Letter to Child Protection Watchdog Inc, 15 March 2005
The media has recently presented us with an attack on Mr. Peter Lewis for making public allegations made by an informant to his office, that a sitting MP was involved in paedophilia. This is a deliberate tactic used to divert from the fact that South Australia has an all to obvious problem with child protection. Members of CHILD PROTECTION WATCHDOG INC are in a unique position in South Australia having received reports for many years concerning abuse of all kinds. Many of these reports and allegations have led to criminal convictions. Without the advocacy and support provided by various individuals none of these allegations would have led to convictions at all. The perpetrators of these offences included those in trusted positions, those with high profiles in the community and lesser known individuals. Mr. Lewis has been brave enough to put his hand up to support Child Protection issues in this state. The spotlight has singled him out instead and left out the REAL issue of Child Abuse. Members and supporters will stand by the Speaker to the fullest extent required to refocus the spotlight onto the real issue that Child Abuse is rampant in this state. That Child Abuse needs to be reported and investigated, that investigations into these allegations focus their resources onto the evidence and not on discrediting the individuals involved. Over the years people have come forward because there is an appalling track record here leading to a complete lack of faith in the current process. More and more people are coming to us because they have nowhere else to turn having exhausted all other avenues. Hundreds of reports have "gone missing" from Government Departments, Police, Schools, Orphanages, Relinquishing Mothers, Adoptions, Foster Care and Recreational Clubs. It is time to recognise that Child Abuse is an epidemic threatening our future now. To dismiss it for whatever reason will only create a worsening legacy for all our futures. Mrs. Pamela Ayling Coordinator Child Protection Watchdog Inc.
Letter to the Age, 11 March 2005
Seek nothing, find nothing
According to The AGE ("Bracks leaps to defence of watchdog", 3/3), Victorian Police Minister Tim Holding insists the Office of Police Integrity has the power to investigate current and former police officers and possible police protection of an alleged child pornography and pedophile ring which involves high profile people. But the OPI doesn't know it has such powers. In a taped interview with a child protection worker on 17 November 2004, a senior OPI investigator said the OPI "can't" investigate police protection of child pornography and pedophilia (The AGE, Gary Hughes, 2/3). The investigator said: "What I would hope would be achieved is possibly nothing, in relation to that past ring, even if it's still operating."
Now the OPI has written a very short report to say an investigation has taken place (apparently relying on police testimony, without interviewing any of the alleged victims or reviewing the files). Unsurprisingly, the report finds nothing worth following up.
The various watchdogs of police – offices of Ethical Standards, Ombudsman and now Police Integrity - failed because they use police to investigate police. Let's aim for justice and safety for our children, not protection of criminals. We need a Royal Commission.
Transcript from Media Conference, 2 March 2005
Dr. Reina Michaelson (CSAPP Inc.), Hetty Johnston (Bravehearts) and Gail McHardy (Parents Victoria) press conference release from Wednesday 2 March
Here eight months ago, the three of us held our first press conference. Then, we pressed the urgent need for a Royal Commission into organised pedophilia, child pornography and police corruption in this state. While the people of Victoria have been duped into believing everything's changed with the establishment of an Office of Police Integrity, we're here today to tell you that nothing's changed. Or if it has, it's changed for the worse.
We weren't the only ones to call for a Royal Commission. We were echoed by those calling for an end to corruption in the state's drug squad, to the Victorian Police's relations with organized crime which have, in part, produced the gangland murders, the murder of police informants…the list goes on.
Instead of the powers specific to a Royal Commission – the power to protect witnesses, the power to compel testimony, the power to subpoena any and all documents and so on - the Premier instead offered the Victorian public the consolation prize of an "Office of Police Integrity". We're here to ask is any one body really keeping tabs on the police's integrity? And if it's meant to be this Office of Police Integrity, who's "watching the watchdog"?
After our first press conference, where we claimed police protection of - and involvement in - organised pedophilia and child pornography in Victoria, Assistant Commissioner Simon Overland called publicly for me to, in essence, "put up or shut up"; to supply the state's Ombudsman with information sufficient for an investigation to be pursued.
I complied with Commissioner Overland's demand on the 23rd July, supplying the state's Ombudsman with a detailed complaint. The complaint included details of Victoria Police's cover-up of prior complaints regarding the existence of an organised pedophile and child pornography network in Victoria, and their failure to adequately investigate associated criminal activity.
I was then invited to meet with the Ombudsman's investigators. In that meeting I provided them with further detailed information regarding; victim and eyewitness accounts of a highly organised pedophile and child pornography network involving – as perpetrators - various members of the Victorian police force, a former Labor state minister, and a high-profile veteran television personality, among others. I also provided them with information regarding this criminal network's involvement in drug trafficking, gun-running and a number of murders carried out as part of the network's activities.
The investigators were provided with the names of witnesses - names that would have allowed them to readily access the relevant files - as well as the dates of the previous reports made independently to Victoria Police. I was given a commitment from the investigators that every relevant police file would be pulled and re-examined in the light of this new information. I was also promised that the witnesses I named would be newly interviewed as part of their investigation.
In the intervening period, the Premier established the Office of Police Integrity. Last week, I received this [hold] three-page report on the supposed investigation conducted by the OPI.
In spite of the commitments made to me, in spite of the commitments I relayed to the victims and witnesses who had put their faith in me to attempt – again - to pursue justice through the Ombudsman's office, not one of them was interviewed by the OPI. Not a single VicPol file was requested or re-examined. And the Office of Police Integrity simply took those officers named in the complaint at their word. Furthermore, the OPI found no fault with one of the state's most senior police officer's allowing a detective to involve himself in an investigation into a pedophile network the detective was allegedly protecting.
The inability, the unwillingness of the OPI to conduct the kind of investigation I was promised should not really have come as a surprise. My two-hour meeting with the OPI's investigators was mostly spent by them attempting to coerce me into effectively dropping my complaint. And when they weren't doing that, their description of the limitations of their powers – or the limitations on their interest – in investigating police corruption should demolish any faith the public of Victoria may have in the OPI's ability to act as a tribunal of last resort.
That meeting was recorded on cassette tape, and I was given a copy of that tape.
In response to me asking whether – as the Premier had promised in setting up the OPI – whether it had the powers to investigate organized crime and police protection of organized crime, I was told by the OPI's investigators, QUOTE, "No, it can't. It can investigate the allegations of corrupt police officers, possibly. That's once its new coercive powers have been tried and tested in court." UNQUOTE.
I was told that the OPI sees its role as taking, QUOTE, "a system picture." And that it would, QUOTE, "detract from our work…if we take particular individuals to account."
I was told that, QUOTE, "if we were to tackle some of the specific issues [identified in my complaint to the Ombudsman] that, QUOTE, "may have a negative impact on the bigger picture." I took the "bigger picture" to mean the so-called "system picture" of corruption the OPI seems to be set on.
But, by far the most damaging revelation made by the OPI's investigators in the course of their meeting with me relates to the core of CSAPP's concern. I think that it's really important to re-iterate precisely what we mean by – and what the victims' experience as - organized pedophilia. This is NOT the opportunistic abuse of children by men scouring playgrounds or scout groups. What organized means is that groups of men – and we are largely talking about men, though women have been involved too – that groups of men can meet regularly at particular places at particular times and have children provided for them to abuse.
I was told by the OPI's investigators that what they, QUOTE, "hope to achieve is possibly nothing in relation to that past [pedophile] ring, even if it's still operating."
I'll repeat that. What we "hope to achieve is possibly nothing in relation to that past [pedophile] ring, even if it's still operating."
A transcript of that meeting is available at the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program's website [Click Here]. The URL for CSAPP is www.csapp.net.
Thank you. I now want to hand over…
Meeting Transcript With The Victorian Ombudsman's Office, 17 November 2004
Dr. Michaelson Taped Meeting Transcript With The Victorian Ombudsman's Office Wednesday, 17th November
(Note: Names and other identifying information have been extracted from this transcript. Ombudsman Investigators 2 and 3 are actually Office of Police Integrity (OPI) employees.)
Omb Investig 1: Okay, its 5 minutes past 2 pm, Wednesday 17th November, 2004, and this is a meeting with Dr. Reina Michaelson, and [personal assistant] ****** *********, and present is (Omb Investigator 1 states own name) speaking, (Omb Investigator 1's official title), (Omb Investigator 2 name)?
Omb Investig 2: (Omb Investigator 2 states own name), who we've met before.
Omb Investig 3: (Omb Investigator 3 states own name).
Omb Investig 4: And (Omb Investigator 4 states own name).
(Omb Investig 1): I'd just like to explain that (Omb Investig 4) and (Omb Investig 3) are making up the Special Projects Unit who are basically going to concentrate on the types of complex complaints of the nature that you've identified, and that other people have identified to us, and they've started with basically a review of the files that have been held within this [Victorian Ombudsman] Office, and they are looking at complaint handling of investigations across a range of agencies, but the three main ones being the police, the Department of Education and Training, and the Department of Human Services. And, I think we can safely say that at least part of that initiative though is that you are bringing part of these issues to our attention, and thank you for that, because I think it is an extremely important initiative, and I think it is going to have some really useful outcomes for increasing public accountability in that whole difficult area.
So, I actually, am going to introduce the meeting and then hop out of it, because these are extremely competent people with more experience in sexual abuse allegations that I have, and I think that you will find that they will be really, really good for you to deal with. So, I hope that you are happy with that.
Reina: That's very, very, very happy. I am thrilled with it all.
(Omb Investig 1): Terrific.
Reina: It's all looking very good.
(Omb Investig 1): Terrific. So, I think it's a really productive outcome. And, I can go at this point. It is nice to meet you both again, you are always welcome if you wish to raise any matters to come back to me, but I feel that it is going to be the Unit now that focuses on the matters you've raised, and the matters others have raised.
Reina: Yes, thanks.
(Omb Investig 1): Thank you.
[(Omb Investig 1) leaves room]
(Omb Investig 2): Perhaps I can just go through what's been happening. And I'll introduce (Omb Investig 3), (Omb Investig 3) is actually the (position title of Omb Investig 3), so there has been quite a lot happen since you've been away. Part of it does impact on some of the material that you've given us, so I guess that the meeting is going to be broken up into two components if you like, we will talk to you about what we feel is the best way forward, hopefully for all of us.
(Omb Investig 2): And, I guess in that certain part of it, we do need some support to some of the propositions that we bring to you. So, as I said, we've formed a team, and we are looking at a whole range of issues, and unfortunately from our point of view the publicity has got out prior to us having a conversation with you, we thought we would have a conversation with you prior to the press getting hold of certain things that has transpired, I had a transcript from (name withheld) yesterday, and I did notice a certain common name in there [nervous laugh]
Reina: Sorry, I got a shock too. I had no idea that (publication – withheld) was going to come out.
(Omb Investig 2): No.
Reina: Even though I work closely with (writer name) as you actually know.
(Omb Investig 2): We were caught by surprise. But nevertheless, I think that has been very positive from our point of view.
Reina: It has had a very positive response from the community.
(Omb Investig 2): Yes. I think that already, we've had an impact. But that's a big bonus, isn't it?
(Omb Investig 2): But I guess to kick off the meeting, and (Omb Investig 3) is going to talk about the Project to you, but I've got carriage of the complaints that you've lodged to us. And it would be fair to say that what we've done with those complaints is we've used those complaints maybe not to your intention but we've certainly used those complaints as part of a foundation for what we believe might be a better outcome than what maybe you've envisaged.
So, I just don't know how to say this, but you're… the complaints that are very specific we have to respond to. But, we're seeking your support with this response, because if we were to tackle some of those specific issues, they might have a negative impact on the bigger picture that we're trying to make a far more progressive response from the agencies. So, what I'm alluding to is that we may use your complaints (and I've got a number of them here) but the majority of them are about poor reporting, and all those sort of… accountability type ones, in our Project, and address them in that format because that's the best format, and to make people far more accountable for their actions. That's the plan.
Reina: That's good.
(Omb Investig 2): So, if you're happy with that.
Reina: You'll have to talk me through it more because at the moment it's kind of general.
(Omb Investig 2): Yeah, we'll do that. But, that's the sort of direction we're going. Which leaves us with a couple of specific issues that fall outside of those things that we are tackling. Things that I'm talking about, you've mentioned specifically about tape-recording of interviews, like that interview with (alleged threatened victim – name withheld), and then I think the other one is to do with (the alleged perpetrator - name withheld) is (Omb Investig 3) with the car-park and that sort of thing.
So… they're outside of that, a couple of those there in our opinion are I guess somehow [inaudible] and I guess in comparison with the big issue, were sort of making the decision whether that will divert us away from what I think we are all on about. So, and I'll come back to that.
Reina: Yeah, we might have to because I think that (alleged perpetrator - name withheld) has done terrible things and even what he's done overtly terrible things that he seems to just… slip…
(Omb Investig 2): Yeah.
Reina: And just because he's well connected and he's in a very influential position, I just believe that he should be held accountable and where the police haven't done a proper job, to hold them accountable, it would be hard for me to just let that one go.
I feel strongly about it. I don't think anyone should be above the law.
