Does the mention of any of the terms of ‘corruption, abuse, deception, obstruction’ cause a creepy feeling, the hairs on the back of your neck stand, or a chill run down your spine? You may have been effected by any of inappropriate issues, that are still becoming prevalent today. Most of us are familiar with the saying of “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely”. (Lord Acton)
Translations of this are often made into areas of vulnerability: Teacher-Students (pedophilia), Church Leader-Youth (child sexual abuser), Sports Coach-Player (privatelessons), Disability Carer-disabled (manipulation), Government-Indigenous (stolen generations), Caretaker-Retiree (aged care abuse) and Banks-Customers (coercion). Thankfully, there’s been many Royal Commissions called, with more to come. Our ‘RoyalCommBBC’ is only a small example of what can be possible, when the Sharing of beneficial Information-News-Experiences-Solutions are made.
A great part of any Institution, is that like members typically stick together. It’s been found that when ‘reality hits home’, many of us acknowledge that they’re not alone AND there is a simple solution available. This is where RCbbc can help, in supporting past Students, Parents and Friends in contacting experts in their fields.
HIS HONOUR: Anthony Kim Buchanan, you have pleaded guilty before me today to more than 30 offences involving the indecent treatment in various ways of young children who were in many respects in your care. Those offences appear to have commenced in 1980 and continued as late as the year 2000. During that time you were employed either as a teacher or as a personal development staff member at private schools of good fame and reputation in this area.
So far as the offences are concerned, they have been described to me in a convenient format in the schedule which has been tendered, and the learned Crown Prosecutor has touched briefly upon them.
I do not intend to dwell upon them. It can be said of them that they demonstrated on your part degrading and humiliating conduct towards the children who were the complainants. I think there is force in your counsel’s submission that with perhaps the exception of count 19 and 33 the offences involved largely exhibitionism and masochism by yourself.
In fairness I think if has to be said that the conduct described is in many respects not as horrendous as some of the descriptions that are commonly given in these types of cases, but having said that, of course, I repeat that they can only be regarded as most serious offences of a most degrading and humiliating kind.
The offences, of course, as I have just indicated, I regard as being very serious ones. What it seems to me compounds them very significantly in this case is the breach of trust that was involved with each of these offences. I think that is a very significant element to take into account on this occasion. That breach of trust is all the more exaggerated, it seems to me, if that is the right expression, by the fact that you were clearly not only a teacher of these children but you were one who was highly respected by the parents and by no doubt your colleagues at the schools at which you were employed.
Indeed, your role appears to be a greater one than merely a teacher. You were in some ways, it would seem, a counsellor to the student. Indeed, I think that was the capacity of your later employment, not only to the students but to their families and it was the trust implicit in such positions which was so terribly betrayed by you when you committed these offences. As I say, I do not intend to dwell on the offences. Their enormity speaks for itself.
The purposes of punishment are many, but it seems to me the most significant factors for me to take into account today are first the need to protect society. Secondly, the need to deter you from like offending in the future. Thirdly, the need to deter others who might be inclined or tempted to commit like offences in the future. Fourthly, I regard the denunciatory effect of sentencing, the need to state quite clearly and unequivocally society’s condemnation of this type of conduct.
As I say, they seem to me to be the most significant aspects of the punishment that I must impose to take into account, and I do not pretend to arrange them in any particular order, or that any particular significance should be placed on the order which I have mentioned them.
My usual course when sentencing and where a plea of guilty has been entered and particularly where an early plea has been entered is to recognise the early plea by a discount, if that is the right expression, because I think there are strong reasons why such pleas should be encouraged by our community.
The benefits of the saving to the community of the cost and time that trials involve is obvious. The more significant benefit, so far as I am concerned, and it is particularly pertinent in situations like these is that when an early intimation is given that a plea of guilty will be entered, the victims can then get on with their lives knowing that they will not have to relive their experiences by relating them to a group of strangers, and I think that is very important aspect.
As I say, usually it is my practice to reflect an early plea by reducing the head sentence and I then go on to consider other factors which may be pertinent to the question of what factors should be taken into account by way of mitigation. In this case, as I have already indicated, I intend to make a recommendation. It seems to me that one of the safeguards that society will have if that recommendation is acted upon will be that you will be subject to the supervision of the parole authorities. It seems to me to be desirable that that should be for as long a period as may lawfully be permitted. That is the reason why I do not propose to reflect your plea of guilty by a reduction in the head sentence. It should be given significant effect so far as the recommendation that I intend to make is concerned.
Your counsel has eloquently stated on your behalf, I think, all that can possibly be said by way of mitigation, and indeed there is much force in most of the submissions he has made to me.
