Posted Wed 4 Oct 2023 at 7:45amWednesday 4 Oct 2023 at 7:45am, updated Wed 4 Oct 2023 at 10:59amWednesday 4 Oct 2023 at 10:59am
A former Queensland childcare worker accused of sexually abusing 91 children can now be named under new Queensland laws.
Mr Griffith has been charged has with 136 counts of rape and 110 counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 10
The case will be heard in court again on November 6
He can now be named under Queensland law changes, brought into effect yesterday
Gold Coast man Ashley Paul Griffith, 45, is facing more than 1,600 child sex offences, including rape and indecent treatment of a child, stemming from a major Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigation.
Police allege the offences were committed between 2007 and 2022 while Mr Griffith was working in 10 childcare centres in Brisbane, one in Sydney and one overseas.
Mr Griffith has been in custody in Queensland since August, 2022, when the AFP arrested and charged him on two counts of making child exploitation material and one count of using a carriage service for child abuse material.
Within hours, further alleged child abuse material was discovered on his electronic devices, the AFP said.
The AFP alleges Mr Griffith recorded all the offences, which were against pre-pubescent girls, on his phone and cameras.
He has been charged with 136 counts of rape and 110 counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 10.
The matter was briefly mentioned in court on August 21, with Crown prosecutor Steven Dickson requesting an adjournment until January due to the “voluminous” nature of the case material.
Family and domestic violence support services:
If you need help immediately call emergency services on triple-0
Deputy Chief Magistrate Anthony Gett said he would not adjourn the matter to January.
“I still want to bring it back to see how it’s going, I don’t want to adjourn for such a long time … that’s five months away,” he said.
Mr Griffith’s lawyer made no application for bail.
The case will be heard in court again on November 6.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Justine Gough said authorities are “highly confident” all children allegedly recorded in Australia have been identified.
“In September 2022, the AFP coordinated a joint agency task force with the Queensland Police Service at the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation to review nearly 4,000 images and videos the man had allegedly created,” she said.
“Law enforcement has been working very closely with all the relevant childcare centres for the past year, and we thank them for their cooperation.”
Assistant Commissioner Gough said up to 35 members were involved in Operation Tenterfield from August, 2022. She said the operation was “complex” and required “highly skilled victim identification specialists”.
“There is not much solace I can give parents and children who have been identified under Operation Tenterfield, but I can tell you we never gave up and we never will when it comes to protecting children.”
New laws came into effect this week
The law changes, which came into place yesterday, mean accused rapists and adults charged with sexual offences can be named by the media before they go to trial.
This brings the rules around the offences into line with those for all other criminal offences, and brings the state into line with every other jurisdiction, apart from the Northern Territory.
Dysregulation, or emotional dysregulation, is an inability to control or regulate one’s emotional responses, which can lead to significant mood swings, significant changes in mood, or emotional lability. It can involve many emotions, including sadness, anger, irritability, and frustration.
While dysregulation is typically thought of as a childhood problem that usually resolves itself as a child learns proper emotional regulation skills and strategies, dysregulation may continue into adulthood.
For these individuals, emotional dysregulation can lead to a lifetime of struggles, including problems with interpersonal relationships, school performance, and the inability to function effectively in a job or at work.
Press Play for Advice On Regulating Your Emotions
Hosted by therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares how to deal with your emotions in any circumstance that may come your way. Click below to listen now.
Why is it that some people have no trouble remaining calm, cool, and collected while others fall apart at the first instance of something going wrong in their life?
The answer is that there are likely multiple causes; however, there is one that has been consistently shown in the research literature. That cause is early psychological trauma resulting from abuse or neglect on the part of the caregiver.1 This results in something known as a reactive attachment disorder.
In addition, a parent who has emotional dysregulation will also struggle to teach their child how to regulate emotions. Since children are not naturally born with emotional regulation coping skills, having a parent who cannot model effective coping puts a child at risk for emotional dysregulation themselves.
Is Dysregulation a Mental Disorder?
While dysregulation isn’t necessarily a mental disorder (or a sign of one), we know that emotional dysregulation in childhood can be a risk factor for later mental disorders. Some disorders are also more likely to involve emotional dysregulation.
Below is a list of the disorders most commonly associated with emotional dysregulation:2
When emotional dysregulation appears as part of a diagnosed mental disorder, it typically involves a heightened sensitivity to emotional stimuli and a lessened ability to return to a normal emotional state within a reasonable amount of time.
What Are Signs of Dysregulation?
In general, emotional dysregulation involves having emotions that are overly intense in comparison to the situation that triggered them. This can mean not being able to calm down, avoiding difficult emotions, or focusing your attention on the negative. Most people with emotional dysregulation also behave in an impulsive manner when their emotions (fear, sadness, or anger) are out of control.
Below are some examples of what it looks like when someone is experiencing emotional dysregulation.
Your romantic partner cancels plans and you decide they must not love you and you end up crying all night and binging on junk food.
The bank teller says they can’t help you with a particular transaction and you’ll need to come back the next day. You have an angry outburst, yell at the teller, and throw a pen across the counter at them.
You attend a company dinner and everyone seems to be talking and having fun while you feel like an outsider. After the event, you go home and overeat to numb your emotional pain. This is also an example of poor coping mechanisms and emotional eating.
Emotional dysregulation can also mean that you have trouble recognizing the emotions that you are experiencing when you become upset. It might mean that you feel confused by your emotions, guilty about your emotions, or are overwhelmed by your emotions to the point that you can’t make decisions or manage your behavior.
Note that the behaviors of emotional dysregulation may show up differently in children, involving temper tantrums, outbursts, crying, refusing to make eye contact or speak, etc.
Impact of Emotional Dysregulation
Being unable to manage your emotions and their effects on your behavior can have a range of negative effects on your adult life. For instance:
You might have trouble sleeping.
You might struggle to let experiences go or hold grudges longer than you should.
You might get into minor arguments that you blow out of proportion to the point that you end up ruining relationships.
You might experience negative effects on your social, work, or school functioning.
You might develop a mental disorder later in life because of a poor ability to regulate your emotions (e.g., depression)
Problems complying with requests from teachers or parents
Problems making and keeping friends
Reduced ability to focus on tasks
How Do You Fix Dysregulation?
The two main options for treating emotion dysregulation are medication and therapy, depending on the individual situation. Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.
Medication may be used to treat emotion dysregulation when it is part of a larger mental disorder. For example, ADHD will be treated with stimulants, depression will be treated with antidepressants, and other issues might be treated with antipsychotics.
In terms of therapy for emotional dysregulation, the main treatment method has been what is known as dialectical behavior therapy(DBT).3 This form of therapy was originally developed by Marsha Linehan in the 1980s to treat individuals experiencing BPD.4
In general, this type of therapy involves improving mindfulness, validating your emotions, and engaging in healthy habits. It also teaches the skills needed to regulate your emotions. Through DBT, you learn to focus on the present moment, how to become aware of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and how to deal with stressful situations.
DBT argues that there are three “states of mind:”4
Reasonable mind refers to being logical and rational.
Emotional mind refers to your moods and sensations.
Wise mind refers to the combination of your reasonable mind and your emotional mind.
DBT is about showing you that you can see situations as shades of grey rather than all black and white (in other words, combining your emotional mind and logic mind).
