would simply make way for more of the same, inevitably attracted to the government gravy on offer, pushing the needs of victims aside in their desperate scramble to fill the gaping emotional holes in themselves.

But genuine victims and those genuinely working to help victims can take action to keep the focus on the needs of victims. I will address this topic specifically in a future post.

Back at Kirribilli House we were joined by representatives of the Forgotten Australians and the Stolen Generations. It was interesting to note that while some of us discussed our hopes for the success of the Royal Commission, Aboriginal representatives were slow to hope and wary of trusting government promises.

I don’t blame them.

Whatever we have suffered, they have suffered ten times worse. However much we have been lied to and betrayed by those in power, they have endured ten times the lies and betrayals. We must all remember they are our brothers and sisters in suffering, and especially deserving of truth, justice and healing. The real stuff, not the Catholic smokescreen, PR stunt, meaningless words with no action type.

After a security check we lined up to do the official greeting with Julia Gillard, and Jenny Macklin, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. We shook hands first with Jenny, then if she knew us she introduced us to Julia, or if she didn’t, we introduced ourselves.

Say your name, smile, shake hands, move on for the next person to take your place. Simple.

Unfortunately I couldn’t get my name out. I burst into tears, right in front of the waiting, and now delighted, media.

As I struggled to compose myself enough to croak out my name, I could see the media trying not to celebrate too obviously at the prospect of a “crying victim” shot with Julia.

Julia was gracious, patient and understanding.

I’m not sure if she could hear my name, but I think she heard the “thank you” that followed it.

I have done enough healing not to beat myself up about bursting into tears on meeting the Prime Minister. Or to let the prospect of photos of my distress being splattered around the media disturb me. I can shut those unhelpful emotions out.

What overwhelmed me was that after decades of our abuse being allowed to continue unhindered by those supposed to protect little children, and ignored by the whole country, suddenly the most powerful politician in Australia was putting investigating and taking action to stop the crimes against us right at the top of our national priorities, where it belongs.

As I explained when I emerged into the stunning harbourside gardens, they were good tears. Good because finally we were going to get the help we had always deserved. But being treated well upsets me. Never having experienced it, I don’t know how to handle it. I can handle being abused, dismissed, ignored, or treated as worthless, insignificant, beneath notice or a liar.

But to be treated as an innocent grievously harmed by cunning criminals, worthy of an investigation of the truth, of healing and of law reform to prevent similar crimes – well, like all of us, that is something I have been ruthlessly denied.

Something the Catholic church works tirelessly to prevent happening.

Something I find overwhelming.

It is something we are all going to have to get used to in 2013.

Julia spoke briefly to us as a group. She spoke without notes and her staff informed me it was unscripted, and her own words.

It was compassionate and well considered like her two terrific speeches to announce the Royal Commission itself and its Terms of Reference.

I spoke to many of the staffers and advisers surrounding Julia and Jenny and found them as a group to be enthusiastic and knowledgeable about this issue, with a genuine commitment to delivering justice to victims and implementing real changes.

Jenny Macklin has a solid background of working in this area and was greeted with delight as an old friend by many of the Forgotten Australians and Stolen Australians. That is very encouraging.

I spoke to our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, one on one for some minutes, and spoke at length to her staffers. As far as is possible to gauge from such a short acquaintance, I feel confident Julia has a genuine commitment to and understanding of this issue, not just a political commitment.

I don’t have a lot of respect for politicians as a breed and politics as a whole. It attracts so many self seekers and influence peddlars, so many whose opinions and morals (or lack of them) are for sale that most aspirants with a genuine desire to improve our society fall away in disgust at what a dirty, filthy game it is, or are punished for not playing power games well enough.

But in recent months Julia has been starting to earn my respect. She gave the smirking royalist former seminarian mysogynist Tony (some of my best friends are women) Abbott what for and gave all Australian women hope that we can change the blokey, jokey, don’t get your knickers in a twist, vicious mysogyny that infects our culture.

Julia has also taken action on climate change, on making greedy mining companies contribute rather than just steal, on care of our disabled, on mental health and so many other issues. I don’t agree with everything she has done, and her tenuous hold on power means compromise, serious compromise is inevitable.

But unlike many of her predecessors and her opponent in this years’ election, she has tried to to take on important issues. Issues that could make this country a great place to raise children. Issues that are deserving of attention, not just attractive to voters.

One of the issues I raised with Julia at the morning tea was the need to overcome legal professional privilege, as this is one of the most likely scams catholic officials will use to hide the truth from the Royal Commission. Along with shredding documents and sending them to the Vatican.

Julia assured me that despite the ability to overcome legal professional privilege not being conferred automatically by the Royal Commissions Act, this Royal Commission would be able to use such power, if the Commissioners ask for it.