(Omb Investig 2): We're all in agreement with that!
(Omb Investig 3): Just in relation to that, and I really want to focus on what we're doing in a sort of collaborative way… The concern that I've got (and I've got legal qualifications and background) is that the actual investigation of a threat to kill, is something that is extraordinarily difficult to prove, and in the face of the facts of the correspondence and different ways of interpreting the set of events, it is not actually going to produce the sort of result I imagine you want in terms of that particular individual.
And, I only give you a brief background in relation to (alleged criminal) who threatened people with a machine gun on top of David Jones store and they had great difficulty convicting him on that. So, it's a very difficult actual crime to prove. And, because that's the actual hook you've got with (alleged perpetrator - name withheld), I think that it won't produce the result that I imagine you want.
Reina: Yeah, can I just add one thing, there? It was very clear that (Police Officer 1) interviewed her, and didn't want to pursue it. Now, I think I was saying yesterday in my [media] interview that Police have a lot of power in deciding the outcome of the investigation just by what they decide they want to do from outset. And, it was just very clear that he just didn't want it to proceed. And he actually tried to intimidate her. I think that he should be held accountable for that because I don't believe that police should be misusing their position to determine the outcome of the investigation.
(Omb Investig 3): I agree. And we've already opened and found in the earlier stages of our work, the discretion that exists at station levels for example, in even characterizing something, as an offence, you know, particularly even a sexual offence. So, that is something that we pick up, but I guess that, you know, you have autonomy in relation to if you persist with the complaint, there is some discretion about whether or not the [relevant Department] would want to pursue it but I guess, though, as a Team, we would be reluctant to pursue that level of detail, if you like, the attitude of one or two Officers when we are in the position to influence the attitude of… the training framework that Police operate in, in relation to the attitude they take in an investigation about sexual assault.
And, I guess that we see that, in the role of the Team, is for us to take a systemic picture, and it will detract from our work, and I think probably your work, if we take particular individuals to the count. Now, we're not trying to apologize or excuse or do anything in relation to individuals in the way that your experience is of those individuals, our job would be to… if it was something to be investigated, it would be taking information from people… and what outcome do you really want in the end?
And I guess that that is what I would be saying to you… there are real difficulties with us taking that on as part of this Project. And, if it were to be pursued, then it's what the outcome for those particular individuals is likely to make a difference. And, that's something that you might like to consider about that.
But, I guess our hope is that from today, we get your support in relation to the majority of the complaints you have made in writing to us, to say that you are satisfied with the actions that we take that will be to pursue the Project work.
We will talk about that, if you want to hear about that.
Reina: Yes, probably I think what would be good, is if you explain to me everything that you're proposing, then I will have a think about it and then I'll get back to you when I've thought it through.
(Omb Investig 2): That would be good.
(Omb Investig 3): Yeah.
Reina: Because this has come as a bit of a shock to me.
(Omb Investig 2): That's why we wanted to… we could have rung you up over the phone, which would have been totally inappropriate. We wouldn't do it like that, no. Not at all.
(Omb Investig 3): There are two other things… the context stuff is that… Yesterday, the Office of Police Integrity was created, that means that every single complaint about Police is now investigated by a special Unit that is non -attached to the Ombudsman Office.
The problem for all of us conceptually, is that George Brouwer [Victorian Ombudsman] who is the Ombudsman, and is also the Director of Police Integrity. But because the focus and political discussion that's been around has been to fight police corruption, we need to have something that looks more like a Crime Commission, and this [Victorian] Government chose, 'No, we'll do it, all under an Ombudsman framework'. The outcome as of yesterday, was that 'Okay, we'll do it as a big in-between, we'll have something that, if you like, has arisen from the Ombudsman Office, through the Police Ombudsman wing of the Ombudsman, but we'll make it look like a quasi- Crime Commission. Now, that's what's happened, and there is no police complaints work that is done through the Office of the Ombudsman.
Reina: Okay. I get you.
(Omb Investig 2): That makes sense?
(Omb Investig 3): I'm glad you do, because I don't think I do.
(Omb Investig 3): I understood it until last night. All that work though is quarantined, and they are very, very strict, they've been given a lot more powers, they can do coercive interviews, and their goals will be to continue to use, if you like, individual complaints, to establish what is happening within the police force, but to do some own motion, assertive stuff in relation to finding police corruption. So, that quarantined work means that all existing police complaints go into that area. The personnel of that area are all (no, I shouldn't say all) but there are a significant number of policeman on the board, and it's a different environment from the traditional Ombudsman environment.
Reina: Yes, that's quite different, isn't it?
(Omb Investig 3): It is. And, that's the reality of the context that we're [now] working within. So, that would be where the pursuit of police complaints go - so that's an important part of the context. The other important part of the context is that (Omb Investig 2) and I are actually Police Integrity employees…
Reina: You are?
(Omb Investig 2): Yes.
(Omb Investig 3): [laugh] We are. I'll give you some background about me later. And (Omb Investig 4) an Ombudsman Victoria employee [laugh] And is the Ombudsman, I mean, Mr. Brouwer…
Reina: It's so complex, isn't it?
(Omb Investig 2): It's very complex.
(Omb Investig 3): …has decided that this is such an important area/ is (Omb Investig 3) that he wants this to be a joint Project. And, it's so that we can look at the way if you like, all the general area, which is Education, Human Services, taxi drivers, are I guess the key ones we are interested in the general area that complaints involving sexual assault in those areas are going to be looked at the same time as the way that Victorian Police are handling allegations of sexual assault. Both against officers, but also in the way that people are received, and that is (Omb Investig 3) about the attitude that individuals reporting assault face.
So, it'll have a look at the whole way that it operates within Government agencies, a whole of Government look at it. But be in a position to say for example when someone in the Disability Services is saying that they've been sexually assaulted by a worker in a Disability Service, Human Services are saying that they can't do anything until the Police have finished their investigation, Police are saying they can't really investigate the matters very well because one person has got a disability and they're both denying it and nothing happens.
So, for us to be able to look at that holistically is I guess a unique opportunity. And I guess that the sense that George Brouwer has said, even though every other area of the functions of the [Ombudsman] Office have been separated, in this area it needs to continue to operate as a joint Project. So, that's if you like the context.
What are we doing? We are reviewing all the files, the police complaints, and mainly the complaints from the Education and the Human Services area, every single complaint that has anything to do with someone alleging sexual assault. Whether or not the complaint to us is about that, maybe is not relevant, if there is a person saying they have been subject to sexual assault, or sexual misconduct, then that is a file that we are looking at, and we are entering, we've established a database, and what we're doing is looking at if you like the sort of things that people complain about, and probably the kind of things that people don't complain about, where complaints come from, where they don't come from, and then all the players, every single name that's been on the file in this Office, for the last four years in association with the complaint, would be entered on a database.
And what it will demonstrate is if there are names appearing more than once.
(Omb Investig 3): And what we hope to do with that information, and with some discussions we are having with people like yourself, but already we've met with the CASA's (Centres Against Sexual Assault), we've met already with the APP, we've met with the Witness Assistant Service to identify if you like what are common issues and we will be taking those issues with the facts that we have, and asking the key agencies how is that they collect data. What it is they do, to track employees, or for example, failure to prosecute rape cases in particular agencies, incidences of sexual assault that influence two students at the same school, stuff that might never get to police, and look at their policies and procedures, and then identify issues that are common that point to rape - systematic rape breakdown issues. And, we've already got 44 issues.
(Omb Investig 2). And, they're very significant issues, too.
Reina: Can you give a couple of examples?
Well, an example of the practice of some agencies when an accusation is made about a person with insufficient evidence to prove or proceed, or negotiate the termination and resignation occurs. That's one issue. In the early discussions we've had, we've identified issues with taxi drivers, I can't remember all of them…
(Omb Investig 2): But, in those 41 issues we've captured your issues. Things like the [tape] recording, remember, you've talked about that quite a bit, well, were going to focus some of those things.
Reina: Like, power to interview witnesses that can corroborate?
(Omb Investig 2): Yes. Well, what were looking at is partly the prosecution process that picks up things like the witnesses, it's from 'go to wo' and…without tipping what we've already found, there are a number of issues that we are going to put to the police, as we are going to put to others as well, too, by the way. But we are in the early days.
(Omb Investig 3): We will continue meeting, and we are interested in identifying those structural defects, the policy and procedure, employee screening, issues across the board, and identifying that sort of stuff, but also solutions and ways in which if you like agencies might be able to improve the collective response that they have through understandings between agencies, policies that they do implement in relation to insuring everyone has access to a CASA person, those sorts of things. And, we are interviewing everyone separately and apart, or talking to them, and I should say that it is intended to be a collaborative process that is problem-solving because we think that we have been on a problem-finding, we want to go ahead with what we think so we are getting that hard data together and confirmed through discussions with people.
Once we've got if you like consensus on what are the key areas of issue sort of stuff, we will probably as this is early days yet, so we are not committing ourselves to this, but we will see if we can actually get some problem-solving activities happening, so we might get representatives from the key agencies together saying 'These are the issues we've discovered, particularly across agencies, what are you going to do about them?'
(Omb Investig 2): And, some of these are agencies will be agencies specific too... And there are some hard issues for them to answer, by the way. There is some very difficult questions that we want answers to.
(Omb Investig 3): And, irrespective of the results of that, I think that we are increasingly heading to something that is a formal report, maybe tabled in Parliament, that established some issues hopefully and recommends some areas of change. The key aim of the Project is to improve the response of all agencies to allegations of sexual assault… To provide consistency and efficiency and timely responses… That produces the best outcome for the person that's been assaulted. I think we are going to be able to achieve that, but some of the stuff I think is relatively easy, I mean, 'Does your database talk to itself?' But that very clear message that you had is that the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing, and there is no way for tracking of what is maybe a predatory environment.
I think there are maybe some hard issues and we might not do anything apart from identify that, to make sure that's on the agenda of public debate. The conflict that exists been natural justice and privacy, and allegations as opposed to convictions, and everything in between, how the community has to not just hope that it all goes away, and I think the community also has to have clear and consistent messages about 'No means no' and the person's process and complaining has to achieve an outcome that is positive and not negative for the person.
And that we may not… I mean it would be terrific if there were long- term better policing methods and better employment methods that reduce the incidence of sexual assault in our community. That's really ambitious, but I think medium-term, the possibility is that we will improve the way people respond to allegations of people who complain about sexual assault, just to improve the experience for people who've experienced that. So, I mean that's the process, we've had six months, and we started in October, we as I said are three or four issues down the track, half a data-base full of files down the track, formal profile and public profile from the Ombudsman, the fact that it was publicized in the paper yesterday, the first job Mr Brouwer did as the Director of Police Integrity was to instigate a Joint Project in terms of understanding and if not investigating the way in which at a systematic level allegations of sexual assault are dealt with.
You know, there are people doing lots of work in lots of areas, and we don't want to, we are not going to repeat stuff that other people are doing, it's a unique opportunity because of where the Ombudsman sits in regard to Government Departments and where the Director of Police Integrity sits now in relation to Police in that it IS a whole of Government perspective, there is hardly anybody who has that opportunity. And we have an opportunity at a practical level. The Law Reform Commission has done a great look at the Law, and great consultative process, but our job will be to actually look at the forms people fill in when somebody is knocking on the door of, you know... (name of suburb - withheld) Police Station. That type of result, and, to make sure I think there has been already education setting up of the special Unit, we have contacts now, and there are other Units dedicated to it, and there is an understanding and acknowledgement that nobody is doing it very well.
[End of Side One/Tape One]
(Omb Investig 3): With the experience of individuals, there will be multi-agencies involved. And people need to be able to know all the way through that process, what the next step is, and expect to be treated with dignity and respect and not have to take poor attitudes from people… and if convictions aren't possible, which is the case for a significant amount, it's not enough to say there is no conviction so no action.
I guess my background (details of Omb Investigator 3's background - withheld) and decided I wanted to investigate Police [laugh].
Reina: That's funny [laugh]
(Omb Investig 2): [laugh} It IS funny, isn't it?
(Omb Investig 3): And now, I guess, I get the best of both worlds [laugh] where some of that old experience goes out the door.
And, (Omb Investig 4)'s got (qualifications specified - withheld) doing (type of work - withheld).
Reina: So, (employment details of Omb Investig 4 – withheld).
(Omb Investig 4): I did. Yeah. (Further details of employment - withheld). So… Yeah.
I've been here (details of employment – withheld)
(Omb Investig 2): I think the Ombudsman did as best he could through recruiting a fresh team for this Project.
Reina: [laugh] Excellent.
(Omb Investig 3): So, that's the advantage of our perspective is the, and it is, and we are very happy to be involved in this.
(Reina??): Well, (Omb Investig 4), I would think that you would have had a lot of experience in this…
(Omb Investig 4): I have, yeah, very much so.
Reina: You would know this stuff very well.
(Omb Investig 4): Yeah, and none of it is terribly surprising.
Reina: Well, looks like you've seen the worst of it, both of you.
(Omb Investig 4): Yes.
(Omb Investig 3): Yeah, so you think that you can't be shocked, but you can…
(Omb Investig 4): Yeah.