If you’ve just experienced a stressful situation or crisis and want to try a little DBT at home, pull out a journal and answer these questions.
What was the event that caused you distress?
What did you think about in the situation? (Write down three main thoughts.)
How did these thoughts make you feel? (Write down any physical symptoms, things you did like crying, or feelings like being upset.)
What was the consequence of the thoughts you had?
The goal of DBT is to balance your emotions with logic to obtain more positive outcomes from the situations that you find stressful. The goal is also to teach you to become more aware of the connections between your thoughts, feelings, and actions. In this way, it’s expected that you will be able to better manage your emotions in your daily life.
If you are a parent of a child who struggles with emotion dysregulation, you might be wondering what you can do to support your child. It is true that children learn emotion regulation skills from their parents. You have the ability to teach your child how to manage emotions rather than become overwhelmed by them. Here are some ways you can support them:
Your child also needs to know that they can reach out to you for help and comfort when needed. Having a supportive and reliable parent figure in their life will help to protect them against problems with emotional dysregulation.
Recognize your own limitations. Do you have a mental disorder or have you struggled with your own emotion regulation skills? If so, you and your child might benefit from you receiving treatment or therapy to build up your own resilience. When you are better able to manage your own distress, then you will be able to offer the most support to your child.
Lead by example. In addition, the best way to teach your child how to manage their emotions is not to demand that they behave in a certain way or punish them for acting out. Rather, the best option is to model the desired behavior yourself that you want them to adopt.
Adjust accordingly. It can be helpful to start to recognize triggers for your child’s behavior and have a back-up plan of effective ways to deal with acting out. For example, if your child always has a tantrum when you take them to buy shoes, try picking out a pair in their size and bringing them home for them to try on.
Maintain consistent routines. Children who struggle with emotion dysregulation benefit from predictability and consistency.5 Your child needs to know that you will be there for them when they need you and that they can rely on you to be the calming presence. When your own emotions are out of control, then it is much more likely that your child will be unable to manage their own emotions.
Seek accommodations or additional support. If your child is in school, it is also important that you talk to their teacher about their problems with emotion regulation. Talk about the strategies that you use at home and how your child might need extra help in the classroom or reminders on how to calm down. If your child has a diagnosed disorder, they may be on a special education plan that allows accommodations or gives them extra help. Be sure to take advantage of that.
Reward positive behavior. If you see your child acting in ways that are positive for emotion management, comment on those positive behaviors. Find ways to reward emotion management successes so that they will become more frequent.
Whether it’s you, your child, or someone you know who struggles with emotion dysregulation, it is important to know that this is something that can improve over time. In fact, 88% of those diagnosed with BPD are not predicted to meet criteria 10 years down the road.6 This goes to show that emotion regulation strategies can be learned and are very helpful for improving your situation and living the best life possible.
Regardless of your current circumstances, you can make changes that will result in improved social, school, and work functioning. You can learn to manage the stressful situations that cause you pain and work through past hurts or mistreatment that led you to where you are today.
By Arlin Cuncic, MA Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of “Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder” and “7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety.” She has a Master’s degree in psychology.
Amongst the growing amount of public acknowledgment, that ‘those foreign cases of #childabuse’ are in fact happening within their own neighbourhood, at their own school, or ‘worst still’ to their own children – it’s understandable that some parent’s concerns won’t be for that safety of their own victimised child, but for themselves to be able to reclaim “wasted monies”. As we now live in a consumerist society, occasionally we hear of broken families, where their sole-concern is in filling their own hip pockets with some of that 💰, as fractures often occur in these horse-or-cart structures. (Experienced Satire)
As examples of some Private/Elite schools in Brisbane who’ve offered out some damages-compensation-(not hush money), here are some examples + links:
As these were just a handful of examples of how a church-founded country of Australia, can be dealing with immersed control of a tax-free body, whilst still battling for equal rights of colonial-Indigenous after-effects – there are many more layers to unpack!
A child can never give consent. The sexual abuse of a child is just that – abuse. This abhorrent crime must be called what it is and we need to begin with the foundations, by ensuring that the correct terminology is entrenched in our legislation.
We may not realise it, but the words we use when we speak about child sexual abuse have immense power. They can change our perception as a society about this issue, and they can either shame or empower a victim-survivor of this crime.
Our general discomfort with the topic of child sexual abuse has historically led to the use of language which deprioritises the safety of children in Australia’s legislation. The State and Territory laws are inconsistent in their definitions, with many states having referred to the ‘persistent sexual abuse of a child’ as a ‘relationship’.
Recognising the harm and stigma that this causes victim-survivors, The Grace Tame Foundation launched their ‘Harmony Campaign’ in February 2022, which is aimed at making child sexual abuse laws consistent across all jurisdictions in Australia. The disparities around the age of consent, the definition of sexual intercourse, what consent is and grooming, as well as the language used to describe the crime, trivialise the experiences of victims and are often exploited by perpetrators.
The former Australian of the Year has been relentless in her pursuit of these changes, seeing success across the country in how State and Territory legislation refers to the crime. As at August 2023, the word ‘relationship’ has been removed nationwide from the heading of the criminal offence of the ‘persistent sexual abuse of a child’. This is a significant achievement, and the first step towards their aim of removing the word ‘relationship’ from all parts of the offence of child sexual abuse in every jurisdiction.
“Softened wording doesn’t reflect the gravity of the crime, it feeds into victim-blaming attitudes, eases the conscience of perpetrators and gives license to characterise abuse as romance.”The Grace Tame Foundation, Harmony Campaign
Grace Tame has been a powerful advocate for the voice of victim-survivors of child sexual abuse, reminding us through her tireless work that children deserve our commitment to protecting them from harm. Despite how confronting this crime is, we need to engage in public conversations in a mindful and trauma-informed way to remove the stigma surrounding the issue. With the Australian Child Maltreatment Study revealing that 28.5% of Australians have experienced child sexual abuse, this epidemic is not something that we can ignore. It may be difficult to speak about, but children need us to lean into the discomfort to both acknowledge the pain and trauma of victim-survivors and prevent more children from being abused.
With recent high profile media cases shing a spotlight on the issue of child sexual abuse we are currently experiencing an increase in the public conversation surrounding the issue, particularly relating to changes we need to make to current systems in order to protect children from abuse and exploitation. An increase in discourse means an increase in the need for a better understanding of how we refer to this abuse, and how that discussion impacts victim-survivors. The new reporting guidelines for media reporting on child sexual abuse, developed for the National Office for Child Safety (NOCS) are designed to keep the victim-survivor voice at the centre of this topic.
The work of The Grace Tame Foundation affirms just how important, and guiding, the victim-survivor voice is in shaping both our response to and perception of child sexual abuse.
Whether you have an active role in child protection, you’re a parent, you work in the child care sector, or simply as a member of society, we can all play an active role in supporting victim-survivors. And the easiest to do this is by engaging in meaningful public discourse using the most appropriate language. In 2016 ‘The Terminology Guidelines for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse’ were adopted in Luxembourg, establishing a global standard for terminology in relation to child sexual abuse. This is a helpful and comprehensive guide used by many organisations involved in working against this crime. ICMEC Australia has created a simple summary of these global standards for those who would like to start the process of better understanding the correct terminology.