I have already touched on the one factor which I regard as being very significant. That is your early plea. I have touched upon the benefits to society and, more importantly, the benefits to the victims which flow from that. It is true to observe you have been cooperative with the authorities from very shortly after these matters came to light.
An early plea is not always indicative of remorse. Often it simply reflects the strength of the Crown case. In your case, however, I am entirely satisfied that you have demonstrated remorse in a very significant way. I am satisfied that you have genuine remorse for what you have done.
It is not unusual for those who are before this Court to feel remorseful, but often one thinks that is more related to remorse about their own position rather than in respect of the position of their victims. Whilst no doubt you do feel considerable anguish about your own position, I am entirely satisfied that you have demonstrated genuine remorse so far as your victims are concerned. You appear to me to have compassion for and an understanding of their position.
You have taken steps by way of monetary compensation and by your apologies to in some way demonstrate that remorse and in some way address the harm you have done to your victims.
It seems to me you also have demonstrated some remorse for the damage which your actions must inevitably occasion to the schools at which you worked for many years.
I am satisfied that you have demonstrated a determination now to address the serious problems which you have. I am indebted to Dr Lynagh for his helpful and insightful report upon you and upon the problems which you have had and that you will face.
I should say that I take into account but not do not give particularly great weight to the fact that your own childhood experiences were in many ways somewhat frightening. They may well explain how it is you came to commit these offences, but it seems to me that for a man of your age and your obvious intelligence, it cannot be the case that they should be a significant mitigating factor.
I think it is also clear that you have retained the support of many in the community who are known to you and who, it is quite clear, in the past you have helped in significant ways. The references that have been put before me are eloquent about the compassion you have shown in the past and the understanding that you have shown to others in various unhappy circumstances. Those references come from students, from the families of students and from your former colleagues.
It seems to me that a common theme of those references are the writers expressing their dismay at learning of what you have done, to acknowledge what you have done for the evil that it was, but nonetheless to express support for you. It seems to me that it is to your credit that they should be able to feel that way. It is clear, as your counsel has said, that your teaching days are over. It is one of the tragedies of this case that it would seem to me that future students necessarily have to lose the talents of a very gifted teacher.
I take into account you are experiencing some health problems which may perhaps become more significant in the future.
In imposing the sentences I do upon you, as I have said, it seems to me we are dealing with essentially two courses of conduct separated by a number of years.
It is important to bear in mind, I think, that the public, the community has become increasingly aware of the types of problems caused by child abuse, child sexual abuse, and that concern in the community has been reflected over the years by Parliament as it has increased the penalties that apply.
Of course I am constrained by those penalties which existed at the time the offences were committed. It is for that reason it seems to me that the most appropriate course is to do as I indicated at the outset of these observations. That is, to impose a sentence of three years in respect of the earlier offences, five years in respect to the later offences.
Because it seems to me one can fairly look at the situation and see two separate courses of conduct, as I say, separated by some years, it seems to me appropriate, and indeed it seems to me that the enormity of your conduct calls for those sentences to be cumulative, whilst, as I have said, being concurrent within the temporal areas in which they were committed.
The orders I make therefore are these: on counts 1 to 19 I order that you be sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. Those sentences to be concurrent one with the other. On count 20 and the following counts, I order that you be imprisoned for five years, those sentences to be concurrent one with the other, but cumulative upon the earlier sentences.
I recommend that you be considered for post-prison community based release orders after 24 months from today. It will, of course, be a matter for the authorities at that time to consider whether it is safe for the community for you to re-enter it as a citizen.
The Crown have asked that I give consideration to the provisions of section 19 of the 1945 Act. That Act requires that I must be satisfied, if I am to make such an order, that there is a substantial risk that you will, upon your release, commit further offences of a sexual nature upon or in relation to a child under the age of 16.
I take into account the history that has been given to me of your offending in the past. I take into account the various steps you have taken, and which I have touched upon briefly since those matters were discovered to address your problems.
I place particular significance upon Dr Lynagh’s report. In saying that, of course, it is by no means clear that he guarantees success. He clearly does not. He acknowledges the difficulties that are faced by him and others of his profession who seek to help people such as yourself.
It seems to me that an order must be made upon a finding based that there is the substantial risk that is referred to. That finding, it seems to me, should be one made on the balance of probabilities.
Bearing in mind the consequences of making such an order it seems to me that whilst the balance of probabilities standard applies, I would nonetheless require proof of a fairly substantial nature to satisfy me to the requisite standard.