(Omb Investig 3): I guess that's, well, our backgrounds are all diverse, but our commitment to making a difference and improving things are clear.
(Omb Investig 2): So, that brings us back to what we we're talking about. The project has two components, there's the Project part, which is taking a fair bit of our time, it does have issues like we've said in relation to the new formation of the two Offices and then there's your complaints. So, we're capturing them, in total but we need to talk about those other ones that you have to think about what you feel.
******: Some of them I guess would be chopped up and chucked in the Police Integrity side of things and others will be kept.
(Omb Investig 2): Well, what would happen to them is that we believe we are picking them up anyway.
Reina: I would want answers to each individual complaint though. I don't want it all just to be incorporated into a general Project and referred to generally. I don't think that I would be satisfied…
(Omb Investig 3): OK. So in relation to your - I think there are ten in your letter?
(Omb Investig 2): I don't know the number off the top of my head. It would be something around that.
(Omb Investig 3): So, you want something in response to each of those and…
(Omb Investig 2): And where we see they fit in, is that what you're saying?
Reina: No, I just would hope that they will be investigated, and there will be specific responses to each of those. Just from the top of my head, I don't think I would be happy if for example the failure of (Police Officer 2) to adequately investigate the complaints against the organized child pornography network- in the late 90's. For that to never have a specific answer, for that just to be responded to in some sort of generic report on general police failure to treat these issues seriously.
I would like to see (Police Officer 2) and the others to be held accountable for their individual failure to investigate properly.
And I would like to see, hopefully, as a result of them being held accountable for their improper conduct for an investigation to be instigated.
I don't trust the Victoria Police still, I just think they're full of crap… excuse my language.
(Omb Investig 2): That's OK.
Reina: Their supposed investigation into the four re-opened cases has been a complete whitewash all designed to vindicate them from the findings of the Ombudsman. So, I would like the Ombudsman to be overseeing this subsequent investigation but it's my firm belief - and that of the victims - that at best, those police officers did not adequately investigate their complaints, and at worst, the police actively covered it up, because some of them are 'on the take'.
(Omb Investig 3): Weren't some of those issues covered [in the previous Ombudsman investigation]?
Reina: [firmly] No, they're all new.
(Omb Investig 3): This is… This is… I thought that the… the… key bit of that was in relation to… and I'm sorry, I haven't… I had a look at the report that they made… But not in any great detail… but that… the… um… the… I thought that the Crime Stoppers allegation… or am I getting confused?
Reina: Yep. You're getting confused. The Crime Stoppers issue was dealt with by (Ombusdman Investigators 5 and 6)'s report.
But, I have reported the existence of an organized paedophile network and child pornography network that's also trafficking drugs and is also associated with unsolved murders, I reported that to police…and they made a mockery of it. And then I subsequently found out that they've received numerous reports independently identifying the same network, however.
And, when those reports were made, the same thing happened…that they weren't investigated properly, the witnesses were intimidated, and nothing's come of it.
And it's [child paedophile and pornography network] still going on.
(Omb Investig 3): Well, that's a very good example of what I think the Project may address. My understanding is that the way that data is collected requires… and we are in the early stages yet… that there may be too much discretion given to somebody in regard to the way that data is accessed.
When somebody says, 'I want to tell you about my experience,' the way that person may be received may be totally up to the discretion of the person whose there.
In investigating the previous allegations in relation to the paedophile network there have been no witnesses to the fact… in fact, there's been nobody who has said that, 'On the (date – withheld), I presented at (name of suburb - withheld) Police Station and this is what I said'.
So, it's very difficult for us to investigate that. It's very difficult for anyone to investigate that…without witnesses as to the fact. I mean, you've given your…
Reina: I have witnesses. There are witnesses who can.
(Omb Investig 3): Well, my understanding is that…
Reina: Well, there are witnesses… three of them to substantiate that they independently made a complaint to (Police Officer 2, Police Officer 3, Police Officer 4 – names withheld) regarding that same network.
(Omb Investig 3): Not in relation to the Child Care Centre…in relation to something else.
Reina: In relation to an organized paedophile and child pornography network that's also trafficking drugs and associated with a number of unsolved murders in this State [Victoria].
(Omb Investig 3): See, I don't know if anybody's got the names of those witnesses.
Reina: No, I haven't given them, yet because I was told that the file… Actually, I have given them, and I was actually told that the file would be brought up… collected… and that you wouldn't contact the victims until I got back so I could…
(Omb Investig 3): I understand the names that you faxed to (Omb Investig 1) there we're some names that we're email to (Omb Investig 1) in that related to the (alleged perpetrator – name withheld) creche.
Reina: No. In the last meeting I gave you the names of the three.
(Omb Investig 2): I just need to check that. I'm not debating that.
Reina: We did. Because, we absolutely had a heart attack about it because we know that it is such a sensitive case…
(Omb Investig 2): Well, we'll revisit that.
Reina: Because this is an essential issue. This is like the key issue.
(Omb Investig 3): That's right, because we haven't contacted anyone, and I saw some names and I know that they we're actually people who we're associated with the…
(Omb Investig 2): [to Reina] Those we're the names you sent through. Remember, they we're the names you sent through.
Reina: Yes. Separate. That's separate, a whole new complaint.
(Omb Investig 2): Yes.
(Omb Investig 3): OK.
Reina: Quite independent of the last complaint. In fact, the only thing that overlaps is the investigating Officers of which we have serious concerns.
(Omb Investig 3): Which is why we are, in our files, identifying anyone who has anything to do with… just to see all the different themes in relation to that. So, we'll go back, in relation to those names, and…
(Omb Investig 2): Yeah.
(Omb Investig 3): And…
Reina: Can we go through, actually, I need to put some money in my car, So, can we sort of go through…
(Omb Investig 2): Can we stop this [the tape] then? Are you happy with that?
(Omb Investig 3): OK. That's right. We'll go through all of this. And we'll have an action plan, in relation to each one
That would be great. And actually, we need to sort of… we need to clarify between you know, the difference the old and the new, the difference between the general and the specific, and the whole lot.
(Omb Investig 3): Great, that's terrific.
(Omb Investig 2): [speaking to tape] 2:55. Thank you.
[Tape stopped for a short break]
(Omb Investig 3): OK. So we'll go back and listen to the original tape you had… with (Omb Investig 2) on it…
(Omb Investig 2): And just… just for the tape, I make the time about: 3:05.
(Omb Investig 3): OK. The other two bits of that… This is all about how they [the police] proceed with previous reports, what they've done with them, their ability to actually say when there are two or three similar reports and match that up. The other allegations are, failure to investigate allegations of serious crimes, and the minimization of existence of previous reports.
So, you've got corroborative witnesses in relation to the particular, which is something that can be subject to investigation. When we say can, it's possible that it can be subject to investigation, but these other matters are clearly really something that we hope to address in relation to… the database and the information exchange and the ability to actually track multiple offenders or similar offences is a key issue. It's an issue for all the organizations. We hope to be able to do that.
The next area relates to…
Reina: Can I just relate to the first issues?
(Omb Investig 2): Yes.
Reina: Our main contention is… that there is a criminal network that is operating in Victoria, and it's responsible for child pornography and the distribution of it, child prostitution, and trafficking in drugs, and it's also committed a number of unsolved murders in this State. Our main contention is that police are protecting them.
(Omb Investig 3): Yep.
Reina: It's not only that this case demonstrates all of these failings to document cases adequately, the point is that it is being protected, the victims who were abused as part of this network as children can testify to the fact that police officers we're actually being paid off so that this criminal network remained untouchable. So that's why we want it to be investigated thoroughly, and for there to be a report of the kind of quality that came out as a result of the last complaint. There is clearly something really bad happening in this State, and it needs to be sorted out.
It's organized crime, and it's being allowed to continue because… There are a couple of bad eggs in the right places.
(Omb Investig 3): I'm not sure either the Office of Police Integrity or…
I'm absolutely certain that the Ombudsman of Victoria can't deliver that level of investigation, can't do that.
Reina: Can't investigate organized crime and police protection of organized crime?
(Omb Investig 3): No. Can't.
It can investigate the allegations of the conduct of corrupt police officers… possibly. And, that's once its new coercive powers have been tried and tested in Court.
Reina: I believe that there is at least enough to say that the repeated allegations made independently made by independent witnesses of the organized crime network has not been adequately investigated.
And, through that investigation I'm hoping that you will find evidence of police corruption and police officers being 'paid off' by this network.
And then, as I know that you can't actually investigate crimes as such, just to have the acknowledgement that there is a scandal of this type of organized crime that will lead to some action being taken - even if it is by the Victoria Police. That's what I was hoping.
(Omb Investig 3): I mean… I… The… The… The role of the Office of Police Integrity as I said before is relatively new, it's bringing a new face to Victoria in relation to non- Police if you like investigation of crime. Still, within that Office the people who are actually writing off the briefs and producing if you like the paperwork that will produce a day in court of people. And they're the only ones in Victoria, under the Law that are able to prepare a brief of those, criminal prosecution. So, that's one issue.
The extent to which there are witnesses to facts saying that, 'I said, on such a such a day, and nothing's happened,' you know, we'll have a look at that, and what we can do in relation of that. Because we are interested in the experience that individuals have suffered - or alleging abuse - may have faced. You know… but we are conscious of our limitations particularly now, in relation to our own limitations in terms of what we can do with that.
But…If we could get back to you in relation to that.
But, we won't able to take steps without VicPol having the carriage (sorry, when I say 'we', I mean, I'm talking about the Office of Police Integrity, not actually talking about us) having sufficient… [inaudible sentence]
(Omb Investig 3): What I would hope… would be achieved… is possibly nothing, in relation to that past ring, even if it's still operating.
What I hope we would be able to achieve is that people would be coming to police from now on, or after what we recommend gets implemented, that whether they [victims] come from (country town X, country town Y, City Z – names of localities withheld), say, 'This is what happened to me', there is enough of a [police] database [for police] to say, 'That happened there, that happened there, who else is involved? We've actually got a picture that allows us to covertly get the evidence we need to do this.'
Maybe some of the stuff that's recently come to light in relation to the customs stuff and international and whole other stuff the likelihood is that some of those names might appear. But, it will be witnesses to the fact and the evidence that 'I was there, this is what happened'.
Reina: I think that is very good for the general Project, I think it is wonderful. It is fantastic. We are totally supportive of that, and we will do whatever we can to support it.
What we do want to see is a specific investigation into our specific complaints with outcomes.
(Omb Investig 3): Yes.
Reina: It's proved difficult to address these issues. We've tried to get Victoria Police as have others, to investigate this organized crime network, and have just been placed with brick walls.
(Omb Investig 2): Have they [Victoria Police] written back to you, or anything? Have they given you no feedback, or…
Reina: In relation to this paedophile network, they [Victoria Police], when you go through the documentation, you will see that they have tried to deceive us at every level in order not to investigate it. So we have had no satisfaction at all from Victoria Police just in relation to that. In terms of the other four investigations, the re-opened ones - they've given us limited feedback. But, then, I've been away [on a break] for six weeks.
The seriousness of the crimes that are continually being committed by that [paedophile and child pornography] network are such a degree that I would hope that the whole community and the Government would want to see it finished. Something has got to be done about, because children are [presently] continuing to be abused by that network, and they have been abused for a number of years and have not received any justice at all, and they're being allowed to continue.
(Omb Investig 3: (personal details – withheld) because I have a different view of what the justice system can achieve. It's incompatible with my personality that is of optimism. I guess we will look at the witnesses to the fact and then make a decision in relation to what course of action can come from our team.
(Omb Investig 2): We would need to prepare what we viewed from that material. We are picking up the response that you are seeking, which is a response to each one of those [the formal complaints]. And, we are not fobbing them off, by the way, we are certainly not doing that, I don't want to give you that impression.
Reina: It's too serious to fob off.
(Omb Investig 2): Well, we're certainly not doing that. We just want to be sure that we do it right. That's the process.
Reina: And, can I just say before you do, that they are worthy of proper and thorough and rigorous investigation.
(Section deleted about a specific uninvestigated murder case, due to need to protect alleged victims.) It needs to be looked at - it can't just be pushed to the side, or incorporated into a general report.
(Omb Investig 3): But, what we know about child pornography, even extensively in investigations, that the outcome it achieves the best for some people is never enough. There is never… I mean, the number of people that achieve a satisfactory justice process in criminal, going to jail, getting a sentence that gives the victims some sort of closure, is by far [inaudible].
And, I guess the sense of…what we want though in terms of our involvement in looking at what administrative inaction or inappropriate action has taken place that's a legitimate thing for us, or if you like, the [Ombudsman] Office to undertake. But, to achieve people who have abused children, being prosecuted successfully and jailed successfully with a non-traumatic, criminal justice process for those witnesses is very difficult.
And, I don't think that is going to be able to be achieved without a concerted adoption by the community as a whole, that that is totally unacceptable behaviour, there needs to be early warning, big education stuff, and adoption of some of the Law Reform Commission stuff.
I guess we're not going to paint ourselves into anything like that big a picture, we're going to nibble our way down… get the training a bit better, lets work towards something that is approached collaboratively, as a community, that it does a cultural change.