We are encouraged by the achievements of The Grace Tame Foundation in championing the rights of victim-survivors of child sexual abuse. Every milestone that is documented in the media creates more public awareness of this crime. But their Harmony Campaign is not finished. Laws in most states and territories across Australia (except Victoria and Western Australia) continue to use the term ‘relationship’ in other parts of the offence legislation. Using trauma-informed language is essential in helping children feel safe and supported enough to report abuse and to recognise harmful behaviour. It takes champions like Grace Tame to share the victim-survivor voice. Now let’s work together to help her and other advocates remove the stigma that has surrounded sexual abuse and exploitation for too long.
A quarter of girls and 1 in 13 boys will experience sexual abuse before they are 18 years old, according to CDC estimates.
People who have experienced child sexual abuse (CSA) are more likely to experience disorders such as depression, anxiety and PTSD.
CSA can also have long-term impacts on physical health, with people being more likely to report pain, gastrointestinal symptoms and obesity.
In addition, CSA is linked to negative social effects, such as sexual or relationship problems, and socioeconomic outcomes, such as lower income.
Child sexual abuse (CSA) is an adverse childhood experience (ACE) that has serious long-term consequences for those who have been victimized. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys will experience sexualabuse before they are 18. Not only are there psychological consequences to CSA, but longitudinal research has also found that CSA results in negative health, psychosocial, and socioeconomic outcomes for those who have been abused.
The Psychological Consequences of CSA
Many studies have examined the long-term psychological impact of CSA. A recent research review of over four million people found that those who experienced CSA are between two and three times more likely to experience the following disorders compared to adults who were not abused:
It should be noted that many of the psychological consequences of CSA can take years to develop as the abuse is thought to alter brain structure and chemistry during its developmental period. For example, one study found that the average time between the abuse and the onset of depression was 11.5 years, while another studyfound an average of 9.2 years from the time of abuse to the onset of depression and 8 years until the onset of PTSD.
The Physical Consequences of CSA
Numerous studies have also shown that there are long-term impacts to the physical health of those who experienced CSA. Across studies, adults who experienced CSA were 1.35 to 2.12 times more likely to report health problems such as:
As a result of these health problems, adults with a history of CSA use health care more frequently than those without a history of CSA, spending on average 16% more per year. Notably, however, a history of CSA is also associated with lower odds of having health insurance and receiving a general check-up (preventative care) in the past year.
The Psychosocial Impacts of CSA
Researchers have also documented many negative social consequences of CSA including:
Sadly, there is considerable evidence to suggest that those who have experienced CSA are also likely to be revictimized. A recent study involving 12,252 survivors found that 47.5% were sexually victimized again later in life. Similarly, there is also evidence to suggest that the children of women who have been abused are also more likely to be abused themselves, suggesting that the cycle of abuse may continue into the next generation.
The Socioeconomic Consequences of CSA
From an economic perspective, it is estimated the average lifetime cost of child maltreatment (including CSA) per survivor is $830,928. Compared to adults who had not been abused, survivors of CSA were found to:
Earn on average $8,000 less per year
Be less likely to have a bank account, or own stock, a vehicle, or home
Be three times more likely to be out of work due to sickness and disability
Be 14% more likely to be unemployed in general
Be less likely to go to, or graduate from college
Be less likely to have a skilled job
As is clear from the research, CSA significantly negatively impacts all facets of life — not only for those who experience childhood sexual abuse themselves, but also for their loved ones and society at large. Thus, we must all do what we can to prevent sexual abuse before it happens, and provide support and services to those who have already experienced CSA.
The student called on his peers to put an end to slurs and derogatory comments, to stand up to “any man” if they see it happening, and keep their mates accountable.
“Each and every one of us have an obligation to each other to not follow the ways of the past, and to take our future on a new path,” he said.
The speech was lauded on social media for inspiring a change in culture but drew some criticism that the same attitudes were not held among his peers.
One 16-year-old Brisbane schoolgirl, Anya, voiced her frustration that the speech had received so much praise “over the voices of millions of women around the world, some of whom in recent weeks have had the courage to be vulnerable when sharing their past experiences with sexual assault”.
“It’s been widely recognised a massive part of the problem is the way men are praised for doing the bare minimum yet women are compelled to overcompensate for their lack to “keep them safe”, her post on Instagram said.
More worrying though, Douglas was the subject of current and very serious child abuse complaints relating to the three-year-old son of young Brisbane single mother, Jane Henderson*.
Sergeant Danslow tracked down Ms Henderson who revealed how she had allegedly been lured into the web of Douglas and, in turn, McLaughlin.
In 1997, during a night out in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, Ms Henderson said she met McLaughlin’s heroin-addicted driver and began seeing him socially.
He bragged to her about the “wonderful” Christian Brothers and how they helped him through some bad times, according to her police statement sighted by the ABC.
Ms Henderson said the man took her and her young son *Bruce to meet McLaughlin.
She said the Christian Brother expressed sympathy for her travails as a single mother and thought her two-year-old son Bruce “was wonderful”.
Later McLaughlin allegedly introduced her to Douglas who appeared personable and trustworthy and soon became close friends with Ms Henderson who let him babysit Bruce.
During the school holidays she allowed Douglas to take Bruce to the Christian Brothers’ beach house at Tugun on the Gold Coast.
Accompanying the pair were Ms Henderson’s two younger brothers — both in their early teens — and one of their young teenage friends.
On their return, it was clear something horrific occurred, according to Ms Henderson.
Her younger brother was in a rage, telling her that one of the boys had tried to run away and Douglas had behaved weirdly and was a “feeler” and a “groper”.
She noticed sexualised behaviour by Bruce and some injuries.
Furious, Ms Henderson went to police who arrested Douglas on child abuse charges.
When interviewed by police, Douglas confessed to some of the child abuse and claimed he had sexual interactions with McLaughlin, according to Sergeant Danslow.
Supporting aspects of Douglas’s story were extensive diaries he had kept over the past decade chronicling his regular contact with McLaughlin.
No direct admissions of Douglas’s child abuse crimes were evident in the neat handwritten entries, but they appeared to document Douglas’s extensive involvement with the children of disadvantaged families via his association with McLaughlin.
McLaughlin’s lawyers said their client didn’t know until “approximately 1998” that Douglas had been through the courts and pled guilty to child abuse.
They also stated that when their client became aware of Douglas entering school grounds, a directive was issued to Douglas in 1991, not to enter without first contacting the school and seeking authority from college officials.
But the diaries appeared to show that Douglas had the run of Nudgee College for years, often interacting with students on the campus well after 1991.
In one entry from December 3, 1992, Douglas described a visit to Nudgee where he associated with boarders.
Another entry in 1997 described Douglas taking one of the young boys he was later accused of abusing “for a tour” of school grounds.
How the Christian Brother allegedly assisted the child molester
Importantly, the diaries contained references to McLaughlin dispatching Douglas to meet or “help” single mothers who usually had young male children.
“Steve told me last night that I might be able to help a young 26-year-old lady who is an alcoholic. And needs support,” Douglas wrote on January 13, 1997.
“I’m over willing to help her, she has two boys, eight and six years.”
The detective now suspected that at the very least McLaughlin was exposing highly vulnerable children to the likes of Douglas.