We need to ensure the Commissioners ask for this power, and for many other things.

Because the Royal Commission is now out of the hands of the politicians. I feel comfortable that the politicians, led by Julia Gillard, have done the best possible job under the circumstances.

Who would have thought that in the space of a few months we would have been given the Royal Commission we were told so many times would never happen, and it has been established as a genuine attempt to succeed in its stated aims.

But in this it is almost unique.

We are accustomed to those inquiries that are allowed to proceed suffering in their ability to uncover the truth as a result of the corrupt influence of catholic church officials and other powerful protectors of those who prey on children.

This is the first such inquiry not designed from the beginning to fail.

But it still can fail.

The Commissioners are now the ones who can deliver us justice or prevent its delivery.

It is up to all of us who have knowledge and experience of these terrible crimes to help them and to advise them in the delivery of truth, justice and healing, and the fight against the vested interests who will use all their wealth, power and influence to hide the truth, evade justice and deny us healing.

But even if the corrupt and the guilty snatch the truth from us, and the self serving steal the assistance meant for victims, they can never take away the fact that we were here.

A Royal Commission, a genuine desire for change, and victims honoured guests of the Prime Minister.

We have already, all of us, achieved great things, and we should all smile to ourselves and think, “They tried to stop this ever happening, and they failed.”

Stay safe everyone.

VV

Fire’s Too Good for These Devils

As much of Australia prepares to face catastrophic bush fire conditions today, I hope everyone is safe from fires and comes through unscathed.

That even includes the church’s carefully protected child rapists and those who sacrifice additional children to cover up their crimes.

Fire is too good for these devils.

I want them to make it to the Royal Commission and to face the music, and their own responsibility, for their, until now, hidden actions.

I also hope the imminent announcement of the terms of reference for the Royal Commission and the all important names of the Commissioners are not announced today.

Because if they are announced on a day when everyone is so preoccupied, and many are still on summer holidays, it can only be bad news.

It can only mean there is something in the announcement that needs to be buried under other issues on a busy news day.

An announcement today will mean those who benefit from the coverup have managed to subvert the search for truth before it even begins.

Stay extra safe today everyone. And if possible on such a scorcher, stay cool as well.

VV

Smokescreen Council Working for Deceitful Church Officials, Not Representing Victims

The CEO of the Council Which Should Not Exist, Francis Sullivan, is following in the footsteps of church officials by claiming, without basis, to speak for victims of the serial child sex offenders enabled and protected by his church.

This week’s comments include a stated desire to be “an independent voice for victims and their families, not an apologist for the church”.

Unfortunately the best place to be an independent voice for victims and their families is most definitely not at the head of a Deception and Denial Council whose job is to deliver church apologist messages, whilst appearing not to be a church apologist body.

And the best person to give voice to the church’s neglected victims and their families is most definitely not a man who has long supported Vatican power politics through implementing the papal policy to refuse lifesaving health care options to those in need.

Not only is his claim diametrically opposed to the real role of the Council for Making the Church Look More Like Reasonable Ordinary People and Less Like a Bunch of Entitled Criminals in Vestments, he also has absolutely no qualifications for speaking on behalf of victims.

None whatsoever.

Has he ever met with victims? Any at all?

More importantly, has he ever listened to them?

There are thousands of us, so before saying anything, Sullivan should plan to speak to dozens at least.

But hold on, if he were to do that, isn’t that the Smoke and Mirrors Council taking over the role of the Royal Commission?

Yet again.

Which leaves us with the role of victims’ representative not being his job or any of his business, very likely getting in the way of the legal, officially mandated Royal Commission, and a self appointed position for which he is supremely inappropriate.

Victims want actual victims or their families, not those following the church’s instructions, to be our representatives.

And we find Sullivan’s presumption, his bias, his ignorance of the issues, and his sneaky misrepresentation of his intentions offensive in the extreme.

But I’m sure, like Big George Pell or Denis Hartless or any other Vatican flunkey, Sullivan sees no particular need to hear from or understand victims in order to deliver Vatican spin supposedly on our behalf. Talking over the top of our attempts to be heard while pretending to represent us.

After all, consideration for the feelings of victims has never stopped any other of Rome’s representatives from putting their noxious words in our mouths while silencing our struggle to be heard, has it?

Our response to Sullivan?

You do not and never will represent us.

You are an oppressor of victims trying to silence us and replace our voices and our truth with Vatican lies.

Disband your offensive Council.

We don’t want you.

And we don’t want your prayers.

We want church officials to hand over their secret files.

And for whistleblowers to be encouraged to tell the truth.

Stay safe everyone.

VV

Untruth, Injustice and Denial of Healing Council

One month after the announcement by the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, of a national Royal Commission into child sexual abuse in religious and other institutions, the Catholic Church in Australia announced its own body.