Reina: Yes, I'm totally supportive of that. I think it's terrific. I think it's wonderful. But, I do feel strongly that the issue of organized crime and the existence of police corruption and this example of it… the Truth needs to come out.
(Alleged perpetrator – name withheld), one of the key offenders, may never get prosecuted. He may never. But, for those kids that have been abused by him, at least for the police officers who failed to investigate the reports that it be acknowledged that it wasn't investigated properly, and that it should have been, should bring some vindication to them, and it's one step forward, if you know what I mean.
(Omb Investig 3): Yeah, I do understand that. I'm just not sure that anybody can achieve that. But, we'll have a look at it.
******: So, the take of the Ombudsman at the moment, is that he is the… That nothing can really be done productively on Reina's allegations given the current framework that we've got to work with and thus the need for the work of this Project to highlight…
(Omb Investig 3): The acceptance that the Police processes on the allegations of sexual assault are inadequate has been taken on board. The ability of this Office to investigate corrupt officers who are involved currently, there is no jurisdiction to look at ex- service officers, so we're looking at events that happened ten or fifteen years ago, the chances… we would need good... any successful outcome would cause the police to have good, irrefutable evidence that previous reports we're made, AND intentionally mismanaged.
Reina: You would be able to see, I am sure, when you recall the file that it wasn't dealt with adequately. You'll be convinced of that. Even if it's to the point that they [specialist police] failed to document the case properly. Then when you put together the bigger picture, there's subsequent denial that previous reports were made about this network and the lengths that they went into that they took to convince me that there weren't previous complaints (and I am working with the victims that made it) that it all points to the bigger picture that there is something seriously amiss here.
(Omb Investig 3): Well, we'll have a look at that. We'll go on to have a look at the issues around the conduct of the manner of the interview with (alleged victim – name withheld), I guess OUR view is that that detracts… that we can interview… that if (Police Officer 1) was to be interviewed, his… um… if the conduct of his interview was called into question, that most likely it would have been a judgement call and there is no consequences in relation to a judgement call.
Reina: The thing is, that again, it points to an overall picture because not only did he…
[End of tape two]
Letter to Victoria Police Chief Commissioner, 29 September 2004, re lack of apology for police conduct
Reply letter to Victorian police Chief Commissioner, by CSAPP's Director Dr Reina Michaelson, to Chief Commissioner Nixon and her lack of apology from the Victorian police.
29 September, 2004
Dear Chief Commissioner Nixon,
Thank you for your reply to my letter and email requesting an apology on behalf of Victoria Police for the mishandling of child sexual abuse cases.
I am concerned that in your reply you have stated that you will not be taking any action until the outcomes of the "re-opened" police investigations have been determined.
I am concerned at this response, as the findings of the Ombudsman's investigation were clearly damning of Victoria Police's handling of those cases. Indeed, one of the findings of the Ombudsman's investigation was that a member of Victoria Police involved in one of the investigations referred to an 11-year old child-victim as a "little slut".
Surely the least you could do, on behalf of Victoria Police, is apologise for this appalling conduct on behalf of your officers?
As stated in my initial correspondence, the issue of trust is a significant one for the victims/witnesses involved in the child sexual abuse cases that were shown to have been mishandled by Victoria Police, as well as for those connected to other cases, such as organised pedophilia and child pornography. A formal apology for the devastating consequences of the police mishandling of those cases (for example, the resulting deprivation of justice for the victims) would go some way in re-establishing trust between the victims/witnesses and Victoria Police.
It saddens me that you have not welcomed the opportunity to re-establish trust between the victims/witnesses and Victoria Police.
On behalf of the witnesses/victims, and in light of the findings of the Ombudsman's investigation, I hope that you will re-consider your position on this matter.
(Dr) Reina Michaelson
Letter to Victoria Police Chief Commissioner requesting an apology, 1 September 2004
Letter to Victorian police Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon, by CSAPP's Director Dr Reina Michaelson, requesting an apology from the Victorian police.
1st September, 2004
Dear Chief Commissioner Nixon,
On behalf of all of the victims who suffered as a result of the demonstrated mishandling of child sexual abuse cases, including CSAPP Inc. and myself, I note that it has now been over two months since the release of the Ombudsman¹s report. It is immensely disappointing that we are yet to receive a written (or verbal) apology from you on behalf of Victoria Police for the devastating consequences of the police mishandling of those cases. We would like to believe that the attitude of Victoria Police in regard to these matters has changed as a result of the damning findings of the Ombudsman¹s report. A formal apology is overdue and would be one positive step forward in re-establishing trust between the victims involved and CSAPP, and Victoria Police. We all hope to receive a positive response soon.
(Dr) REINA MICHAELSON
Victim/Witness testimonay 3: Statutory Declaration, 5 May 2004 and Letter to Victoria Police Chief Commissioner, 1 May 2004
We made our statements with the police in Surfers Paradise, QLD. “Georgina” had a paediatricain report taken from the Gold Coast Hospital... but within a matter of weeks after the case was assigned to a detective who works in (alleged offender’s) town of ********, Victoria,"
May 05, 2004. [Filed at csapp.net for public disclosure May 13 2004]
I (victim’s relative), of (address), do solemnly and sincerely declare that;
In June 1998, my girlfriend (now wife), [name] (formerly known as [name]) told me that her two children, “Georgina” (pseudonym) & “Jack” (pseudonym) (now aged 15 & 12 years old), were being illegally withheld from her by ******'* mother & step-father, ******* & ****** ******, and by her sister and brother-in-law, **** & *** ****.
“Georgina” & “Jack” were arranged to have a temporary holiday with their grandparents for 6 weeks whilst (children’s mother) booked into a counciling program for that period of time. (Children’s mother's) brother-in-law, *** **** (relative and corporate head) had organised for (victim’s mother) to be booked into this counciling program while the children and grandparents were living with him in Victoria. *** **** (relative and corporate head) had financed (victim's mother’s) counciling with the understanding that (victim’s mother) would then return for the children after 6 weeks so that they could then get on with their lives -- This, however, did not happen.
During the course of the counciling period, *** **** had cancelled (victim's mother’s) funding and assistance, withdrew from her all support, and then told ****** that she was not any longer able to see her children, nor able to even ring them unless it was an emergency. This is all stated in letters sent to (victim’s mother) from *** **** (relative/corporate head) which we have in our possession. *** **** (relative/corporate head) told her that the children were better off without her, that she was a terrorist, that she would never ammount to anything, and that she should be grateful that he and the grandparents have the money to provide for them a better future.
(Victim’s mother) was dealing with grief from the death of some of her friends, including *** ****'s (relative/corporate head) own daughter, and the confusing reconciliation she had with her natural father who had been in prison since she was 5 years old (whom she had visited in prison for the first time when she was in her late teens). She was never told the reasons for his incarceration. (Victim’s mother) was abused and humiliated by *** **** (relative/corporate head) to the extent that she believed she was better off dead. He destroyed any self-worth that she was trying so hard to regain, and kept intimidating her so that she might just disappear.
What makes this outline so far even more disturbing is that, after (victim’s mother) and I eventually rescued the children back from their abductees, after over 3 years of seperation from their mother, “Georgina” had disclosed that she was being sexually abused during this period of time by ****** ****** [alleged offender] (*** ****'s father-in-law and business partner) whilest under *** ****'s (relative/corporate head) and ****** ******'s (alleged offender) illegal guardianship, and that the children were prevented form returning to their mother so as to cover up these sex crimes at all costs.
(Victim’s mother) and I sought legal advice before we took the children back into our care, as we were prevented from contact with them after trying everything we could for over 12 months. We had no idea at this stage that the motive was to prevent any knoweldge of the pedeaplilia, as they insulted and intimidated us both so much that we both felt that we were never ever going to succeed. We finally managed to free them by stealth, but had no idea exactly how viscious and dangerous their response might be.
****** ****** (alleged offender) has guarenteed me on several occasions that he was going to have me killed. ******* ****** (alleged offender’s wife) threatened that she was going to have *** (relative/corporate head) organise for my legs to be broken. (Victim's mother’s) two sisters, ***** **** and ******* **** both told me, again on several occasions, that I would be killed. *** **** (relative/corporate head) rang me up offering money to return the children. After I refused, he threatened to 'take care of me'. And all this happened before we found out about the pedeaphilia! They tried deperately to scare us, to intimidate us, to coerse us to return the children or there would be spilt blood. And we were scared and intimidated - but not coersed. We have moved locations many times, living on the run. We have had our names changed, we have had our centrelink records secured. We have been hiding in sheds on remote properties, lived in tents by the ocean, and even now, nearly seven years from the time I was first made aware, we are still hiding for fear of their retribution. When “Georgina” told us about the sexual abuse over 2 years ago, which happened when she was 10 years old, we thought that once this comes out into the open we might finally be safe. We made our statements with the police in Surfers Paradise, QLD. “Georgina” had a peadiatricain report taken from the Gold Coast Hospital... but within a matter of weeks after the case was assigned to a detective who works in (alleged offender’s) town of ********, Victoria, the case was closed. The detective in charge, ***** *****, told me that there was insufficient evidence. When I asked him what is so insufficient about a pediatrician report, he asked... "What pediatrician report?" He closed the case without even seeing it! Hence, we still don't feel secure, we have had no justice, and our concern for police corruption through bribes has fully grown.
We as a family have suffered tremendously through this ordeal. (Victim’s mother) has developed an acute anxiety disorder which is still being treated. The threats we have constantly received have been engineered to this effect, and when we confront them they laugh at us. “Georgina” was raped at 10 years of age (this is the term the police used whilest taking our statements) while *** **** (relative/corporate head) and ****** ****** (alleged offender) laugh at us. “Georgina” was then herself threatened, abused, intimidated and humiliated. More programming! “Georgina” has consequently been scared, confused, disallusioned and very depressed.
In “Georgina's” fear and confusion, she decided to try to reconcile with the family again, as she was concerned about being their enemy. She decided to move back into their care and be all friends again. She did this without our blessing, but by now “Georgina” felt she had to take her life into her own hands (as her mum and I had seemingly failed her). “Georgina” apparently felt safe that this would not happen again, that he surely learnt his lesson... She was wrong!
In April 2004, “Georgina” contacted us through the Sexual Abuse Unit in Victoria to tell us of the unthinkable. He did it again!
We are very concerned for ourselves, but particularly for “Georgina”. She has friends down here, and she won a scolarship at her school, so she wants to stay here. She thinks she is safe in the Government safe house, but I am concerned she is not. She has again made another statement to the police, and we are told that they will investigate it, but we are very apprehensive owing to the outcome of the last investigation. We are concerned that the financial influence of *** **** (relative/corporate head) and ****** ****** (alleged offender) will find them protection from a proper investigation, as they have already demonstrated how determined they are to make sure that this stays burried.
Covering up Pedeaphillia seems to me to be on par with the crime itself; and the entire corporate family: *** and ***** ****, ****** and ******* *******, and ***** and ******* ****, seem to be willing to do anything to make sure that no one ever finds out. We are deeply concerned that justice will not come about. We are concerned with the extent of Pedeaplilia in this family, as ****** (alleged offender) also tried to have sex with “Georgina’s” mother when she was a teen, and that also was covered up. We are concerned about how many other victims there may be that have also recieved the same miscarriage of justice. We are concerned at the level of bribes and corruption in the police department for cases like this to just disappear. We are concerned that this will continue happening to victims who do not have the wealth or powere to buy protection and justice. And we are concerned that without a Royal Commission into this corporate pedeaphilia raquet, the law will exist only to protect the rich and victimize the poor.
We want justice for our daughter. She may never fully recover from being sexually abused, but without justice, we are saying that we condone it.
And I make this solemn declaration concientiously believing the same to true and by virtue of the provisions of the Act of the Parliament of Victoria rendering persons making a false declaration punishable for wilful and corrupt perjury.
(Signed - Name withheld for legal and safety reasons)
Below: Letter to Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Nixon May 01, 2004 From The Above Witness
Dear Chief Commissioner Nixon
I’m writing to you as my life and my family’s life are in danger from the corporate family of [well known corporation] (*** **** [corporate head]is my [relative]). We are going through a case of child molestation, and the family‚ are trying to cover this dreadful deed up in every way possible.
My daughter, “Georgina” (pseudonym), has made allegations, now for the second time, against her (relative/alleged offender), ****** ******, which at the first time the investigation was put to a stop from Victorian Police. And now that new allegations have surfaced once again, we feel that justice will not come about, as these police, we believe, are bribed by my wealthy family.
Because the Victorian Police did not do their job properly in the first case, this paedophile was allowed to continue with his sick behaviour once again. The ball is in your court now, as your job is to keep justice and honesty within the police department; something which is not happening.
“Georgina” has had several intimidating threats which were intended to be understood as threats against her life. She has been harassed in multiple ways and forms to silence her. My husband has also had his life threatened repeatedly to warn him to leave it alone. We have several letters from *** **** (corporate head) and ****** ****** (alleged offender) intimidating, harassing and threatening us.