I find I am not satisfied that the risk referred to in the section exists in this case and I do not propose to make the order. In taking that course I am somewhat reassured by my understanding that it would be most unlikely you would regain teacher registration in this State and, secondly, by the fact that I understand that there are provisions now of a general application which would minimise the opportunities that would be open to you in the future to offend in a like manner.
Having imposed a sentence of five years’ imprisonment in respect of the later offences, I am also called upon to consider whether I should exercise my discretion and declare that you are a serious violent offender.
It is perhaps apparent from the orders that I have made that I do not regard that as being an appropriate order to make in this case and I will not make such an order.
One of BBC’s previous Staff (Nick Lloyd) today began being confronted by Court Charges. The Courier Mail had published this Article, which we hope to re-publish ASAP. The dramatic boosts in our recent Visitors had indicated searches for “Nick Lloyd” & various other BBC Teachers. These Stats should be included in future eNews.
A previous trial on the same five charges, which began in August, resulted in a hung jury, leading to a retrial.
Pell, who is on leave from his role in Rome as Vatican treasurer,was found guiltyof sexually penetrating a child under the age of 16 as well as four charges of an indecent act with a child under the age of 16. The offences occurred in December 1996 and early 1997 at St Patrick’s Cathedral, months after Pell was inaugurated as archbishop of Melbourne.
He is due to be sentenced next week but may be taken into custody at a plea hearing on Wednesday, having been out on bail since the verdict and recovering from knee surgery.
Pope Francis, who has previously praised Pell for his honesty and response to child sexual abuse, has yet to publicly react, but just two days after the unreported verdict in December the Vatican announced that Pell and two other cardinalshad been removed from the pontiff’s council of advisers.
Pell’s conviction and likely imprisonment will cause shockwaves through a global Catholic congregation and is a blow to Francis’s efforts to get a grip on sexual abuse.
The suppression order covering the case was lifted by county court chief judge Peter Kidd on Tuesday morning.
Pell walked from theMelbournecourtroom to a waiting car surrounded by a phalanx of police and press. He was jeered by survivors of sexual abuse who had gathered outside.
“You’re going to burn in hell. Burn in hell, Pell,” one man yelled.
Pell did not comment but a statement released by his solicitor Paul Galbally said the cardinal “has always maintained his innocence and continues to do so.”
“An appeal has been lodged against his conviction and he will await the outcome of the appeal process.”
One of the complainants at the centre of the case, who cannot be named, asked for privacy in the wake of the suppression order being lifted, saying he was “a regular guy working to support and protect my family as best I can.”
“Like many survivors I have experienced shame, loneliness, depression and struggle,” he said in a statement.
“Like many survivors it has taken me years to understand the impact upon my life.
“At some point we realise that we trusted someone we should have feared and we fear those genuine relationships that we should trust. I would like to thank my family near and far for their support of me, and of each other.”
Before returning to Australia to face the charges, Pell was for three years prefect of the secretariat for the economy of the Holy See, making him one of the most senior Catholics in the world. He was one of Francis’s most trusted advisers, and was handpicked to oversee the Vatican’s complex finances and root out corruption.
On the day of the dramatic verdict, after a four-and-a-half-week trial, Pell stood in the dock showing no reaction and staring straight ahead. The room was silent as the foreman told the court that the jury had found the cardinal guilty on all charges. Pell’s defence barrister, Robert Richter QC, when asked by journalists if he would appeal, responded: “Absolutely.”
Pell will now almost certainly face jail time.
The jury found that in the second half of December 1996, while he was archbishop of Melbourne, Pell walked in on two 13-year-old choirboys after a Sunday solemn mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral and sexually assaulted them.
The complainant, who is now aged 35, said he and the other choirboy had separated from the choir procession as it exited the church building. The prosecution’s case hinged on his evidence, as the other victim died in 2014 after a heroin overdose. Neither victim told anyone about the offending at the time.
After leaving the procession, the complainant said, he and the other boy sneaked back into the church corridors and entered the priest’s sacristy, a place they knew they should not be. There they found some sacramental wine and began to drink. The complainant alleged that Pell had walked in on them and told them something to the effect that they were in trouble.
Pell manoeuvred his robes to expose his penis. He stepped forward, grabbed the other boy by the back of his head, and forced the boy’s head on to his penis, the complainant told the court.
Pell then did the same thing to the complainant, orally raping him. Once he had finished, he ordered the complainant to remove his pants, before fondling the complainant’s penis and masturbating himself. The complainant said the attack lasted only a few minutes, and the boys left the room afterwards, hung up their choir robes and went home.
Being in the choir was a condition of the complainant’s scholarship to attend St Kevin’s College, an elite independent school in the affluent inner-Melbourne suburb of Toorak, the court heard.