The so-called Truth, Justice and Healing Council.

Sounds like it will achieve some good, doesn’t it?

Sounds like something new is being done, something has changed, actions are being taken, and those pre-historic attitudes and processes are finally being overhauled.

And with a Chairman and CEO who are not actually catholic officials, could it be that child protection will finally take priority over institution and predator protection?

Not as such.

We have seen such exercises before.

After the Boston Globe brought the issue of widespread child sexual abuse by catholic religious in the US to worldwide attention in 2002, the US Catholic Bishops Conference introduced diocesan Review Boards, comprising both religious and prominent lay people, to oversee the management of child sex abuse cases.

But ten years later, we have had a chance to see how these Review Boards really function.

The US Review Boards are not able to do their job, at least not their publicly announced job, because some cases are kept from them, and those cases they are allowed to review often feature misleading or missing information. And bishops are under no obligation whatsoever to implement any recommendations from Review Boards.

The Chairperson of the Philadelphia Board commented that church officials failed “miserably at being open and transparent”.

The result?

Known offenders are still being kept in ministry, evidence is still being hidden from law enforcement, children are still being endangered and still being abused, and victims are still being denied assistance and reabused when they attempt to recover.

This outcome has been demonstrated again and again by official investigations, by civil court cases and by the occasional criminal case which manages to survive the almost insurmountable hurdle of predator friendly statutes of limitations laws.

So, if Review Boards are not actually delivering truth, justice or healing, or even child protection, or co-operation with law enforcement,what is their real purpose?

To make it look like something has changed, and to take the heat off the bishops.

The prominent people filling Review Board seats are lending their reputations to US bishops, so that the bishops can be seen to have outside scrutiny, while keeping the Review Boards in the dark as to what is really going on.

Just like this new Council in Australia will borrow the reputations of the Chairman, Barry O’Keefe and the CEO, Francis Sullivan, and any other lay appointees, to appear as if Australian catholic bishops are handing over control and management of this issue to independent parties.

Except there is already an independent party which has been officially appointed to manage this issue, and which has the legal power to control it.

It’s called a Royal Commission.

It is no accident that this smoke and mirrors stunt has been pulled prior to the appointment of any Commissioners, and before the Royal Commission’s Terms of Reference are announced.

Church officials have manipulated the timing gap between the announcement of the Royal Commission and the appointment of Commissioners, so that this Council of Spin is a pre-existing body to the operation of the Royal Commission, and so there are no Commissioners in a position to respond to the formation of the Council. Nobody is yet officially appointed to the job of the Royal Commission’s investigation. Nobody can officially dismiss the catholic church’s opportunistic and arrogant body right from the start, with the message that it is not needed and serves no purpose except to obscure the truth and obstruct the lawful operation of the Royal Commission.

If there is any genuine public need for this Council, at all, why only catholics?

If there is any genuine role for the Council to perform, surely every institution under scrutiny by the Royal Commission will require its own Truth, Justice and Healing Council?

Or is this yet another example of special treatment for the catholic church?

Another special exception which puts catholic church officials above the laws which apply to every other citizen?

Another loophole which facilitates the continuation and coverup of the widespread and systemic rape of defenceless children and other vulnerable populations?

Another betrayal by those who demand moral authority and respect they in no way deserve?

Clearly it is hoped this most deceptive Council will centralise and sanitise comments about evidence provided to the Royal Commission by victims, their families and supporters, police, lawyers, psychologists, and whistleblowers.

In this way, the church can keep the lid on those increasingly embarrassing incidents where George Pell and other church officials speak to the media without first being coached on what to say in order to appear to think and respond appropriately. They clearly need to put a stop to church officials unconsciously letting slip their true jaw droppingly callous and self serving attitudes towards the routine enabling and coverup of child sexual exploitation by serial predators. Most revealing of all from such admissions is the understanding that though these entitled medieval princes now realise they must pretend it is not acceptable to rape children, they don’t really get why it is so bad. At all.

Someone has finally got the message through to the bishops conference and the religious leaders conference, that they can no longer get away with such unintentionally revealing comments. Thanks to investigative media and victims speaking out, today people are paying attention to what they actually say, instead of mindlessly swallowing their excuses. And those people can put two and two together.

By comparison, lay people do not live in the alternate reality and moral vacuum of catholic religious life, where the only good is what is good for the church, and for those who benefit most from her power and wealth.

Lay people speaking for the church removes the problem of an out of touch hierarchy, each of whom may face charges over the coverup of child rape if our justice system is ever allowed to operate transparently, simultaneously shooting themselves in the foot, shoving both feet in their mouth and handing out inadvertent admissions of knowledge of and possibly also complicity in these crimes.