I’m asking that you instigate a Royal Commission to allow these Police officers to be investigated on bribes received from my family that allowed a paedophile to repeat his offence; so that we might receive justice, and no longer be in fear of their death threats. And that if anything happens to me or my family members; either killed or hurt in any way, that this case might be investigated thoroughly.
My family members names are (details provided).
Please call me to let me know that this letter has reached you.
Victim/witness testimony 2, 27 April 2004: Letter
Victim/Witness Testimony 02: "I was literally thrown out of a Police Station, when I mentioned the group of people I was dealing with ... I would not make it to the first day of trial alive! " Published 13 MAY 2004.
27th April, 2004
I am writing this letter in hope that some injustices may be rectified and honesty, dignity kept amongst the men and women of our Police Force.
I am a wife, mother, victim and survivor. I was a victim and in many ways, will always be one of an abhorrent, shocking, revolting, unprovoked attack, that was not taken seriously when reported to authorities. The information given to the relevant authorities, being certain members of the Victoria Police Force, has not been either passed on – or compromised in some way. Evidence that should have been collected, wasn’t, and when my life was in danger, this evidence dissappeared.
Members of the force have refused to listen, help, support, or even refer me to an appropriate member of the force. I was literally thrown out of a Police Station, when I mentioned the group of people I was dealing with. The Sergeant saying ‘These people don’t live in Victoria!’
I have lost all faith in the Victoria Police Force, to the extent that I fear some members as much as the offenders who tried to kill me, and are still looking. I have gone to the Police to report a significant crime, but, knowing who I am dealing with, the Police members, refused to give any protection at all. Yet, I have been verbally threatened by these members, that I would be made, via (Subpoena), to give evidence as a Witness to my own case. If this were to happen, I would not make it to the first day of trial alive! Yet, these people (offenders) are still working, walking and preying on our children, women, and possibly our boys, men.
Somewhere in the system, these people and those offences are being protected and overlooked, and by my understanding, with what I have been for myself, I believe it is in the Victoria Police Force itself.
Therefore, as a victim of such a brutal crime, the offenders involved, the investigation, or lack of, by the Victoria Police Force, and the fact that I have a terminal illness contracted from the attack, I will accept nothing less than a full Royal Commission into Police Corruption, Sexual Abuse, and Criminal Protection amongst the Victoria Police.
I will not give up, on this issue, whatsoever. I believe that unless these predators are removed and named, society will never ever be truly safe.
It is simply not good enough, to have Police investigate Police! It hasn’t doesn’t and will never clear the corruption in OUR, being mine, (as a member of the public and community), Police Force. Somewhere through the system, as soon as these corrupt members get a scent of trouble they shut shop. They are always forewarned. You cannot truly think that if I was to ring crime-stoppers, that the information won’t be sent straight to the offending officers. Therefore, they are forewarned.
As mentioned previously, I have been given a death sentence due to this attack, but the injustices done, since then by the Victoria Police Force has been just as horrific. My dying wish, like a child at Christmas time, is for a Full Royal Commission into this issue, so maybe, I can be laid to rest, - finally – knowing that maybe not for me, but for every human being out there, life will be that much bit safer with these animals out of our Police and Community Systems for good. Let’s bring back those days when we are Proud of our Police, Not Scared or Intimidated, living in fear our my life!
Wanda Justice! (pseudonym)
Victim/witness testimony 1, 3 May 2004
MAY 03 2004 CSAPP Victim/Witness Testimony 01 of the Victorian elite pedophile ring, Angela Bellator (Pseudonym) "As a victim and survivor of an elite, organised child prostitution and child pornography network that operates in the State of Victoria, Australia ... "
WITNESS TESTIMONY: The Organised State of Child Prostitution and Child Pornography in Victoria by 'Angela Bellator' (Pseudonym)
Re: The Organised State of Child Prostitution and Child Pornography in Victoria (Filed on site 03/05/04)
As a victim and survivor of an elite, organised child prostitution and child pornography network that operates in the State of Victoria, Australia, I am writing this correspondence anonymously. The reason for not attaching my name to this document is that even now my life/safety is very possibly threatened. Previously I have had to change my identity and move inter-state to ensure my safety.
Currently, two prominent anti-pedophile activists in this country are both aware and supportive of my testimony. I therefore feel encouraged to voice my experiences in the hope that organised child prostitution and child pornography in the State of Victoria is afforded a heightened public awareness, contrary to the wishes of some of the Stateís politicians and senior law enforcement officials.
Child prostitution and child pornography certainly does exist in the State of Victoria, Australia. From my own experience, I have seen that the network is highly organised and lucrative, with very powerful Australian people involved as child sex offenders. The existence of this child pornography and pedophile ring operates under the protection of senior-ranking members of the Victorian Police.
I would like to describe a particular example of the police corruption that I observed protect this despicable industry. As a young child, prominent Australian businessmen, television personalities, and politicians (to name a few) sought various ways to ensure that I never impart to anybody details of their ultra-secret network. One particular subversive technique was for police officers to come to the front door of my residence.
Upon an adult victim of this network opening the door, the Detectives would inquire after the main male sexual offender of the house, asking questions under the guise of investigating a particular crime of which this perpetrator was suspect (he is a known criminal). Forced into submission by the pedophile ringís threats and warnings, the adult informed the police that the man they were after had left the house, saying his whereabouts where unknown. The policemen very convincingly tried to urge the adult victim of their trustworthiness, yet the invitation was declined and after some more attempted coercion the door was closed in front of them.
The policemen turned away, and made a move to depart down the front steps when the child sex offender came out from near to us where he had been hiding. To my complete shock and amazement, he swung open the door and in pure daylight called out, inviting the Officers back in. Whereupon the visitors, slapping this man on the back, with complete mate-ship called him by his first name and happily partook of his company for some time.
Such deception headed by Victoria police well and truly taught me that I could never disclose my own experiences. Though I was raped for half a decade by multiple perpetrators almost on a daily basis I never disclosed my story.
Due to a unique set of circumstances, as an adult I became relatively free of the networksí grasp. I sought to try and forget my past, and attempted to move on with my life in a way meaningful to me.
Having endeavored to try and live a ënormalí life, it was in my mid-twenties that I became aware that other victims of this child pedophile and pornography network went to the specialist police unit and provided information, but that investigation was highly suspicious at best. I also became involved in this transaction of information to Victorian police, and was basically intimidated by one of the investigating officers and did not proceed out of fear.
The information that was imparted to the specialist police unit included an overview of how the network operates, including its use of drugs and violence. The police were informed that the main purpose of the network is to provide a forum for sexual abuse of children.
Another main function is to produce and distribute XXX child pornography. The pornography takes the form of magazines, videos and still photographs and from my own experience I saw a great demand in Victoria for this type of sickening material. I was very often drugged as the perpetrators strategically commented that in the unlikely instance that their secret became exposed, my testimony would never ëstand up in courtí.
There were numerous other children forcibly involved to act as prostitutes with this network, boys and girls, ranging from the age of 2 to 14 years of age.
As a young child my knowledge of police-protected child sex greatly affected my life growing up, and does to this day. My sense of trust is shattered, I do not believe that institutions such as the Law or the Police are truly in place to protect victims of Australiaís heinous child-sex industry.
I am determined to get justice, yet I do not know what form my idea of justice will take. ëJusticeí is very difficult to determine with senior members of the Victorian police being corrupt and so protective over the child prostitution and pornography trade within their State.
I am keen for awareness of Victoriaís significant child-sex abuse issues to become publicly heightened; it is my belief that from a grass-roots level this terrible farce may become exposed. Though those closest to me are fearful for my life, I find it necessary to keep aspiring towards justice because it is the only way to continue to make improvements in society.
It is important that readers of this document do acknowledge that there are children who are currently living in the same nightmare I was once trapped in. Child welfare advocates, honest police officers, ethical members of the community and all others with a desire to expose this network need to work towards creating a climate that makes it safe enough for past-victims (survivors) to speak out about their appalling degree of sexual victimization. Only in this way, will the reality of the situation be finally acknowledged, and the children who are currently trapped may have some hope, at least- in being set free.
I have taken the initiative to have a trusted professional read this and verify in a Statutory Declaration that to the personís knowledge it is certainly I who has written this document.
Previously, anti-pedophile activist Dr. Reina Michaelson has brought much of the information contained in this document to senior members of the Victorian Police, calling for a Royal Commission into police corruption surrounding this child prostitution and pornography network. From Gary Hughesí recent articles in ëThe Ageí newspaper (5th April, 6th April, 19th April), I have observed with dismay the manner in which authorities have treated details of Victoriaís organised child-sex network, presented to them by a professional, national award-winning activist. It should be clear by now why a common person such as I have no faith that law enforcement would (and they have shown me that they havenít) taken my experience and my own information seriously.
For some time, VicPol has denied that a record even exists of independent witnessí reports of this organised pedophile and pornography network. After some amount of pressure a senior police officer finally assents that such knowledge has been presented from several witnesses to specialist police.
I hope that this document raises some serious questions for the people who read it. I ask you with empathy to put yourself in my shoes. I have come to a point in my life where I feel I have two choices: 1. Go on with my life, and try to exist in the best way possible keeping hidden the information of police corruption in my possession, or, 2. Engage in social action to help expose the hideous, child-abusing network that has wrecked my life. With valid concern for my safety I have chosen the second option. I hope that that people who read this document will be inspired and informed by my brave decision and join the small but committed chorus now calling for a Royal Commission in the State of Victoria surrounding the existence of an elite, organised child prostitution and child pornography network.
I just hope that there are other people who might help make me, other past-victims and survivors and- importantly- the children who are being currently abused- restore at least some faith in the society that has cruelly used us and denied our experiences for far too long.
In this country, it is people like me who have grown up in a war. The terrorists who forced us into child prostitution include senior members of the Victorian Police Force, and this is why I now ask you for a Royal Commission.
Angela Bellator (Pseudonym) Bravehearts Victoria P. O. Box 80 Briar Hill 3088
Angela Bellator's extra note added 06 May 2004: In the event of my death, disapperance or any unforseen accident/s, please make it very clear to the media, and everyone else concerned, that I am NOT suicidal, and that I will never, under any circumstances, take my own life. Could you please make it known to the media, and everyone else concerned, that after I made public my experiences as a child victim of an Australian child pornography/pedophile ring and the active Victorian police involvement in this ring, that I held fears I would be murdered. Specifically, I held fears that I would be murdered in such a way as that it would be set up to look like a suicide or an "accident" when in fact I was murdered due to my involvement in exposing the existence of the high-level child pornography/pedophile ring and the Victorian police's active involvement in it. Further, I hold fears for the safety of my immediate family, and in the event of their or my own death, disappearance or any unforseen accident/s, I wish to make it very clear that we were involved as child-victims and witnesses of an elite, child-abusing network which includes senior police officers who have threatened our lives in several instances if we were to ever disclose our information to the media or authorities.
Letter of complaint to Victoria Police Commissioner, 26 April 2004
APRIL 26 2004 Formal complaint letter by Dr Reina Michaelson to the Victorian Police Commissioner (12/04/04) and those involved in the current "investigation" into the organised child pornography/pedophile and ritual abuse network, and police corruption within Victoria.
12 April 2004 Dear Chief Commissioner Nixon APM,
I am writing in response to the replies that have come from your office concerning requests for a Royal Commission into organised pedophilia, child pornography and police corruption in Victoria.
In your letter to Ms. (name withheld) and Ms. (name withheld) (31 March 2004), two professionals with expertise in the area of ritual abuse and torture of children and related criminal activity such as the production and distribution of child pornography, you stated
"Victoria Police will thoroughly investigate any allegations of this nature (pedophilia and child pornography)".
Unfortunately, your response failed to address the very point of why Ms. (name withheld) and Ms. (name withheld), along with so many others, are calling for a Royal Commission:
Victoria Police has consistently FAILED to conduct genuine and thorough investigations into organised pedophilia and child pornography in this state.
Similarly, when given the responsibility to investigate its own mis-handling of such complaints, Victoria Police has been shown to have failed in this task, with serious problems extending even to the Ethical Standards Department.
Here is a summary which I hope will illustrate to you why so many people are immensely concerned by this case and why so many people are appealing to you personally to instigate a Royal Commission.
A Department of Human Services inquiry concluded that the owners of a child care centre in the Mornington Peninsula region had allowed and possibly participated in the sexual abuse of children in their care.
The owner of the child care centre was never charged with a single offence and nor were any of the other alleged offenders.
The child-victims in this case independently reported being sexually abused by policemen.
The child-victims in this case independently identified a house where they were taken to and sexually abused. The house later turned out to be a police-officer's home.
A video-tape depicting police officers involved in the ritual abuse of children in this case was handed over to a detective and subsequently "lost" while in the possession of Victoria Police.
Members of Victoria Police (Crimestoppers) passed confidential information regarding child pornography and police corruption on to the unit at the centre of the corruption reports after having promised that the information would go straight to the Ethical Standards Division. Furthermore, the information was never passed on to ESD.
ESD appointed the close friend and colleague of the officers at the centre of the corruption reports to conduct the investigation, representing a major conflict of interest.
The ESD officer seconded to the Ombudsman's investigation failed to pass on significant information regarding the alleged active participation of police members in child pornography and ritual abuse of children and then lied about it.