The diaries provided clues to the children’s identities. One entry cited a “Dion” and his three brothers alongside an address on Brisbane’s northside.
Sergeant Danslow located Dion and his brothers in the care of their addict single mother.
The boys had been getting support from McLaughlin but with their mother battling addiction and a boyfriend who had just been in the justice system, obtaining evidence was impossible, Sergeant Danslow said.
The ABC recently found Dion living in country Victoria.
He alleged McLaughlin and Douglas had a close association with his family.
Chain smoking and emotional, the recovering alcoholic and former foster child is still angry about how he says his family were allegedly targeted by the two men.
“Mum and Dad … they only had us kids back then, probably to get the money,” he said.
“I lived in a shed in the back yard. I made it my own. I was sick of the yelling and fighting in the house.”
Dion said he went to live with his mother when his parents split up but when he tried to stop her new boyfriend from hitting her, she headbutted him in the face, breaking his nose, and her boyfriend then hurled him through a wall.
“Our parents didn’t care at all. I don’t remember ever seeing a social worker about any of this,” he said.
But someone who did show up to help was Brother McLaughlin.
“I didn’t like him from the start. He used to make my younger brothers sit on his lap. I’d been abused in foster care (in Victoria) and I knew what was going on,” Dion said.
He said the Christian Brother showered gifts on the four boys and their mother who struggled to care for them.
Dion said McLaughlin took them to stay in motels and to a house within the grounds of Nudgee College during the school holidays, but he did not witness any abuse.
He said they were also left alone in the company of Douglas, who told them he often acted as a driver for McLaughlin.
“I knew he (Douglas) was a paedophile. He drove around with me sitting in the front seat and I could see him masturbating,” Dion said.
In May 1997, Douglas offered to take Dion, his brothers and one of their teenage friends to his family’s farm at Mapleton in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
Dion said he didn’t go due to his suspicions of Douglas, but the other children did.
During the stay one of Dion’s brothers said they woke to see Douglas trying to sexually assault their young friend.
Angry and scared, the boys panicked and fled, according to Dion.
The suspect who was one step ahead
Meanwhile, Sergeant Danslow was on the trail of another family he suspected of being involved with McLaughlin and Douglas but he couldn’t get the family to talk.
Sergeant Danslow turned his focus to Douglas who agreed to assist in the police investigation, alleging he was manipulated by Brother McLaughlin after reconnecting with him as an adult.
Sergeant Danslow had Douglas make a covertly recorded phone call to the Christian Brother.
During the call, the pair discussed Douglas being under investigation for abusing Ms Henderson’s son.
No admissions were made by McLaughlin but he allegedly encouraged Douglas to withhold information from the police, according to transcripts of the calls.
“Be careful with that (the information in the diaries) because that might be used in evidence … you should take things out that you don’t want to be there … because just get rid of it,” McLaughlin said.
The pair also discussed how McLaughlin had lent Douglas money, how they had been away together and whether police knew.
When Douglas said it was “just over night”, McLaughlin replied: “Just generally a day and a night together, were they (the police) implying that I might have been one of the bad guys or something like that you know?”
In a second call on December 7, 1997, McLaughlin asked Douglas if his mother thought the two had been involved in a sexual relationship.
Sergeant Danslow suspected McLaughlin knew about the police investigation.
Those suspicions were confirmed when he brought in the police’s surveillance team.
The plain clothes officers, who normally followed dangerous drug dealers, violent bikies or murderers, tailed the Christian Brother as he visited toy shops buying bikes and gifts for children.
During the surveillance, McLaughlin suddenly sped off down a remote country road, slammed on the brakes, leapt out of his car and started filming the undercover officers.
Annoyed, the team leader rang Sergeant Danslow.
“He knows. We’re finished here,” the leader said.
Shortly afterwards Sergeant Danslow received a call from McLaughlin’s lawyer who asked him if police were tailing his client.
“I said ‘you know I can’t say anything’.
“Well, if they are your people, they are not very good at it,” the lawyer said.
The rallying cry
While Sergeant Danslow knew McLaughlin was awake to the police investigation, he didn’t realise he was calling on some powerful allies – the alumni of Nudgee College.
Six days before the secretly recorded phone call with Douglas, McLaughlin stood to make an extraordinary address to the pupils, parents and old boys of Nudgee College at the school’s speech night.
Instead of only platitudes for high-achieving students, the speech turned into a desperate plea to the Nudgee faithful to reject allegations of paedophilia involving Christian Brothers.
“I’ve thrown away the speech I was going to give,” McLaughlin started.
“…we are facing an orchestrated campaign where few individuals are systematically targeting and attempting to destroy the hard-won reputations of brother after brother,” he said.
He asked the audience to “fight for the Christian Brothers because we need you to support us in this time of real need.”
The call for help was heard at the highest levels of government. Twelve days later, then Liberal Federal Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs John Herron rose in the Senate in Canberra.
The distinguished politician graciously thanked the Christian Brothers for his own education and then began reciting parts of McLaughlin’s speech before tabling it in its entirety.
Around the same time, Sergeant Danslow’s bosses started receiving calls from high-profile individuals asking “what’s Danslow doing to that good man?”
Furious, Sergeant Danslow fired off a transcript of the call between McLaughlin and Douglas to his boss and heard no more.
Rohypnol and a hangman’s noose
As the investigation progressed into 1999 another alleged victim came forward, also connected to Douglas.
Teenager David Wilson* was a champion junior swimmer who attended a school in inner Brisbane and was living with his single mother.
Around May 1997, the schoolboy, then aged 15, attended a party at a New Farm restaurant where he says he met Douglas who later introduced him to McLaughlin.
Some days later, the teen was invited to stay the night at a Brisbane hotel with Douglas and McLaughlin where he alleged the Brother molested him in the motel spa and then later in the motel room, according to a copy of a statement he gave to police that was tendered in civil court proceedings.
He alleged he witnessed Douglas and McLaughlin also engage in sex. Mr Wilson alleged the Christian Brother then became infatuated with him.
“He told me he loved me. He promised to get me into a different school, a drama school in Sydney,” Mr Wilson told the ABC.
In exchange for clothing and money, which eventually totalled $20,000, Mr Wilson alleged he regularly met McLaughlin for sex, according to a police statement sighted by the ABC.
During one stay at the Coronation Motel, Mr Wilson alleged a surreal scene unfolded.
Out on the high-rise motel balcony, the then-teenager alleged the Christian Brother smoked marijuana in a bong before going inside to have sex with him.
Mr Wilson said he came forward with his allegations about McLaughlin because he was struggling emotionally after losing a friend to suicide.
Police had the teenager wear a listening device and meet McLaughlin in a coffee shop in Brisbane’s Queen Street mall.
Again, McLaughlin made no admissions during the secretly recorded conversation, but he allegedly handed over a Rohypnol “sleeping tablet” to Mr Wilson and confirmed he was digging dirt on investigating detectives.
“They’re not lily white people … I’ve found out stuff about them,” McLaughlin said, according to a police transcript of the recording.
“I’ll go down fighting I’ll tell ya. Look there’ll be a few others if I go down.”
Shortly after that meeting, police said a card featuring a hangman’s noose appeared outside Mr Wilson’s home with the caption “dead men on campus” — which Mr Wilson took as a threat.