“I knew a scholarship could be given or taken away even at that age,” the complainant told the court. “And I didn’t want to lose that. It meant so much to me. And what would I do if I said such a thing about an archbishop? It’s something I carried with me the whole of my life.”
The complainant alleged that either later that year in 1996, or in early 1997, Pell attacked him again. He said he was walking down a hallway to the choristers’ change room, again after singing at Sunday solemn mass at the cathedral, when Pell allegedly pushed him against the wall and squeezed his genitals hard through his choir robes, before walking off.
The complainant told the court that after the attacks he could not fathom what had happened to him and that he dealt with it by pushing it to the “darkest corners and recesses” of his mind.
In his police statement, the complainant said he remembered Pell “being a big force in the place”.
“He emanated an air of being a powerful person,” he said. “I’ve been struggling with this a long time … and my ability to be here. [Because] I think Pell has terrified me my whole life … he was [later] in theVatican. He was an extremely, presidentially powerful guy who had a lot of connections.”
In his closing address, the crown prosecutor Mark Gibson told the jury their verdict would come down to whether they believed the complainant beyond reasonable doubt. They should find the complainant an honest witness, Gibson said.
Pell pleaded not guilty from the beginning. He was interviewed by a Victorian detective, Christopher Reed, in Rome in October 2016, and the video of that interview was played to the court. In that interview Pell described the allegations as “a load of garbage and falsehood”.
When Reed said the attacks were alleged to have occurred after Sunday mass, Pell responded: “That’s good for me as it makes it even more fantastically impossible.”
Pell’s defence team told the jury there were so many improbabilities in the prosecution’s case that they should conclude the abuse could not have happened. Richter said it was unlikely that two boys could leave the choir procession after mass unnoticed or that the sacristy would be unattended or left unlocked, or that Pell would be able to manoeuvre his robes to show his penis in the way described by the complainant. The robes were brought into the court for jurors to view.
Richter used a PowerPoint presentation in the retrial during his closing address to the jurors, something he did not do in the first. One of the slides read: “Only a madman would attempt to rape two boys in the priests’ sacristy immediately after Sunday solemn mass.”
In his directions to the jury, Kidd told them that the trial was not an opportunity to make Pell a scapegoat for the failures of the Catholic church.
The jury took less than four days to reach their unanimous verdict.
As many as 100 journalists accused of breaching the suppression orderhave been threatened with a charge of contempt of courtand could face possible jail terms. Letters were sent to journalists from major media outlets which published or broadcast pieces in relation to the trial including News Corp, Nine Entertainment and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in February.
The reason for the strict order was that Pell faced a second trial in relation to separate alleged historical offences. The first trial was suppressed temporarily so information from it would be less likely to influence the jury in the second. Suppression orders are not unusual in such cases.
But Kidd has now ordered that reporting restrictions be liftedafter the Department of Public Prosecutions dropped the second set of charges. Kidd had ruled that key evidence was inadmissible and could not be used, significantly weakening the prosecution’s case.
President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Mark Coleridge, said the case had shocked many across Australia and around the world, “including the Catholic Bishops of Australia.”
“The bishops agree that everyone should be equal under the law, and we respect the Australian legal system. The same legal system that delivered the verdict will consider the appeal that the Cardinal’s legal team has lodged.”
“Our hope, at all times, is that through this process, justice will be served.”
Now she is speaking out in the hope of empowering others trapped in abusive situations.
“There is life after hell, but you need to learn how to believe in yourself,” she says.
A reality for many Australian adults
As confronting as Sarah’s case may be, she is not alone.
While most people assume child abuse ends at adulthood, it can bring control, fear and manipulation that can last a lifetime.
Incestuous abuse into adulthood affects roughly 1 in 700 Australians, according to research by psychiatrist Warwick Middleton — one of the world’s leading experts in trauma and dissociation. If that estimate is accurate, tens of thousands of Australian adults like Sarah are being abused by family members into their 20s or even up to their 50s.
PHOTO Warwick Middleton is one of the world’s leading experts in trauma and dissociation. ABCNEWS Tracey Shelton
“It’s a mechanism of ongoing conditioning that utilises every human’s innate attachment dynamics, and where fear and shame are used prominently to ensure silence — particularly shame,” says Professor Middleton, an academic at the University of Queensland and a former president of the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation.
He has personally identified almost 50 cases among his patients, yet there was no literature or studies on this kind of abuse when he began publishing his findings.