Despite a promise being made that the police officers at the centre of corruption reports would not even know about the investigation, let alone have any involvement in it, it was revealed that at least one officer was shown to have both knowledge of and involvement in the investigation.
Previous complaints and investigations concerning this criminal network are legally most significant. However, the existence of previous complaints and/or investigations were initially DENIED by Victoria Police but later ADMITTED to.
Police officers involved in receiving previous information concerning this criminal network and/or participating in the investigation/s either outright denied having ever received such information, or stated they "cannot recall". One officer then admitted to the fact that previous report/s have been made and that he was involved in the investigation of one such complaint. When asked which other officers assisted in the investigation or were privy to the information he stated he "does not recall".
Many people have come forward with evidence concerning organised pedophilia, child pornography and police corruption in this state and Victoria Police has CONSISTENTLY let these people down.
Your current stance on this case has led many people to wonder whether or not you are complicit in what is so obviously a cover-up.
Please give the members of our community, especially the victims of these unspeakable crimes, a reason to believe in you and your integrity. I implore you to take courage in hand and instigate a Royal Commission.
I look forward to your positive response.
Dr. Reina Michaelson Executive Director Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program inc. VICTORIA.
Letter of complaint to Victoria Police, 3 March 2004
MARCH 03 2004 Formal complaint letter by Dr Reina Michaelson to the Victorian Police Commissioner and those involved in the current "investigation" into the organised child pornography/pedophile and ritual abuse network, and police corruption within Victoria.
PLEASE NOTE: FOR LEGAL REASONS SOME NAMES IN THE FOLLOWING HAVE BEEN CHANGED.
The following letter by Dr Reina Michaelson is a formal complaint to the Victorian Police Commissioner and those involved in the current "investigation" into the organised child pornography/pedophile and ritual abuse network, and police corruption within Victoria, as revealed to them by Dr Michaelson, Executive Director of the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program Inc. This formal complaint has been published as an open letter on this website to ensure that under the closer scrutiny of Australia's ordinary citizens, and other ethical people around the world, justice will finally be done, and the many deeply suffering victims of these serious child abusers will at last be relieved of their torment.
(Dr) Reina Michaelson Executive Director Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program Inc. P. O. Box 80 Briar Hill 3088 Victoria email: firstname.lastname@example.org
3 March 2004
Dear Chief Commissioner Nixon, Assistant Commissioner Underwood and Inspector Kurd,
It is with great disappointment that I write to you all. Whilst you have each earnestly assured me that the current investigation into my allegations of an organised child pornography network and police corruption within Victoria would be both rigorous and genuine, my experiences of this investigation to date serve only to confirm my concerns that this case is being mishandled, at best, and at worst, actively covered up.
I would like to cite a number of examples of recent events that have significantly undermined my faith in the current investigation.
1. DENIAL OF PREVIOUS COMPLAINTS TO VICTORIA POLICE OF THE ORGANISED PEDOPHILE / CHILD PORNOGRAPHY NETWORK.
Last year I drew your attention to the fact that there have been other reports of the organised child pornography network which were the subject of my own allegations. I highlighted this issue due to the fact that representatives of Victoria Police had reacted to my own allegations as if such reports had never been made before.
Inspector Kurd responded to my assertion that Victoria Police has received other reports of this criminal network with a denial that any reports have been made, or at least, in his thorough search of the data base he found no such reports.
My request that he ask Jim Neel (police officer) if he has ever received any information concerning this network resulted in Jim Neel's statement that he has never received any such information. A similar request to ask Noreen Maccabie (police officer) resulted in her response that she "can't recall". Finally, my request that Graham Hardy (police officer) also be asked resulted in his admission that he had been involved in the investigation of a previous complaint concerning this criminal network.
All of these police officers have been identified by witnesses as having received information concerning this criminal network, and being involved in the subsequent investigation.
The fact that there are numerous witnesses to attest to the involvement of Jim Neel and Noreen Maccabie, in spite of their denial and "can't recall" responses, suggests that there is something seriously amiss in this case. Furthermore, the fact that Inspector Kurd is prepared to accept responses of "can't recall" (Noreen Maccabie) and "don't recall" (by Graham Hardy, when asked which other police officers were in receipt of the information and involved in the subsequent investigation) is, quite simply, unacceptable.
I simply cannot believe that Noreen Maccabie "can't recall" receiving allegations of child sex offences perpetrated by (arguably) Australia's most famous celebrity PLUS a former Minister of Police. I find it equally impossible to believe that Graham Hardy "does not recall" who assisted him in the investigation into these most extraordinary matters.
The issue of why this file could not (initially) be located within Victoria Police records is similarly disturbing. Inspector Kurd has reported that he could not find any reports of a criminal pedophile/child pornography network as described by me.
It must be highlighted here that Inspector Kurd was in possession of significant information pertaining to this criminal group, including the detailed dossier I presented to the Chief Commissioner in 2001.
The information provided by me and now in Inspector Kurd's possession highlighted the following components of the criminal network and its activities:
1. The criminal network involved high profile celebrities as offenders.
2. The criminal network involved politicians as offenders.
3. The offences included the production of child pornography.
4. The crimes committed included human sacrifice.
5. The criminal network engaged in activities that can be described as satanic-ritual-abuse.
Inspector Kurd previously stated that he was unable to locate one record of a complaint that matched my own allegations. (He later referred to an anonymous telephone call that had been made to Crimestoppers by me).
However, he has now conceded that a complaint was made to Victoria Police. He has stated that he did not believe the cases were the same, despite the fact that this complaint, made independently of my own, also includes the following components:
1. The criminal network involved high profile celebrities as offenders.
2. The criminal network involved politicians as offenders.
3. The offences included the production of child pornography.
4. The crimes committed included human sacrifice.
5. The criminal network engaged in activities that can be described as satanic-ritual-abuse.
It is impossible to accept that Inspector Kurd could not recognise the overwhelming similarities between these two independently-made complaints to Victoria Police.
The situation is made worse when Inspector Kurd conceded that Ernie Old and Rick Marks were identified as offenders by both myself as well as the original complainant, and yet, in his recent email, he stated
"To be quite honest Reina I am not even certain that the matter that Graham has told me about is the same matter as you have alleged." (2 March 2004)
It is outrageous that despite all of the overlaps described above (1 - 5), and in addition to these, the naming of two very prominent offenders (Ernie Old and Rick Marks) Inspector Kurd is suggesting that the reports may not be referring to the same criminal network!
I am sure that every member of our community would be as dumbfounded by these events as I am.
2. INTERVIEW CONDUCTED WITH DENISE ROBERTSON
I am concerned about the way in which the interview was conducted to obtain my (witness/complainant) statement concerning the threat to kill by Bob Sisterly I informed Inspector Kurd of my (witness/complainant) ill-health and specifically asked that he conduct his interview with appropriate sensitivity.
At the beginning of the interview Inspector Kurd explained to my (witness/complainant) the potential processes involved once a statement is made. I understand that this is necessary. However, Inspector Kurd spent a great deal of time emphasizing the fact that my (witness/complainant) may have to go to court and testify against Bob Sisterly. My (witness/complainant) became visibly distressed by this topic, but Inspector Kurd continued to emphasize this issue, despite my (witness/complainant) clear distress. I asked him to desist from going on about this issue as it was clearly distressing my (witness/complainant). In fact, my (witness/complainant) and I had to leave the room and go for a walk because she was so distressed. When we returned my (witness/complainant) stated that she wanted to proceed with the statement. Soon after this Inspector Kurd again repeated that she might have to face Bob Sisterly at court. At this point I expressed my dissatisfaction at Inspector Kurd's repeated emphasis of this issue despite my (witness/complainant) obvious distress.
Inspector Kurd later apologised for this and stated that he would have been negligent if he did not explain the processes that occur after a statement is made. However, there is a difference between outlining possible processes in the future (which I accept) and continuing to refer to possible events that clearly result in the distress of the complainant.
My (witness/complainant), (witness) and I all perceived Inspector's Kurd's repeated references to court and my (witness/complainant) having to face Bob Sisterly to be a discouragement from making her statement. Thankfully, my (witness/complainant) was not totally put off and did proceed with the statement.
I remain concerned that Bob Sisterly is yet to be charged, despite witnesses to the events leading up to the threat (whom Inspector Kurd said it was unnecessary to interview) as well as Bob Sisterly's letter of admission.
3. INVESTIGATION INTO ME AND INAPPROPRIATE INVOLVEMENT OF NICK FLANAGAN IN THE PRESENT INVESTIGATION.
At the meeting attended by Inspector Kurd, Assistant Commissioner Underwood, Jane McLaurel and myself (24 November 2003) Inspector Kurd promised that neither Nick Flanagan, Jim Neel nor any of the other officers under investigation would have any influence over this investigation. This promise has been breached. It has come to my attention that Nick Flanagan, who is one of the subjects of this investigation, is taking an active part in this investigation and that Inspector Kurd has been complicit in this.
Specifically, it has come to my attention that Nick Flanagan informed Ms. Bridgitte McCarthy (a close colleague of Nick Flanagan) that I have made particular allegations. Nick Flanagan then informed Ms. McCarthy that Inspector Kurd is conducting an investigation and is seeking to obtain information about me, the complainant. Nick Flanagan then asked Ms. McCarthy to contact Inspector Kurd and she agreed to do so. Ms. McCarthy subsequently telephoned Inspector Kurd and Inspector Kurd indicated that he did not want to discuss the matter over the telephone and an appointment was arranged.
I find it immensely disconcerting that Inspector Kurd is conducting an investigation into me, the complainant. Inspector Lawrence Smythington has indicated that Victoria Police has already conducted an assessment of my credibility, and that it is intact.
"It should be very re-assuring to you that your credibility has been questioned but has been found to be intact." (25 November 2003)
As such, there should be no need for an investigation into me. Why then is Inspector Kurd now conducting an investigation into me? If all is transparent and open, why have I not been informed of this "new" aspect to the investigation and why have I not been asked to provide my referees, while Inspector Kurd has allowed Nick Flanagan to play an active role in this "new" component of the investigation by informing him of what he is doing and then accepting his 'referrals'?
I find it THOROUGHLY and COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE that Nick Flanagan, who is one of the subjects of the investigation, is directing his close colleagues to contact Inspector Kurd to provide information about me. And I find it intolerable that Inspector Kurd has been complicit in these unethical activities.
I have repeatedly asked that any meetings I have with Victoria Police investigators on this case (including Darren Underwood and Tony Kurd) be taped. However, I have repeatedly been met with the response such as
"In relation to your request to tape record the meeting, Darren has indicated reservations in relation to this course of action as it may suppress open dialogue and not be conducive to developing a trusting work relationship." (20 November 2003).
I have been encouraged not to tape such meetings, which has been to the detriment of my cause on a number of occasions, and yet the rationale for not taping such meetings has been centered on the issue of "trust". The fact is, representatives of Victoria Police have repeatedly breached my trust and faith throughout this entire case, including this most recent investigation.
As I have stated so often in the past, I have always had great faith in Chief Commissioner Nixon. I have proceeded with the investigation by the Crime Department to demonstrate my goodwill and hope that Victoria Police will at last conduct an honest, competent and genuine investigation into the issues I have raised. However, the events that have occurred throughout this most recent investigation, from the denial of past complaints, to the handling of the case against Bob Sisterly, to the active involvement of Nick Flanagan in this investigation, have steadfastly eroded my faith and goodwill.
The victims of organised child pornography and organised pedophilia deserve so much better than the appalling situation that exists in Victoria. I am sickened and saddened by Victoria Police's obvious decision not to conduct an honest, competent and ethical investigation, and I am deeply disappointed in the Chief Commissioner's decision to allow such a deplorable situation to continue.
I repeat my call for a Parliamentary Inquiry into this whole case.
(Dr) Reina Michaelson Executive Director CSAPP Inc. Victoria
Letter of complaint to Victorian Ombudsman, 21 September 2003
September 21, 2003: The following letter by Dr Reina Michaelson is a formal complaint to the Victorian Ombudsman about the organised child pornography/pedophile and ritual abuse network, and police corruption within Victoria.
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT ON THE THE CONTINUED PROTECTION OF A HIGH LEVEL CHILD PORNOGRAPHY AND PEDOPHILE NETWORK OPERATING WITHIN AUSTRALIA!
PLEASE NOTE: FOR LEGAL REASONS SOME NAMES IN THE FOLLOWING HAVE BEEN CHANGED.
21 September 2003
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT: By Dr. Michaelson
As the complainant, I hold grave concerns regarding the integrity of the investigation that is currently being conducted by your office into the serious misconduct of Victoria police and Department of Education officials in relation to pedophilia and child pornography. These concerns are based on the demonstrated misconduct on of Senior Detective Jock Westland and the failure of Ian Softman to respond appropriately to Westland's criminal actions; the serious misconduct on behalf of Ian Softman himself, including the insertion of false material into information provided by me for further investigation (and the serious negative repercussions this would have had for my case, had it remained undetected); the demonstrated indifference to interviewing those key witnesses who can verify important aspects of my complaint; and the unjustifiable delays of the investigation, which have resulted in ample time for the offenders to dispose of and/or cover up any incriminating evidence of misconduct, and which have left many children at risk of ongoing sexual abuse and harm.