Unbeknown to detectives, the Christian Brothers appeared to have launched their own campaign involving a surveillance operation on police and alleged victims.
A source previously close to McLaughlin claimed that private investigators did surveillance on detective Danslow and Mr Wilson, even filming the teenager having sex with another man in a Brisbane house.
By 2000, Sergeant Danslow’s three-year investigation failed to build a case against McLaughlin with Douglas’s involvement proving problematic.
Laws around child sex abuse in Queensland prevent the ABC from providing some details, but Douglas’s status as a self-confessed child abuser raised grave doubts about his credibility.
Police did bring indecent dealing charges against McLaughlin in relation to his alleged abuse of Mr Wilson, relying on Douglas as a witness.
But the Magistrate rejected the case noting that Douglas was not a credible witness and had given no evidence of sexual acts between Mr Wilson and McLaughlin, including when the trio were in the spa at the Coronation Motel.
The Magistrate did indicate there were some suspicious features such as visits to motels and matters relating to Mr Wilson’s phone. But he decided Mr Wilson was not a credible witness and had told a multiplicity of lies to many people.
In what was a standard job rotation, Sergeant Danslow was transferred to another squad, leaving him frustrated about the years of investigative work that failed to bring justice.
“There was some regret (about the transfer), but I felt sorry for the [alleged] victims,” he said.
The war room
Despite the investigation seemingly going nowhere, new complainants with allegations continued to come forward.
In April 2001, police were put in touch with Rosa Smith*, another struggling single mother who was known to Family Services.
Ms Smith said she had been receiving money and assistance from McLaughlin and some of her sons were given a free education at Nudgee College.
Ms Smith alleged that her two younger children, a boy and girl, had been abused by McLaughlin.
Police brought indecent dealing and rape charges against the Christian Brother.
Soon after, the family reported someone lurking outside their house taking photos and following the children.
Police were so concerned they started doing school drop off and pick-up and considered putting the family into witness protection.
Meanwhile, a war room of sorts was set up at an apartment at Kangaroo Point on the edge of Brisbane’s CBD to coordinate McLaughlin’s defence, according to sources linked to the operation.
A public relations specialist who did communications work for the Brisbane Catholic community and McLaughlin’s solicitor both operated out of the apartment, the source said.
Private investigators covertly filmed Ms Smith and her children, sources told the ABC.
At the committal hearing, McLaughlin’s barrister Bob Mulholland QC tried to have the charges dismissed on the grounds the allegations were “ludicrous and fantastic” and the female victim had been abused by older males prior to making the allegations.
Mr Mulholland told the court the family had already been exposed to a paedophile while a younger child behaved in a sexualised manner. He said there were discrepancies in the victims’ recollections and problems with the way police had interviewed the children.
But in late 2002, Magistrate Terry Duroux committed McLaughlin to face trial.
McLaughlin’s distraught supporters reportedly wept in the court, but police were jubilant – years of investigations had paid off, or so they thought.
In early 2004 one of the investigating officers received an unusual call from the Justice Department.
The ABC understands the officer was told that videos of the children’s police interviews had been sent overseas by the defence for forensic examination and were found to be flawed.
The Justice Department dropped the case.
This month, a spokesperson for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said the then Director of Public Prosecutions, Leanne Clare QC, discontinued the case after consideration of advice supplied to her.
The Crown did not have reasonable prospects of success of conviction at trial based on the admissible evidence available to it at the time, the spokesperson said.
“The reliability of the three interviews was the subject of expert analysis concerning the questioning undertaken and the responses given. The Crown also obtained an expert report on their contents before the matter was discontinued.”
McLaughlin’s lawyers say this was another example of complainants not being credible.
Tracked down by the ABC last month, Ms Smith, who has since had extensive treatment for severe mental health issues, said she did not recall ever being told the reason the charges were dropped.
But she did remember being so angry she had to be dragged out of the Justice Department by security.
“I had the kids waiting in the car and I had to go and tell them that what they went through was all for nothing,” she told the ABC.
Meanwhile, McLaughlin celebrated with a party at a city nightclub associated with a former Nudgee old boy and was welcomed back into the Brothers’ operations, according to two people who attended the event.
In 2004 McLaughlin was dispatched to the Philippines to scope out new ministry opportunities including potential school sites where he had contact with children. He then went on to hold various jobs with the Brothers including a communications role.
The influence and the power
It would take another decade before his behaviour came to police attention.
By 2015, McLaughlin was living at Sandgate in Brisbane’s outer eastern suburbs, when a new complainant came forward.
Do you know more?
If you have any information about this story, contact Callinan.Rory@abc.net.au.
This time the alleged victim was the son of a single father who worked nights. McLaughlin had struck up a friendship with the father and babysat the man’s sons.
The victim alleged that in 2015, when he was 12, McLaughlin sexually abused him in a suburban home. He was charged by police in 2019 over the allegations.
McLaughlin went on trial in March this year and a jury found him guilty of two counts of indecent dealing with the boy who had been left devastated by the abuse.
The victim “took drastic steps to numb his feelings” including inhaling substances and skipping school leaving him “jobless, depressed and angry”, sentencing Judge Anthony Rafter said.
He said the victim suffered immensely but ruled McLaughlin’s sentence be suspended due to ill health and submissions from the defence about his lack of previous convictions and antecedents.
Judge Rafter noted that the defence had included references from individuals that praised McLaughlin’s “commitment to the rights of children”.
More than two decades after the first allegations about McLaughlin emerged – he was convicted.
But McLaughlin’s lawyers said while their client was currently battling serious, life threatening health issues, he was taking legal action to mount an appeal.
They said he believed he was the victim of a serious miscarriage of justice and intended to take whatever action was necessary to restore his good name and reputation.
McLaughlin has repeatedly denied any sexual interaction with Douglas. A court also rejected Douglas’s claims of sexual interaction with the Brother.
For those who had come forward previously to make allegations about McLaughlin, or were impacted by Douglas coming into their lives, the result brought both relief and anger.
For the Smith family it was too late.
The boy who made the complaint in 2002 died in 2012 from a heart attack, which his family believed was brought on by the medication he was prescribed for depression and other ailments.
Dion said he didn’t believe justice had been served.
“By him getting off jail … it is not good for victims. It’s like he’s someone in a higher power and you can’t touch him,” he said.
For Mr Wilson, whose life had spun out of control after his association and failed criminal case involving McLaughlin in the 1990s, he was distressed he would serve no jail time.
“He was supposed to be sick back when I was taking legal action against him,” Mr Wilson said.
It took until 2017 for Mr Wilson to receive a settlement from the Christian Brothers for the abuse he alleges he suffered at the hands of McLaughlin.
When Sergeant Danslow learned Judge Rafter had mentioned character references praising McLaughlin’s work with children he was confounded.
“It’s really concerning that he [McLaughlin] was able to go on and have any contact with children. They need to look at the evidence. He’s got a dark side.
“I don’t think I have ever struck anyone like him that had the influence and the power and the people to support him.”
New investigation launched
After questions from the ABC the Christian Brothers Oceania Province said they would launch an independent investigation into concerns around McLaughlin, Douglas and Nudgee College, to be conducted by Brisbane barrister Troy Spence.
“I am very concerned by what has been raised and I have instructed these matters to be the subject of an independent investigation by an experienced Queensland barrister,” Province leader Brother Gerard Brady said in a statement.