Hidden in ‘happy’ families, successful careers
Sydney criminologist Michael Salter has found similar patterns in his own research. He said cases of incest are “fairly likely” to continue into adulthood, but this extreme form of domestic abuse is unrecognised within our health and legal systems.
“It’s unlikely that these men are going to respect the age of consent,” says Mr Salter, who is an associate professor of criminology at Western Sydney University. “It doesn’t make sense that they would be saying, ‘Oh you’re 18 now so I’m not going to abuse you anymore’. We’re just not having a sensible conversation about it.”
The ABC spoke with 16 men and women who described being abused from childhood into adulthood.
They said their abusers included fathers, step-fathers, mothers, grandparents, siblings and uncles.
Medical and police reports, threatening messages and photos of the abuse supported these accounts. Some family members also confirmed their stories.
PHOTOSarah’s father often recorded the abuse. This image is the first in a series of five she discovered in the family home.
Sarah says her father and his friends photographed some of her abuse. One image shows her beaten and bloodied with a broken sternum at five. In another photo (pictured here), she cowers as her father approaches with a clenched fist.
Most victims described their families as “well-respected” and outwardly “normal-looking”, yet for many the abuse continued well after their marriage and the birth of their own children, as they navigated successful careers.
“You see a lot of upper-income women who are medical practitioners, barristers, physiatrists — high functioning in their day-to-day lives — being horrifically abused on the weekends by their family,” Mr Salter says.
Helen, a highly successful medical professional, says she hid sexual abuse by her father for decades.
“They didn’t see the struggle within,” she says.
A mental ‘escape’
Professor Middleton describes abuse by a parent as “soul destroying”. In order to survive psychologically, a child will often dissociate from the abuse.
Compartmentalising memories and feelings can be an effective coping strategy for a child dependent on their abuser, says Pam Stavropoulos, head of research at the Blue Knot Foundation, a national organisation that works with the adult survivors of childhood trauma.
‘I learnt to disappear’
Like a “shattered glass”, three women discuss the myths and challenges of living with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
The extreme and long-lasting nature of ongoing abuse can result in dissociative identity disorder, which on the one hand can shield a victim from being fully aware of the extent of the abuse but can also leave them powerless to break away, Ms Stavropoulos says.
Claire*, 33, describes her dissociation as both her greatest ally and her worst enemy.
“You feel like you’ve keep it so secret that you’ve fooled the world and you’ve fooled yourself,” she says.
In her family, women — her mother and grandmother — have been the primary physical and sexual abusers and she says some of her abuse is ongoing.
“In a way you have freedom, but at the same time you are trapped in a nightmare,” she says.
‘It’s like he’s melted into my flesh’
For many, the attachment to an abuser can be so strong, they lose their own sense of identity.
Kitty, who was abused by her father for more than five decades until his recent death, says she did everything her family said to try to win their love.
“I thought I was some kind of monster because I still love my father,” she says. “It’s like he’s melted into my flesh. I can feel him. He is always here.”
Raquel’s rage grew from her family’s dark past
Four years into my relationship with my new partner, I realised I was continuing a cycle of abuse. I am a survivor of family sexual abuse who was raised by a child molesterer, and I was releasing my rage on the closest person to me, writes Raquel O’Brien.
Mr Salter says the conditioning is difficult to undo, and often leaves a victim vulnerable to “opportunistic abuse” and violent relationships.
“If the primary deep emotional bond that you forge is in the context of pain and fear then that is how you know that you matter,” he says. “It’s how you know that you are being seen by someone.”
Many of those the ABC spoke with were also abused by neighbours or within the church or school system. Others married violent men.
“They don’t have the boundaries that people normally develop,” Mr Salter says, adding that parental abuse could leave them “completely blind to obvious dodgy behaviour because that’s what’s normal for them”.
‘You believe they own your body’
Professor Middleton said premature exposure to sex confuses the mind and the body and leaves a child vulnerable to involuntary sexual responses that perpetrators will frequently manipulate to fuel a sense of shame, convincing them they “want” or “enjoy” the abuse.
For Emma*, violent sexual assaults and beatings at home began when she was five and are continuing more than 40 years later.
“When you are naked, beaten, humiliated and showing physical signs of arousal, it really messes with your head. It messes with your sexuality,” she says.
“Your sense of what is OK and what isn’t becomes really confused. You come to believe that they literally own you and own your body. That you don’t deserve better than this.”
A medical report viewed by ABC shows Emma required a blood transfusion last month after sustaining significant internal tissue damage from a sharp object. The report stated Emma had a history of “multiple similar assaults”.
She said medical staff do want you to get help and sometimes offered to call police.
“What they don’t understand is that for me police are not necessarily a safe option,” she says.