FORMAL COMPLAINT CONCERNING IAN SOFTMAN DURING THE INVESTIGATION INTO THE SERIOUS MISCONDUCT OF VICTORIA POLICE AND DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OFFICIALS IN RELATION TO PEDOPHILIA AND CHILD PORNOGRAPHY IN VICTORIA.
The following complaint document provides a detailed overview of the most serious complaints I have regarding the misconduct of Ian Softman (Ombudsman's Office) throughout the investigation into serious misconduct of Victoria police and Department of Education officials in relation to organised pedophilia and child pornography in Victoria. Further concerns regarding the integrity of this investigation are presented in throughout the complaint document.
1. IAN SOFTMAN'S REFUSAL TO ALLOW MY LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE TO MAKE AN INDEPENDENT (AUDIO) TAPE OF THE INITIAL MEETING REGARDING MY COMPLAINT.
In a phone call preceding our first meeting to discuss my complaints regarding Victoria Police/Department of Education (DOE) misconduct, Ian Softman requested my permission for him to record the initial interview (using an audiotape). After discussing this request with my legal representative, Mr. Brendan Pitt, QC, I agreed. At the meeting (attended by myself, my legal representative Mr. Brendan Pitt, QC, Mr. Ian Softman and Ms. Judith Shinner ) Mr. Pitt agreed to the (audio) taping of the interview on the grounds that we would be provided a copy of the tape at the conclusion of the interview (in order to ensure the integrity of the recording). Ms. Shinner then stated that she would not be able to provide us with a copy of the tape immediately at the end of the meeting but that a copy would be provided to me as soon as possible thereafter. This was agreed upon. However, my legal representative then brought out his own tape-recorder and requested that we also be able to record our own independent copy of the interview. Mr. Pitt stated (words to the effect) "I assume you have no objections if we also make our own copy of the interview". However, Ian Softman refused this request and stated that neither he nor I (and my legal representative) would tape the meeting. He stated (words to the effect) "You will not tape the meeting and we will not tape the meeting. The meeting will not be taped!"
Thus, an audio recording of the meeting was not undertaken, either by myself (and my legal representative), or by Mr. Softman. Mr. Softman's refusal to allow an independent recording of the meeting is most concerning. Of additional concern is the expressed inability of Mr. Softman (and Ms. Shinner) to provide me (and my legal representative) with a copy of the tape being produced by them immediately after the meeting. Both of these actions leave open the vulnerability of the doctoring of the recording. This incident is particularly concerning when viewed in the context of Mr. Softman's subsequent insertion of false material into information given to him by me in relation to this case (see below).
2. THE INEXCUSABLE DELAY AND/OR FAILURE TO INTERVIEW KEY-WITNESSES WHOSE TESTIMONIES SUPPORT THE CLAIMS RAISED IN MY COMPLAINT.
The failure to interview a key witness in the Goldtown case, Ms. Marianne Worthington, after 15-months of investigation is inexcusable. While Ms. Shinner has said that your office has its own reasons for the order in which interviews are conducted, it is TOTALLY ILLOGICAL to have waited 15-months to have interviewed Ms. Worthington. Ms. Worthington is a key witness in this case, a fact which is most apparent to any reasonable, thinking person. She is in possession of a great deal of relevant information which is highly relevant to the case and which could reasonably be expected guide further investigative efforts by your officers. It is illogical that Ms. Worthington would be one of the LAST people to be interviewed as part of your office's investigation.
Ms. Worthington was the xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx at Goldtown P - 12 during the Sexual Crimes Squad's investigation into the sexual abuse of multiple child-victims. Ms. Worthington was present during much of the investigation, including the police "interview" conducted with 12-year-old child-victim Lucy. During this "interview" Detective Jim Neel effectively intimidated this child-victim into silence. (For example, as Lucy left the room at the conclusion of the interview, Detective Neel said to me in a loud voice "We have serious concerns regarding the truth of what this girl is saying". Immediately after this, Lucy began to cry and said to me "The police don't believe me - I don't want to keep going anymore!"). At the conclusion of the "interview", Ms. Worthington exclaimed to me "That was not an interview. That was designed to stop a child from talking!" [This is supported by documentation provided to your office].
Ms. Worthington was also responsible for a great deal of the follow-up that followed the Sexual Crimes Squad's investigation at Goldtown. For example, Ms. Worthington was given the reasons why no further action would be taken in relation to the case, including the statement by a police officer that no further action would be undertaken into the sexual abuse of a young boy as "Men try to touch other men's penises after football matches all the time". [This is supported by documentation provided to your office].
Furthermore, Ms. Worthington is the witness who was told by the police to make a notification to the Department of Human Services [DHS] (Child Protection unit), as the police were powerless to take further action. Specifically, according to the police, the case was a "protective" one and not a "criminal" one (which is clearly FALSE). Upon making such notifications, Ms. Worthington was then informed that the cases would not be investigated by DHS, ON THE ADVICE OF THE POLICE. Thus, the police effectively STONEWALLED the case. [This is supported by documentation provided to your office].
Thus, it is very clear that Ms. Worthington is an extremely important witness in this case. Furthermore, Ms. Worthington's testimony supports my claim that the police misconduct during the Goldtown investigation was most serious and far surpassed "incompetence" (Mr. Softman's "preliminary conclusion" as stated by him to me during a phone call on 18 November 2002).
Similarly, there has been little effort to contact my former Assistant, Ms. Cathy McDonald. Ms. McDonald was also present during much of the Sexual Crimes Squad's investigation at Goldtown P-12. She was present during the "interview" (intimidation) of Lucy, by Detective Jim Neel. She was also present during the initial disclosures of the children, including those made about teacher, Dick Newman.
Ms. McDonald's contemporous notes verify my assertion that the misconduct of the police during the Goldtown investigation was extremely serious and far surpassed "incompetence" [This is supported by documentation provided to your office].
It is of immense concern that, upon my enquiry as to whether Ms. McDonald had been interviewed by your office, Ms. Shinner indicated that Cathy had not been interviewed and further, that "If Cathy does not want to talk to us there is nothing we can do". Considering the importance of Cathy's testimony and the significance of her notes in verifying my assertion that the misconduct of the police far surpassed "incompetence", the apparent indifference to obtaining this information was astounding.
Both of the above examples demonstrate a striking lack of commitment to obtaining information that supports my claims of serious misconduct on behalf of the police and DOE officials. Similarly, the above examples demonstrate an appalling indifference to obtaining information that directly contradicts Ian Softman's preliminary conclusion of police "incompetence", as stated by him to me on 18 November 2002. During that conversation Mr. Softman told me that preliminary conclusions were being made about the events at Goldtown and that I would be quite happy with these. When I asked him what these were Mr. Softman stated that the findings were of "incompetence and management problems" and that there was "nothing more than that".
3. THE UNJUSTIFIABLE DELAY IN OBTAINING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION'S FILE ON DICK NEWMAN, A TEACHER PROVEN TO HAVE COMMITTED REPEATED ACTS OF CHILD ABUSE AGAINST MULTIPLE STUDENTS AT NUMEROUS SCHOOLS. THE UNJUSTIFIABLE DELAY IN THIS INVESTIGATION HAS LEFT MANY STUDENTS AT ONGOING RISK OF HARM BY DICK NEWMAN.
The fact that it took Ian Softman's investigation 12-months to EVEN REQUEST the Department of Education file regarding repeated acts of child abuse by (teacher) Dick Newman, and the subsequent corruption of the case by DOE officials, is totally unjustifiable given the seriousness of the issues.
Complaints regarding the misconduct of Dick Newman date back as far as 1995. These complaints are extremely serious and refer to sexual misconduct against students, physical assault as well as other acts of misconduct. Many of these allegations have been PROVEN, with Dick Newman having ADMITTED to many of these offences. Thus, Dick Newman has been proven to be an unacceptable risk to the safety and welfare of students. The evidence presented to your office in relation to the Department of Education's corruption of the investigation into Dick Newman is compelling. (For example, David Hob's (DOE) exoneration of Dick Newman on the grounds that none of the witnesses could corroborate my concerns, when ONLY ONE of the eight witnesses was contacted, and she not only verified my concerns but also provided ADDITIONAL concerns).
Given the seriousness of the issues, namely, repeated acts of child abuse by teacher Dick Newman and his continued employment as a teacher at Essex Secondary College, the delay in requesting (let alone actually obtaining) the Department of Education file in relation to the case is UNJUSTIFIABLE. The massive delay in undertaking what is logically the first and most basic step in an investigation (a request for a copy of the original file), raises obvious concerns about how seriously this issue was being taken by the investigator/s of your office.
4. IAN SOFTMAN'S INSERTION OF FALSE MATERIAL INTO INFORMATION PROVIDED TO HIM BY ME FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION.
Ian Softman inserted false information into material that I gave him for further investigation. Specifically, in a telephone conversation with Mr. Softman (18 November 2002) I informed him that one of the victims at Goldtown is related to a Network X Board member. When asked by Mr. Softman for the name of the Board member, I declined to give the name over the telephone but said I would do so in person. I later discovered that Mr. Softman falsely inserted the name 'Bill Pokeen' into his notes to Ms. Shinner for further investigation. Bill Pokeen is not even a Network X Board member. Had this issue been investigated further, my credibility would have been seriously harmed by this false information. Furthermore, the Board member in question would have escaped attention. When I asked Ian Softman why he did this he initially denied having done so. Upon further correspondence, Mr. Softman stated that he is unsure as to why he may have done this. [Documentation available upon request].
It is a FACT that I did not give Mr. Softman the name of the Network X Board member in question, and I certainly did not give him the name ‘Bill Pokeen'. Mr. Softman's insertion of this false information is an appalling act of misconduct and, if undetected, could have had very serious negative repercussions for my complaint, particularly in the damage done to my credibility and the failure to investigate the real person in question (Network X Board member). This is not to mention the potential harm done to the reputation of ‘Bill Pokeen'. Mr. Softman's misconduct can be seen as a clear example of active sabotage of the investigation.
5. THE FAILURE TO FURTHER INVESTIGATE SENIOR SERGEANT JOCK WESTLAND'S PROVEN SERIOUS MISCONDUCT AND PERVERSION OF THE COURSE OF JUSTICE IN THIS INVESTIGATION, AND THE DISMISSAL OF HIS CRIMINAL ACTIONS AS MERE "INCOMPETENCE".
Senior Detective Jock Westland (Ethical Standards Department, Victoria Police) was seconded to the investigation by Ian Softman. Senior Detective Westland was given information about the existence of videotape depicting police members actively participating in the ritual abuse of children. He was also given information about the child-victims' independent identification of a house where they were taken to, sexually abused, and filmed. This house was later revealed to be a police officer's home. Senior Detective Westland failed to pass these most serious pieces of information on for further investigation, and when confronted with this, he denied ever having received the information. His denials continued until analysis of phone records, amongst other things, proved that he was lying.
While Senior Detective Westland was subsequently removed from the investigation, Ian Softman refused to investigate the issue further and dismissed the officer's actions as mere "incompetence". However, it is blatantly obvious that Jock Westland's actions far surpassed mere "incompetence" as his actions were repeated, followed by deliberate attempts to deceive, and related specifically to the involvement of police members in organised pedophilia and child pornography. Indeed, Jock Westland committed the most serious acts of perverting the course of justice in this investigation.
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that Ms. Shinner was made aware of the serious issue concerning Senior Detective Westland's failure to pass on this crucial information for two weeks and no action was taken by either her or Ian Softman. Specifically, it was only after my letter to Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon (APM) requesting her assistance that anything at all was done to follow up this most serious issue. The failure of Ian Softman to take immediate action is extremely serious, and combined with the issues already outlined, raises serious concerns regarding the integrity of the overall investigation.
Furthermore, Ian Softman's decision not to investigate the (criminal) actions of Senior Detective Westland further is nothing short of outrageous. The fact that no disciplinary action has been taken against Senior Detective Westland (aside from removing him from the case) is a very poor indictment on the present investigation. Once again, when viewed in the context of all of the issues outlined above, this situation raises most serious concerns regarding Ian Softman's role in this investigation, and the integrity of the investigation as a whole.
6. THE FAILURE TO TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION REGARDING THE CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR OF SENIOR DETECTIVE JOCK WESTLAND DURING THE COURSE OF THIS INVESTIGATION.
The lack of further action on behalf of Ian Softman in relation Senior Detective Westland's criminal behaviour (perverting the course of justice) while serving as an investigating officer in your office's investigation is an act of gross negligence. Under such serious circumstances, it is reasonable to expect that Senior Detective Westland would be charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice. It would certainly be expected that such criminal conduct would result in his removal from the Victoria Police, and most certainly, from the Ethical Standards Department. And yet Senior Detective Westland has not even been stood aside from duties pending investigation.