“Whilst this takes place, the Province respectfully refrains from responding to these questions.”
The Queensland government confirmed McLaughlin, while not having been “formally assessed” as a foster carer, had an established relationship with the Department of Families.
As a direct result of his role as principal at Nudgee College, the department assigned him some caring responsibilities for children, a spokesperson said.
“Departmental records show he was frequently referred to as a foster carer and or approved person and treated as such. For example being given permission as an approved person to care for children away from the school.”
Departmental records indicated McLaughlin had offered a range of scholarships and supports to vulnerable children and their families and some of the children were in the care of the department at the time.
McLaughlin’s lawyers last week said their client was the temporary on-site foster care nominee as part of a program to provide education for disadvantaged children – a role he undertook for approximately three months prior to completion of his five-year term as college principal.
They said at no time did any student from the program make allegations of wrongdoing against their client who, after 1993, had very limited contact with Nudgee College and no involvement in the student equity program.
They said their client did not take any students from the student equity program to stay in motels.
McLaughlin’s lawyers said from time to time office staff for the Christian Brothers used McLaughlin’s credit card to make motel bookings and for expenses associated with visiting guests.
They said McLaughlin did stay at the Coronation Motel in the late 1990s, as did other staff, while renovations were being undertaken at the province leadership living quarters.
In responding to the ABC, they said it was “deplorable” to seek to link McLaughlin with “the many shameful acts which Dennis Douglas has been convicted of”.
Nudgee College issued a statement saying it was devastated to learn of the abuse allegations involving McLaughlin and Douglas, describing them as shocking and disturbing.
“The college acknowledges the bravery and courage of those who have come forward to tell their stories of this period. We also acknowledge the pain experienced by these individuals,” the statement read.
The college said the student equity program had been discontinued many years ago and those who oversaw the program were no longer involved with the college.
Meanwhile, McLaughlin’s former associate Douglas was last year released from prison where he had been serving a lengthy sentence for committing serious sexual offences against children in the 2000s.
State Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman unsuccessfully applied to block the Nudgee old boy’s release under the Dangerous Prisoners Sex Offender Act.
A court ruled Douglas could be released under rigorous supervision that included 48 conditions.
Like McLaughlin, Douglas is now back in the community.
*Names have been changed for privacy and legal reasons.
MORELIA, Michoacán — June 9, 2022, marked a milestone in the history of the Church of La Luz del Mundo (Light of the World), the most prolific Mexican cult that for almost 100 years has ruled the life and customs of at least 5 million people around the world (1.5 million in Mexico), all of whom witnessed the arrest and imprisonment of their leader Naasón Joaquín García.
The self-proclaimed “Apostle of Jesus Christ,” Joaquín García, finally fell. The hegemony of three messianic generations of alleged abuse, unlimited power and every manner of sexual aberration within this cult, founded by Joaquín García´s grandfather in the 1920s in Central México, reached its most vulnerable moment after its current leader’s detention in 2019.
To the faithful believers of La Luz del Mundo, Joaquín García is more than the cult’s leader. He is seen as the Messiah, the envoy of God and the last apostle of Jesus Christ on Earth. However, to the long list of former cult members and now-victims who are crying out for justice, Joaquín García is a twisted mind capable of perpetrating the most terrible abuses against innocent adolescents and children.
The circumstances in which these alleged sexual crimes against minors took place were within a power relationship exercised by Joaquín García over those young victims who saw in him a supreme being before whom they owed, not only their spiritual fidelity but their bodies as well, so that he could dispose of them at his discretion regardless of their childishness.
Sadly, according to the victims, most of these abuses occurred before the eyes of the community and the families of the victims themselves, who agreed to having their children accompany and serve Joaquín García at all times, encouraging them to do whatever was needed to please him, as he was basically seen as God’s representation on Earth.
According to allegations made by some of the victims and former members of Light of the World Church, the administrative structure of the church even had a group dedicated exclusively to the recruitment and grooming of young parishioners, who would later be prepared to serve, entertain and intimately pleasure Joaquín García.
The Unconditionals, as the women in that circle close to Joaquín Garcia were known, in addition to serving as escorts, recruiters and personal assistants to the so-called Apostle of Jesus Christ, enjoyed a privileged status within the church and carried out important activities, such as managing the cult’s internal media content and organizing mass events, having to travel from the United States to Mexico on a regular basis.
However, these women were also considered exclusive to Joaquín García, and he was the one who had to give his approval so that they could marry another member of the community.
It was not until 2019 that one of Joaquín García’s closest Unconditionals, Sochil Martín, gave him the kiss of Judas and exposed the recurring sexual children exploitation system within the cult to U.S. authorities, resulting in the arrest of the Apostle of Jesus Christ and two of his closest Unconditional servants, Alondra Ocampo and Susana Medina Oaxaca, both of whom were accused of complicity.
Despite the fact that it was not the first scandal of alleged sexual abuse within the Church of the Light of the World that has become known since its foundation, this time it had a great impact and serious consequences due to the first-hand evidence that the plaintiffs presented, as well as the enormous evidence that U.S. authorities found against Joaquín García in his personal electronic devices.
Although Joaquín García’s defense has been led by Alan Jackson, one of the most sought-after lawyers in the United States, the biggest turning point came when Ocampo pleaded guilty to charges of sexual crimes against three teenagers.
According to the lawsuit filed by the victims, Ocampo took three young womento Joaquín García, inducing them, through biblical texts, to dance naked and then participate in sexual acts with Joaquín García.
Ocampo was sentenced to four years in prison for these crimes and was released in early December 2022 for having shown repentance for her actions and for having collaborated with the California prosecutors in the investigation to prosecute the cult’s leader, Joaquín García.
On the other hand, Medina Oaxaca was saved from going to jail after reaching a plea bargain with the California prosecutor, being sentenced to one year of probation after paying a $150,000 bail.
Finally, Joaquín García was accused of 19 crimes, among which were: sexual abuse of minors, rape, possession of child pornography and human trafficking. However, the defendant, on the advice of his lawyer, admitted guilty to three of those crimes, for lewd acts committed with a 15-year-old girl, and for doing the same with another 18-year-old girl.
This strategy allowed the expected sentence for Joaquín García to be reduced to 16 years and eight months, which generated great discontent among the victims, who had expected a maximum sentence for the defendant given the seriousness of the crimes of which he was accused and the impact they have had on their lives.
However, the three accused, as well as the wife and children of Joaquín Garcia still face a civil lawsuit filed by the victims before the Superior Court of Los Angeles.
According to this lawsuit, Joaquín García and other members of the church systematically abused their victims, who were mostly young women, and used religion as a weapon against them. This lawsuit, filed last September, seeks payment for damages caused to the victims.
Nonetheless, in the meantime, the millions of members of this cult are demanding the immediate release of their still-leader Joaquín Garcia. They insist that he is an innocent victim who has been framed and unfairly accused by the California Attorney General’s Office with false evidence.
Here’s the remainder of Richard Carrier’s Twelve Books at Herculaneum (nearby Pompeii), that is changing the history our world’s been tricked into thinking. In his own recent words “There is a fabulous ancient treasure still buried at Herculaneum in the Bay of Naples.” continued on to explain much of it has been covered by Mount Vesuvius volcanic ash, since 79ad. Various other documentaries have been made, yet Italian Government restrict further works to be performed, for fear of safety/destruction/landslides.