As a teenager she had tried to report to the police, but was sent back home to face the consequences.
She said a “lack of understanding about the dynamics of abuse and the effects of trauma” mean victims rarely get the response and help they need.
While Emma has been unable to escape the abuse, she has made many sacrifices to shelter her children from it. But they still suffer emotionally, she says.
“It makes it hard for anyone who cares about you having to watch you hurt over and over again.”
Incest after marriage and kids
For Graham, it was devastating to find out his wife Cheryl* was being sexually abused by both her parents 10 years into their marriage.
“I had no idea it was going on,” he says, of the abuse that continued even after the birth of their children. “The fight between wanting to kill [her father] and knowing it’s wrong wasn’t fun. I don’t think people know what stress is unless they’ve been faced with something like that.”
With Graham’s support, the family cut contact with his in-laws. He says the fallout of this abuse ripples through society impacting everyone around both the abused and the abuser.
Mr Salter urges anyone suffering abuse to reach out for help, and for those around them to be supportive and non-judgemental.
“You can get out — don’t take no for an answer. Keep fighting until you find someone who is going to help you keep fighting,” he says.
A new life
Sarah met Professor Middleton after a suicide attempt at 14, but it took many years for her to trust and accept that things could change.
“I just couldn’t grasp I was free. It didn’t matter what anyone did,” she says.
“I still felt overall that my family was in control of me and at any moment they could kill me.”
Through therapy with Professor Middleton — who she spoke of as the only father figure she has ever known — and the support of her friends and partner, Sarah finally broke away from her abusive family to start a new life of her own.
“You need people to help you through it. In the same way that it took other people to cause you the pain, it takes new people to replace them and help you give yourself another go,” she says.
“If I can give hope to one other person out there, then all my years of pain will not have been for nothing.”
FORMER Mildura detective Denis Ryan has released an updated version of his book Unholy Trinity with a new chapter.
Unholy Trinity documents Mr Ryan’s story as a young detective in Mildura in the 1960s who tried to bring paedophile priest Monsignor John Day to justice, only to be blocked by the Catholic Church and the police force.
He was forced out of Victoria Police in 1972 without receiving his pension, which led to a 46-year battle for justice, which he won in May last year when he received compensation from the State Government.
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Former Mildura cop Denis Ryan has updated his book about his fight to bring a paedophile priest to justice.
Suburban Melbourne parents Chrissie and Anthony Foster learned in the 1990s that two of their daughters, Emma and Katie, were raped by their local priest, Father Kevin O’Donnell.
Emma began harming herself after the trauma forced upon her. Teenage Katie got drunk to avoid her haunting memories and was hit by a car, leaving her permanently disabled.
So began Chrissie and Anthony’s harrowing, tireless fight for justice.
After the priest was sentenced to jail, the church — through its Melbourne Response scheme — offered Emma a $50,000 payment that would require her to sign away future legal rights. The Fosters thought this grossly unfair, sued the church and eventually settled for a sum many times larger than the initial offer.
In 2008, Emma died of an overdose.
The Fosters became public figures and challenged the church’s attitudes and legal strategies.
In 2010, Chrissie published her family story in a book, Hell on the Way to Heaven.
A year later, the Victorian Government launched a parliamentary inquiry into the way religious and other institutions handled cases of child sexual abuse. The Fosters gave damning evidence against the church hierarchy.
A national campaign then led the Gillard government to announce the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The Foster story was at the forefront of the royal commission’s public hearing into the Melbourne Response. Chrissie gave evidence, supported by Anthony on the stand.
In 2017, Anthony died after collapsing in a car park. He was given a state funeral. Speakers included the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, and royal commission chairman Justice Peter McClellan.
Despite her grief, Chrissie is dedicated to continue fighting injustice so survivors and their families may receive proper compensation through redress and common law. She is also a devoted and passionate advocate for better child protection.
Denis Ryan: A country policeman ignored
It was 1956 and Denis Ryan was a young policeman on patrol in St Kilda. One night, he and his partner came across a drunken priest caught pants-down in a car with prostitutes.
The clergyman was taken into custody but was later released by another policeman.
Denis was told, “You don’t charge priests”. He also learned there were members of Victoria Police who actively protected the church from scandal.
Years later, Denis was transferred to the regional Victorian city of Mildura, where he came across the same priest he had arrested in St Kilda.
The priest was Monsignor John Day, a violent and sadistic man. A teacher and a nun told the policeman that Monsignor Day was committing crimes against children.
Denis investigated and compiled a list of victims; he sought to have the priest charged, but was prevented by senior police, including his immediate superior, Sergeant Jim Barritt — who was a close friend of Monsignor Day.