Public statements by those appointed to this Coverup Council demonstrate the intention to remove church officials as far as possible from the negative PR that will be flowing their way as the evidence is finally, publicly revealed. The Council is not guilty of these crimes, having only just been appointed, but will provide a shield between the previously hidden actions of the bishops, and bishops facing responsibility for those actions.

Speak to the hand, to the Council, not to the bishops themselves.

If the smokescreen Council miraculously delivers, as if from god above, some fraction of the evidence held by bishops that they are prepared to finally hand over, the link between this damning evidence and the bishops will be obscured, or even, hopefully, broken. As will the link between these crimes and the orders from the Vatican which threatened dire punishment for those who publicly revealed such crimes, but understanding and forgiveness for those who committed them. And continued to commit them.

But apart from delivering evidence to the Royal Commission, a job which can only be performed by the church officials themselves and requires no third party, what will this Council actually do?

To hear Francis Sullivan and Barry O’Keefe talk, the Council will do the job of the Royal Commission.

They say they are going to deliver justice to victims.

Really?

How?

And what will the Commissioners say, when they are appointed, about the existence of a supposedly independent body, directed and funded by those whose interests it exists to serve, which wants to do their job for them?

Will they say, “Oh great, thanks guys, that’s really sweet, we’ll just take it easy for a while until you come up with some recommendations”?

We better hope not.

If this Royal Commission is anything other than a sham, the new Commissioners, when appointed, will thank the Council very kindly for their efforts and instruct them firmly to head on home and leave the job to the professionals.

Happy holidays and stay safe everyone.

VV

Church Officials Still Investigating Their Own Crimes

The Australian Catholic Church has announced it has received but is yet to release the report of its internal investigation into the role of three senior church officials in the coverup of child sexual abuse by the priest known only as Father F.

The report, prepared by former Federal Court judge Anthony Whitlam QC, is based on an examination of documents supplied by church officials. These include the history of appointments, ministry and activities of the serial predator Father F and the way in which reports by the victims of the respected priest were handled.

Relying on evidence supplied by the very institution being investigated, an institution with a long and proud history of covering up sexual exploitation of minors and other vulnerable populations, and of hiding incriminating documents and other evidence from law enforcement while claiming full co-operation, the report is expected to deliver a result in line with claims by church officials that there is no reason for charges to be laid against Fathers Peters, Lucas and Usher.

At issue is the crime of covering up serious crimes – serial child sexual assaults by an adult in a position of absolute authority over vulnerable children.

Church officials were repeatedly informed about Father F’s crimes, since the first complaints were received in 1983, but refused to act to protect children or inform police. Documentary evidence exists of a report to church officials in 1983. Clear evidence of the knowledge of Fathers Peters, Lucas and Usher of Father F’s criminal activity comes from a letter recording a 1992 meeting between these three and the admitted child abuser. Details of the 1992 meeting and his admissions at that meeting were confirmed in court by Father F in 2004. Documentary evidence also exists from 2002, showing Cardinal Pell was aware of Father F’s offending, once again without any action to prevent re-offending, help victims, prevent the suicides of victims or inform police.

It beggars belief that even after the announcement of a national Royal Commission into child sexual abuse and its cover up, the NSW Police and NSW Government do not publicly recognise how inappropriate it is for Catholic Church officials to presume to usurp the role of law enforcement in the investigation of these crimes.

The NSW Police are currently investigating this matter, so what possible role is there for an investigation whose terms of reference were set by the Catholic Church, whose costs are paid for by the Catholic Church and whose main, likely only, sources of information are Catholic Church officials? This is a report by and for the Catholic Church, and any involvement in such an exercise by people who are not themselves Catholic Church officials should not be mistaken for independence.

There is surely no place for a self generated smokescreen to obscure and deflect police efforts, findings and actions.

Would we give any credence to drug lords investigating illegal drug importation or its coverup?

Would we expect police to treat seriously a report into gang related drive-by shootings which was commissioned by bikie gang leaders?

If police find the actions of church officials to be sufficiently criminal that charges need to be laid, those officials should not be treated as above the law.

And they and their colleagues should not be handing police a report which could and should be seen as trying to dictate to police the result of a current police investigation into their own actions or lack of action.

Surely the resources poured into this and other heroic efforts to protect predator priests and those who cover up for them would be better spent assisting not obstructing the justice system, helping victims to recover, not adding to the damage from which they need to recover, and protecting children from sexual predators not protecting predators from law enforcement.

And surely the NSW Police, the NSW Government and the NSW public should file this report, if it is released, in the paper recycling bin where it belongs.

 

The Four Corners documentary, Unholy Silence, uncovered much of this evidence.

Opinion on the announcement of this investigation by Andrew Morrison SC.