7. Ptolemaïs of Cyrene’s Two Treatises on Science
Ptolemais of Cyrene was in her own day a renowned scientist and expert in acoustics, harmonics, and music theory, sometime near the turn of the era. Authors who quote her treatise on that subject, Pythagorean Principles of Music, consistently regard it as renowned and authoritative. That makes this a known important-yet-lost work of the only known female research scientist in the Hellenistic era. That alone would make it a prize worth rescuing and having. But what we also know is that in her highly respected treatise on harmonics she sought to bring disparate doctrines into a single unified science, and she actually wrote another treatise generalizing that method to all the sciences—arguing the importance of combining empirical with rational methodology, rather than treating them as at odds or as different inquiries—an achievement that was influential not just in her own field, but in others. Eclecticism (the opposite of dogmatism) and unification (combining the best of different theorists and methodologies and scrapping the worst) begin to appear in all extant scientists after her date, making hers possibly a major contribution to the modernization of science.
Again there is no telling what else she may have done. But these two works alone suggest a trend seen also in Galen a century or two later in the life sciences: seeking to unify a scientific field’s disparate theories and ideas, and establish the correct methods for pursuing it. We see evidence of this (merging atomism with Aristotelianism, for example; likewise empiricism and rationalism, experimental and theoretical science, mathematics and table-top instruments, and the like) in Ptolemy and Hero as well, bringing it into the fields of astronomy and the rest of physics. See my discussion of all these points in The Scientist in the Early Roman Empire. Given the Herculaneum magnate’s clear and deep interest in matters of science, logic, and mathematics (from his shelf full of books on the subject), and Ptolemaïs’s works’ clear and influential fame across the sciences, I think there are reasonable odds we can find it there, making hers the first extant scientific study published by a woman.
8. Pamphila’s Historical Notes or Agrippina’s Memoirs
Speaking of women as authors, there were many in antiquity, yet almost none preserved by patriarchal Christians in the Middle Ages. But two come particularly to mind whose lost books we would very much like to recover: Pamphila of Epidaurus wrote thirty-three volumes of Historical Notes on events up to her own time, which was around 60 A.D. So once again, contemporary accounts of events right during the dawn of Christianity. She wrote several other works (on famous women; on sex; and various miscellanies and epitomes). But having the first known female historian’s treatise on history would be a great find. More so as she was probably also Black—and thus would the be among the first extant Black historians (since sources describe her as Egyptian by descent, and not merely a Greek from Egypt); though she wouldn’t be the first altogether (earlier Africans we know wrote books; Juba, for example).
Given the wide use later historians made of Pamphila’s Notes, and her just having published it not two decades before, it bears a reasonable probability our Herculaneum collector would have had a copy. There are other famous works from women we would like to have, such as Leontion’s treatise Against Theophrastus, which could be the first feminist treatise ever written. Given that she was a famous Epicurean philosopher—indeed, she was a student of Epicurus himself, and companion of Metrodorus, whose books were in the Herculaneum cache—someone, in fact, even Cicero had read and also assumed his readers would be well familiar with, and given that our Herculaneum collector was fond of works from Epicureans, it follows that her book, too, stands a reasonable chance of being there.
Another likely find in this category:
The memoirs of Julia Agrippina (Nero’s mother, Caligula’s sister, and Claudius’s wife), which Tacitus employed as a source. She was assassinated by Nero in 59, too early to report on events of 64, but her work must have covered events up to at least 54 (Nero’s accession). She was born in 15, and her close position to Caligula and Claudius makes it reasonable to expect she might have mentioned Christianity if it were at all significant (e.g. if the Chrestus event under Claudius really did have anything to do with Christ).]OHJ, P. 295
Agrippina was a famous and important personage of the time, and it was particularly popular to spite Nero in the years after his death by supporting causes and authors he opposed. Agrippina’s Memoirs thus also stands a reasonable chance of being found at Herculaneum.
9. Petronius’s Satyricon or Against Nero
Petronius is renowned for being a prominent member of the senate and imperial court of Nero. The latter forced him to commit suicide in 66 A.D. yet he composed and published a damning treatise against Nero in revenge before completing the deed, which was referenced by other authors like Tacitus. This could hardly omit reflection on Nero’s murders of scapegoats for the burning of Rome—and thus revealing whether indeed it was any such group as the Christians, as the text of Tacitus now says. Petronius is also regarded as the author of the infamous Satyricon, which bears eerie similarities to stories in the New Testament, and whose date and authorship has been importantly challenged, which dispute really needs a resolution, because it affects a great deal about how we see what the Gospel authors are doing (see my discussion in Robyn Faith Walsh and the Gospels as Literature). Either of these would therefore be an important find. And as they fall into the category of recently popular “rage lit” against Nero, in Latin, and composed by a nearby notable, there’s a reasonable chance either could be at Herculaneum.
Important Writers Likely to Be Found There
After those nine or so titles of particular interest and likelihood, there are also many then-famous writers who wrote numerous books on many subjects, any of which would be a prize to recover. I’ll just name the top three in my areas of interest…
Agathinus was one of the most important medical theorists in the 1st century A.D. He might post-date Herculaneum or pre-date it. But he is of considerable historical significance as a Stoic who nevertheless established an “eclectic” medical sect called the Episynthetics, which specifically rejected the splitting of medical theory into sects and sought unification of theories under a common empirical regime (so, possibly another scientist influenced by Ptolemaïs). Which is important to the history of science because this sectarianism had become excessive over the preceding century, reminiscent of the sectarian divisions within 20th century psychology, and it is notable that deliberate efforts were beginning under the Romans to end this. Indeed Agathinus’s efforts would later inspire Galen.
Agathinus wrote on numerous medical subjects, but most significantly including an empirical treatise on the dosage requirements of the poison hellebore, employed as an emetic (to induce vomiting) or (we also know) commonly as an abortifacient. Scholars argue his treatise was based on (and thus reported) his own dosage experiments performed on animals to tailor dose to body mass. This would reflect possibly the first controlled medical study; as well as the first formal medical study of chemical abortion and birth control. And the Herculaneum collector could have this, or other works of Agathinus, owing to his considerable fame and importance in that very century.
Posidonius was literally the greatest scientist of his century (the 1st century B.C.), with extraordinary fame and renown, yet nothing he wrote survives. As I wrote in Scientist:
Posidonius even built a machine that replicated the movement of the seven known planets. Cicero’s description of this device certifies it was a proper orrery (a luniplanetary armillary sphere)—a machine that represents the solar system in three dimensions, in rings that can be rotated to reproduce the actual relative motion and position of the seven planets over time. This was probably a significant improvement on a similar machine Archimedes had built over a century before; Posidonius would have known of important corrections and improvements to planetary theory developed after him. …
It is also possible Posidonius constructed a dial computer, a kind of astronomical clock, which indicates planetary positions (and even lunar phases and other data) two-dimensionally, through a gear-driven dial readout [such as we actually found; in fact, its date and location are apposite enough that that might even be his; or one he built for a client].SCIENTIST, PP. 145-47
Overall, Posidonius wrote over thirty books on countless philosophical and scientific subjects, including books on astronomy, meteorology and climatology, earthquakes and lightning, seismology and volcanology, mathematics, geography, oceanography, zoology, botany, psychology, anthropology, ethnology and history, and beyond. He notably wrote up a study on flammable minerals (including varieties of petroleum and coal). He famously tried calculating the size of the Earth by a novel method—though erred, and his error was picked up by Ptolemy and eventually Christopher Columbus; though unlike Columbus, Ptolemy recognized its inaccuracy and developed the system of locating positions on Earth by degrees of latitude and longitude to overcome that problem.