Denis wrote to the Bishop of Ballarat, Ronald Mulkearns, but received no help. Bishop Mulkearns told him that Sergeant Barritt had already cleared Monsignor Day of any allegations.
The church and police officials’ protection of Monsignor Day did two things: it was forced Denis out of the job he loved, and gave a green light to other paedophile priests in the vast Ballarat Diocese.
Denis, who still lives in Mildura, gave evidence to the royal commission and was supported by former Victoria Police chief commissioner Mick Miller.
The force officially apologised to him in 2016, but he has still not been properly compensated for his ruined career.
In his final speech last month before handing down recommendations, Justice McClellan explained how police in Victoria and NSW actively protected church officials, when their highest priority should have been protecting children.
Paul Tatchell: A boy who fought back
After Monsignor Day was allowed to go free, criminal clergy in the Ballarat Diocese became emboldened.
St Alipius Primary School was ruled by four paedophiles, all working there at the same time. They included the notorious Gerald Ridsdale, and a violent sex offender called Brother Ted Dowlan, who ran one of the boarding houses at St Patrick’s College. He later changed his name to Ted Bales.
Br Dowlan, whose bedroom was attached to the Year 7 students’ dormitory, beat and raped children at will.
One night, he raped a boy called Paul Tatchell, who fought back. After being attacked in Br Dowlan’s room, Paul began punching the clergyman.
Leaving the Brother crying on the floor, Paul ran from the room and tried to call his parents for help, but the school’s headmaster and other staff locked him in a closet until morning.
Paul was then expelled. The church leadership did not report Br Dowlan to police. He remained a free man until Paul and other victims came forward to make police statements in the early 1990s.
He watched from the back of a courtroom as the law finally punished his attacker.
Paul gave evidence at the royal commission. So did the school headmaster, Brother Paul Nangle, who claimed he never knew Br Dowlan was a sex offender.
But the evidence was overwhelming. Paul went into the army, and then into business. He now owns a newspaper, and was recently elected Mayor of Moorabool Shire, east of Ballarat, for the third time.
He does not consider himself a “victim” and says he does not suffer the same type of post-traumatic stress as other former boarders — perhaps because he punched back, and could not be controlled like others.
As part of his interview for the ABC documentary Undeniable, Paul went back to the room where he was raped for the first time.
He will never return to that building.
Joanne McCarthy: Uncovering devastating secrets
In 2006, Newcastle Herald reporter Joanne McCarthy received a phone call that set her on a path to becoming one of Australia’s finest investigative journalists.
The voice at the other end of the line asked her why a priest who had been convicted of child sexual assault was not being written about in the newspaper.
Joanne looked into it, and found the tip-off to be accurate, but on questioning church authorities, she immediately detected they were lying.
For children, the Newcastle-Maitland region had been a dangerous place for decades. The cover-up of crimes was effective and unrelenting.
But Joanne’s work began unravelling the truth. She would go on to write more than a thousand stories on clergy sex abuse and institutional cover-ups within both the Catholic and Anglican churches.
In 2012, John Pirona, a fireman and victim of clergy sex abuse, disappeared after leaving a note that read “too much pain”. Joanne and the Herald covered the story and later reported on John’s death by suicide.
On the night of John’s funeral, Joanne decided enough was enough and wrote an editorial calling for a royal commission.
Her work, along with that of courageous Lateline journalist Suzanne Smith, led to senior NSW detective Peter Fox deciding to speak out on the issue.
Soon after, then-prime minister Julia Gillard ordered the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
In the final moments of her prime ministership, she wrote a letter of endorsement for Joanne’s work in changing Australia forever.
Joanne was awarded Australian journalism’s highest honour, the Gold Walkley.
The reporter who took that phone call 11 years ago is still investigating and writing. She believes there is much work to do in delivering justice to survivors and better protection to children in all states and territories.
Rob Walsh: ‘No more suicides’
The royal commission would not have been possible without the revelations in Ballarat.
In the years preceding the inquiry, Rob Walsh was one of the survivors who helped publicise the consequences of abuse, by working with police to expose a tragically nigh number of suicides in the city.
While dealing with his own acute trauma, he supported others — and still is.
A subsequent NSW Special Commission of Inquiry found senior church officials withheld evidence from police.
The inquiry did not find evidence of a conspiracy by police to stall investigations and said Peter had lost objectivity in investigating the church.
But Peter’s courageous appearance motivated the Australian public to start talking about the need for a royal commission, which prime minister Gillard soon ordered.
Peter had been investigating paedophile priests for many years.