Posidonius also had some knowledge of lenses and magnification and may have begun research on the subject; but either way, he certainly had knowledge of lenses that magnify through refraction (as evinced in Strabo, Geography 3.1.5; Cleomedes, On the Heavens 2.6; Sextus Empiricus, Against the Professors 5.82; cf. Seneca, Natural Questions 1.6.5–7). Such work would bear comparison with later research by Ptolemy on exactly the same subject (Scientist, index, “lenses”). No scientific treatise on the subject survives from antiquity, although missing sections of Ptolemy’s Optics appear to have included it, and there is ample evidence its study predated Ptolemy (Ibid.).
Given his fame and the importance of his books, recognized even in his own day, the probability is quite high that there will be works of Posidonius at Herculaneum. Any of them would be valuable to recover; but especially any that might have discussed the science of magnifying lenses, or petroleum or coal, or the sizes and distances of the planets.
12. Seleucus of Seleucia
Finally, of superlative importance would be recovering any of the lost works of the astronomer Seleucus, who lived in the 2nd century B.C. and was the student of Aristarchus—and actually the most famous heliocentrist in antiquity. We now enfame Aristarchus for being the first known heliocentrist, all but having forgotten Seleucus. But Plutarch, who read their works, says Aristarchus proposed heliocentrism as “only a hypothesis” but that Seleucus “demonstrated it” (Platonic Questions 8.1 = Moralia 1006c). That would actually make his work on the subject the more important; and ancient readers knew it. Plutarch does not say how Seleucus proved heliocentrism—indicating Plutarch could trust any reader already knew, which entails a rather considerable renown for the man and his achievement. We also know from elsewhere that Seleucus was famous for discovering lunisolar tide theory, recognizing that a form of universal gravitation from sun, moon, and Earth explains and predicts the behavior of ocean tides (e.g. Pliny the Elder, Natural History 2.99.212–218 and 2.102.221; Cicero, On Divination 2.34 and On the Nature of the Gods 2.7.15–16; Seneca, On Providence 1.4; Cleomedes, On the Heavens 156; Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos 1.2.3–6; Strabo, Geography 3.5.8 and 1.1.8–12).
We might infer Seleucus put this together as an explanation of a heliocentric solar system as well; certainly, Galileo thought so (see Galileo’s Goofs: Lessons We Can Learn from Failure). And Plutarch hints as much (see Ancient Theories of Gravity: What Was Lost?). And regardless, many Roman authors were quite familiar with his work. Direct and indirect attestations range from Seneca’s Natural Questions (which does not survive whole and the lost portions could indeed be at Herculaneum as well) to Plutarch’s On the Face in the Moon. Given that even Seneca, a major Latin author from Rome, includes mention of heliocentrism and debates surrounding it just a couple decades before the destruction of Herculaneum, and given how readily ancient authors knew Seleucus’s work and assumed everyone else did, it seems reasonable to expect we could find Seleucus’s “proof” of heliocentrism at Herculaneum, or at least his treatise on lunisolar tide theory or universal gravitation, which would be extraordinary.
And Much More
As I said, there could be other books by these authors, and so many authors and books we don’t even have a surviving mention of. Recovering their lost names and works for posterity would be an inestimable honor to them and an achievement for humanity. But there will also be works there of greater magnitude.
This includes countless scientific treatises. Almost all of that genre was destroyed by medieval Christians—more out of mere disinterest than hostility, but sometimes, yes, hostility (I document in Ch. 5 of Scientist that even the liberal-minded Origen commanded the shunning, and thus discarding, of all scientific and philosophical works by ancient atomists, and even Aristotelians, which will have encompassed the majority of ancient science). Just one subdivision of that subject, life and mineral sciences, illustrates the point (see my article The Sociology of Ancient Scientists Cannot Be Based on Medieval Source Selection); likewise gravitation and dynamics (see Ancient Theories of Gravity: What Was Lost?); and more. In Scientist I mention a great deal else, from lost treatises on combinatorics and permutation theory, to studies of air pressure and magnetism. Any of this, too, could be there.
This also includes countless historical treatises. Besides the many examples I already mentioned, there are more. As I wrote in Historicity:
MarcusVelleius Paterculus sketched a history of the Romans from their mythic past up to the year 29 [A.D.] (of which parts survive) and [the native African] King Juba of Mauretaniadid the same up to around the year 20 (none of which survives) … [Likewise] Marcus Servilius Nonianus, who we know wrote a dedicated history of the first century up to at least the year 41 [and he wrote it in the late 50s]. … [And] Cluvius Rufus, ex-consul and Nero’s personal herald in the mid-first century, having served in the Senate since the 30s, wrote a detailed history of events during the reign of Nero, beginning with the reign of Caligula in the year 37, and continuing past Nero up to the reign of Otho in the year 69. This surely would have discussed Nero’s persecution of Christians in 64, which would have required a digression on Jesus and Christianity, which in turn would likely touch on the relevant details of the appellate case of Paul before Nero in 62 (if that even happened) and what was claimed in that case, and how it degenerated into the execution of scores if not hundreds of Christians just a couple years later for the crime of burning the city of Rome, surely the single most famous event of that or any adjacent year … [Likewise] Fabius Rusticus wrote a history during Nero’s reign that covered events up to his own time, which may have gotten as far as his death or at least the persecution [of Christians], and at any rate covered events under Augustus and Tiberius (and Claudius) and thus would very likely have noticed Christianity if it was notable at all.
And that’s just of lost histories we know about, because someone else mentions them. So whether your jam is science or history (or any other subject of poetry or prose), you, too, should want Herculaneum to finally be excavated, to rescue this treasure hoard unparalleled in human value.
Richard Carrier is the author of many books and numerous articles online and in print. His avid readers span the world from Hong Kong to Poland. With a Ph.D. in ancient history from Columbia University, he specializes in the modern philosophy of naturalism and humanism, and the origins of Christianity and the intellectual history of Greece and Rome, with particular expertise in ancient philosophy, science and technology. He is also a noted defender of scientific and moral realism, Bayesian reasoning, and historical methods.
In an unexpected ‘sports result’ & with numerous congratulations given, RCbbc can now post that 2 of the 3 ‘presumptions’ that were made in the 2013-17 Royal Commission of some other victims have now been admitted true. As devastating as that was, an unexpected leap in the victims/families/relatives/schools from other houses & years have also come forth. It’s motivation like these moments, that drive RCbbc on.
There’s no greater reward, than hearing that some of this info has helped ‘bridge the gap’ that was left by the ongoing effects of CSA. Unfortunately these same scenario continue, yet the level of protection is harder to break/sneak through than before. Abuse is a result of human nature, which can be taught out our society, which we still have to be ‘critical’ (suspicious) of. Sit Sine Labe Decus; let Honor stainless be.