He built strong relationships with victims and provided them great comfort.
After acting as whistleblower, his position in NSW Police was untenable; he sacrificed his beloved career to reveal critical details of abuse and institutional interference in the Newcastle-Maitland region.
Before and after the interview, Lateline played a leading role in forcing Australia’s largest national inquiry into child sexual abuse.
For many years, reporter Suzanne Smith led the Lateline investigations.
“We focused very much on the leadership of the church. By elevating their significance on Lateline, we gave the stories a national focus. It also led to many victims, in other states, coming forward,” Suzanne says.
Former executive producer John Bruce says the interview with Peter was the tipping point.
“While there were subsequent attempts to undermine the value of Inspector Fox’s interview, many in the Newcastle and broader Australian community regarded him as a hero for triggering the royal commission,” he says.
In turn, Peter praised the media for its role in bringing about the inquiry.
Over decades, journalists and editors from almost all Australian television networks, news radio programs, major and regional newspapers, as well as online media, have chipped away at institutional denials and evasion.
Without the work of the press, the dark secrets of some churches, governments, charities, schools and other organisations would have remained forever untold.
John Ellis: A survivor finally heard
John Ellis was a key witness in one of the most dramatic royal commission public hearings.
The lawyer says the nation’s largest inquiry into child abuse has made Australia a better place.
“The way that they’ve gone about it has answered every challenge,” he says.
The royal commission heard evidence from John, church officials and lawyers. It gave all an insight into the tactics of the church’s legal team.
At the end of the hearing, Cardinal George Pell conceded the church dealt with John unfairly from “a Christian point of view”. The cardinal later issued the survivor an apology.
Looking back at his daunting role in the inquiry, John says, “I had the sense, really, as soon as the royal commission was announced that this was going to be a momentous time in our country”.
“What I didn’t realise was how important it would be for me personally as an individual to finally be listened to the first time.
And to be able to stand up to an institution like the church, I can’t put into words what that’s meant for me.
John and his wife Nicola, also a lawyer, represent many survivors seeking redress for the crimes committed against them.
In 2014, he was awarded the Australian Lawyers Alliance annual Civil Justice Award for “unwavering diligence, passion, vision and resilience”.
He says the Catholic Church still has no uniform approach to survivors seeking justice.
“There are parts of the Catholic Church who have been integral in working towards collaborative processes that we’ve developed,” John says.
“And there have been parts of the Catholic Church who have impeded that and sought to destroy it and break it down. I think I’ll reserve judgement on where that stands on balance.
“I think in a lot of ways it remains to be seen, and particularly after the spotlight of the royal commission is off, the church as a whole … which way it will go with that.”
He doubts the Commonwealth Government’s national redress scheme will achieve all its aims.
“I think it’s a good thing and a necessary thing. And it’s an essential part of the whole response that there be a safety net for the thousands and thousands of people who otherwise would have no avenue to redress, and would have no institution to approach for what had happened to them.
“But as a substitute for proper and effective responses from the institutions, I don’t think that that’s the answer.”
“Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis” is what a New York Times Article is titled, followed by the overplayed icon photograph:
Facebook has gone on the attack as one scandal after another — Russian meddling, data sharing, hate speech — has led to a congressional and consumer backlash.CreditCreditTom Brenner for The New York Times
Having paid significant attention to moments that FB-Facebook has appeared on Australia’s ABC, I recognised similarities between one monolith & that of church Institutions in Australia. National Redress Scheme is applicable to any Child Abuse Survivour, yet hearing of deaths before Compensation &/or Redress is made seems to reignite the fire.
Please read through the linked Article above: “The long, painful wait …” to read information such as the following:
“These figures confirm what we have known; there is huge inequity between the Catholic Church’s wealth and their responses to survivors,” said Helen Last, chief executive of the In Good Faith Foundation, which supports abuse survivors.
“The 600 survivors registered for our foundation’s services continue to experience minimal compensation and lack of comprehensive care in relation to their church abuses. They say their needs are the lowest of church priorities.”
Healy said the church’s meeting the claims of survivors whose complaints of abuse were upheld was “amongst its highest priorities”. He said that since that report the church had paid an extra $17.2 million to survivors.
The Age’sinvestigation also calls into question the privileges the church enjoys, including exemptions from nearly all forms of taxation and billions of dollars in government funding each year to run services – $7.9 billion for its Australian schools alone in 2015.
It involved obtaining property valuations from 36 Victorian councils, including most of the Melbourne metropolitan area, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo, many under freedom of information.
It identified more than 1860 church-owned properties with “capital improved value” (land plus buildings) of just under $7 billion.