Children deserve to be protected from pedophiles and from child pornographers. They also deserve to have faith in the police officers whose job it is to enforce the laws designed to protect them. Furthermore, the community rightly expects that when the Ombudsman's office is made aware of such serious acts of corruption WITHIN THEIR OWN OFFICE, that swift and appropriate action will be taken. In this case, there has been a glaring failure to take appropriate action against Senior Detective Jock Westland.
7. THE UNREASONABLE DELAYS OF THIS INVESTIGATION AND THE IMPLICATIONS OF SUCH UNJUSTIFIABLE DELAYS FOR THE INTEGRITY OF THE OVERALL INVESTIGATION.
The investigation by your office has been ongoing for nearly two years, and has been repeatedly hampered by acts of sabotage, perversions of the course of justice and incompetence by the investigating officers, as described throughout this complaint document. I am also extremely concerned about unjustifiable delays of this investigation. I can see no reasonable explanation for such lengthy delays, especially considering the subject matter at hand: the sexual and physical abuse of children, and their ONGOING RISK OF BEING SUBJECTED TO FURTHER ABUSE AS A RESULT OF THESE DELAYS. Furthermore, as a result of these delays, the offenders have been given and are continuing to be given, ample time to dispose of any incriminating evidence. The longer the case is delayed, the more opportunity they have to completely discard and cover-up any remaining evidence. Indeed, the investigation being conducted by your office centres on the massive cover-up of organised pedophilia and child pornography in Victoria. It is well documented that lengthy delays are often used as a means to corrupt investigations and/or to perform a "cover-up". Given the events that have occurred throughout the present investigation, as well as the issues specifically outlined in this complaint document, the lengthy delays only add to questions about the integrity of the overall investigation.
I am happy to add to any of the above issues if required. However, it must be noted that I am currently overseas and do not have access to the supporting documentation. I am more than prepared to transfer this document onto a Statutory Declaration form upon my return to Australia.
Dr. Reina Michaelson
Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program (CSAPP)
(21 September 2003)
Letter of complaint to Victorian Premier Steve Bracks
September 16 2003: The following letter by Dr Reina Michaelson is a formal complaint to the Victorian Premiere Steven Bracks about the organised child pornography/pedophile and ritual abuse network, and police corruption within Victoria.
PLEASE NOTE: FOR LEGAL REASONS SOME NAMES IN THE FOLLOWING HAVE BEEN CHANGED.
From: Reina Michaelson Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 21:39:08 +1000 Subject: The protection of pedophiles by members of Victoria Police and the Dep't of Education
16 September 2003
Dear Premier Bracks,
I am writing to draw your attention to the active participation of members of the Victoria Police and employees of the Department of Education in pedophilia and other related criminal activities, as well as the deliberate protection of these offenders by those responsible for investigating and exposing such offences. My colleague, Ms. Vivienne Legg, has previously written to you to address the same issues but is yet to receive a reply from you or your office. I am sure she will receive a reply from your office shortly.
Given the gravity and heinous nature of the crimes involved, I hope you will be inspired to take on this case personally in order to ensure that the protection of Victorian children from these terrible crimes may begin immediately. At present, many children under the care and responsibility of your government are continuing to be dreadfully abused or are at risk of serious and ongoing harm by these child-sex-offenders.
During the course of my work as the Executive Director of the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program (CSAPP) I became aware of the existence of a number of very serious problems in Victoria. These include the following:
The protection of a high level child pornography and pedophile network currently operating within Victoria. This criminal network includes members of the Victoria police, prominent businessmen, on and off-air staff and management from Network X, amongst others.
The demonstrated protection of this criminal network by members of the Victoria Police and other investigating bodies, including the Ombudsman's office.
The active participation of members of Victoria Police in the ritual and sexual abuse of young children from a child care centre in the Mornington Peninsula region.
The serious sexual abuse of young children from the Mornington Peninsula region (including the production of child pornography) by a network of powerful pedophiles, including members of the Victoria Police.
The protection of the offenders involved and the intentional cover-up of this case by investigating authorities.
The serious misconduct of members of Victoria police responsible for investigating related cases, such as the sexual abuse of multiple child-victims from the small town of Goldtown.
The continued protection of teacher Dick Newman, who has been proven to have committed repeated acts of serious misconduct (sexual and physical) against multiple students at multiple schools. Dick Newman is currently employed at Essex Secondary College and continues to pose an ongoing and serious risk to the safety of students.
The proven corruption on behalf of the Department of Education to continue the appointment of Dick Newman, including the existence of a leaked document demonstrating the Department's conclusion that Dick Newman's invitations for young students to stay back after school and "meet" his penis were not sexual, and thus to exonerate him. (Premier Bracks, it is clear that Victorian parents would not send their child to school if they knew s/he was going to be placed in the care of such a teacher. Would you feel confident leaving your child with such a person? Somehow, I think not).
The further corruption on behalf of the Department of Education in dismissing my complaint and exonerating Dick Newman on the stated grounds that "none of the witnesses can corroborate (my) concerns". After contacting the witnesses it was discovered that, of the pool of eight witness provided, only one witness was contacted by the Department. Furthermore, the one witness who was contacted not only confirmed my concerns regarding Dick Newman, but provided ADDITIONAL concerns.
The repeated acts of sabotage, perversion of the course of justice and misconduct that have occurred throughout both the Victoria Police's initial investigation into these issues, and the subsequent investigation by the Ombudsman's office.
The investigation by the Ombudsman's office has been ongoing for nearly two years, and has been repeatedly hampered by acts of sabotage, perversions of the course of justice and incompetence by the investigating officers. For example, Senior Detective Jock Westland (Ethical Standards Department,Victoria Police) was seconded to the investigation by Ian Softman (Ombudsman's office). Jock Westland was given information about the existence of a video tape depicting police members actively participating in the ritual abuse of children. He was also given information about the child-victims' independent identification of a house where they were taken to, sexually abused, and filmed. This house was later revealed to be a police officer's home. Jock Westland failed to pass these most serious pieces of information on for further investigation, and when confronted with this, he denied ever having received the information. His denials continued until analysis of phone records, amongst other things, proved that he was lying.
While Jock Westland was subsequently removed from the investigation, Ian Softman refused to investigate the issue further and dismissed the officer's actions as mere "incompetence". However, it is blatantly obvious that Jock Westland's actions far surpassed mere "incompetence". Indeed, Jock Westland committed the most serious acts of perverting the course of justice in this investigation. These perversions of the course of justice related to crimes of the most serious and heinous nature: the participation of police officers in the ritual and sexual abuse of very young children, as well as the victimisation of children in child pornography. I am sure that I do not need to highlight the gravity in which the community views such crimes.
Furthermore, Ian Softman himself has committed serious acts of misconduct throughout this investigation. He has been stood aside from the case pending investigation.
Given the seriousness of all of the issues I have raised, I implore you to familiarise yourself with this case and the ongoing travesty of justice. I am requesting that you personally take it upon yourself to ensure that investigation into these matters is no longer actively sabotaged, corrupted and covered up. I also request that you ensure that all of the offenders in this case, from the pedophiles themselves to those who have been shown to have protected them, are brought to justice and that they face the full force of the law. I would like to highlight that while the unacceptable delays continue, many children are continuing to be subjected to the most horrific sexual, physical and emotional abuse imaginable. These children are under the care and responsibility of your government. But most importantly, you are a decent human being, Premier Bracks, and you are in a unique position to DO SOMETHING!
I am very happy to elaborate on any of the above issues, either in writing or in person.
Here is the unsigned, undated response Dr Michaelson received from the Justice Department on behalf of the Police Minister, Andre Haermeyer.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dr Reina Michaelson (email@example.com)
Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program
Dear Dr Michaelson
Allegations of Paedophilia
I refer to your e-mails of 16 September 2003 to the Ombudsman and to the Premier, copies of which were forwarded to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services and others. The Minister has asked me to reply on his behalf.
The gravity of the subject matter to which you refer is disturbing in the extreme. Indeed, that community protection is a matter of the highest priority, is further brought into focus when dealing with allegations which directly affect its most vulnerable members.
Given, however, that these very serious claims are still the subject of an on-going Ombudsman's investigation, it would be highly inappropriate for the Minister to now seek to intervene or make any comment. In this context, as an independent statutory officer and accountable to Parliament, the Ombudsman has extensive powers akin to those of a standing Royal Commission. In the circumstances, I am confident that you will readily appreciate that the Ombudsman must be left to carry out his statutory duties and functions without fear or favour and free from any interference. That this requirement is absolute, serves to underscore the political neutrality which is the hallmark of his Office.
Accordingly, whilst I am cognisant of the investigative time taken to date, equally it must be recognised that, despite their considerable interest in the matter, both the Minister and the Premier must also await the outcome of the Ombudsman's current independent investigation.
In the meantime, I thank you for bringing this important matter to the attention of the Minister.
Marisa De Cicco
Letter of complaint to Victorian Ombudsman, 16 September 2003
September 16 2003: The following letter by Dr Reina Michaelson is a formal complaint to the Victorian Ombudsman about the organised child pornography/pedophile and ritual abuse network, and police corruption within Victoria.
PLEASE NOTE: FOR LEGAL REASONS SOME NAMES IN THE FOLLOWING HAVE BEEN CHANGED.
From: Reina Michaelson
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 21:44:58 +1000
Subject: Investigation into pedophilia, child pornography, police and the Dep't of Education
Dear Mr. Seamer,
I am writing to request a progress report concerning the investigation into serious police misconduct relating to pedophilia and child pornography in Victoria, as well as the protection of pedophiles within the Department of Education.
The investigation by your office has been ongoing for nearly two years, and has been repeatedly hampered by acts of sabotage, perversions of the course of justice and incompetence by the investigating officers. I therefore have grave concerns regarding the integrity of the overall investigation. All of these concerns have been outlined to both yourself and Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon in previous correspondence. Furthermore, I am becoming increasingly concerned by the unacceptable delays of the investigation. I can see no reasonable explanation for such lengthy delays, especially considering the subject matter at hand, the sexual and physical abuse of children, and their ONGOING RISK OF BEING SUBJECTED TO FURTHER ABUSE AS A RESULT OF THESE DELAYS.
I am therefore requesting a full status report regarding all aspects of this investigation. As you know, I intend to lodge a full complaint regarding the (mis)conduct of Ian Softman throughout this investigation. Many aspects of this complaint have been previously described to both yourself and Chief Commissioner Nixon in previous correspondence. I intend to lodge this complaint after I receive a copy of your office's final report into my allegations, unless you have a particular reason why I should lodge this complaint prior to the release of the report. I am most concerned at Ian Softman's failure to investigate Senior Detective Jock Westland's outrageous perversions of the course of justice, and his dismissal of Westland's criminal actions as mere "incompetence". Specifically, Jock Westland was given information about the existence of a video tape depicting police members actively participating in the ritual abuse of children. He was also given information about the child-victims' independent identification of a house where they were taken to and sexually abused and filmed. This house was later revealed to be a police officer's home. Jock Westland failed to pass these most serious pieces of information on for further investigation, and when confronted with this, he denied ever having received the information. His denials continued until analysis of phone records, amongst other things, proved that he was lying. Jock Westland committed the most serious acts of perverting the course of justice in this investigation. These perversions of the course of justice related to crimes of the most serious and heinous nature: the participation of police officers in the ritual and sexual abuse of very young children, as well as the victimisation of children in child pornography. I am sure that I do not need to highlight the gravity in which the community views such crimes.
Clearly, Jock Westland's actions cannot rationally be dismissed as mere "incompetence", especially as his actions were repeated and followed by deliberate attempts to deceive. Any reasonable member of society can clearly see that his actions greatly surpassed "incompetence" and that in reality, his actions amounted to active sabotage of the investigation. I would therefore like to know what action your office intends to take in relation to Jock Westland's most serious criminal behaviour while serving as an investigating officer in your office's investigation. Under such serious circumstances, I would expect Jock Westland to be charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice. I would expect his removal from the Victoria
Police, and most certainly, from the Ethical Standards Department. I feel confident that given the heinous nature of the crimes involved, the community would also expect nothing less than this. Children deserve to be protected from pedophiles and from child pornographers. They also deserve to have faith in the police officers whose job it is to enforce the laws designed to protect them.
I look forward to the requested status report from you.
(I have provided copies of this correspondence to relevant counterparts).
(Dr) Reina Michaelson
Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program (CSAPP)
Media coverage of CSAPP
"Child rights crusader faces lawsuit", Herald-Sun, 31 May 2005
Child rights crusader faces lawsuit by Kate Uebergang ("Herald Sun," May 31, 2005)
Melbourne, Australia - A SECRETIVE international society linked to the occult is using Victoria's religious tolerance laws to sue a Melbourne anti-child abuse activist.
Ordo Templi Orientis has started a suit against psychologist Reina Michaelson over internet claims it is a pedophile cult.
Documents submitted to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal claim Dr Michaelson wrote an internet article linking the society to pedophilia, satanic rituals, and animal and child sacrifices.
Ordo Templi Orientis national officer David Bottrill and member Brent Gray claim Dr Michaelson has vilified and misrepresented the society, which has a base in Gardenvale.
"What is contained on the website could incite hatred and lead to violence against members of the OTO," they said.
Dr Michaelson, who won a Young Australian of the Year award in 1997 for founding the Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program, said she was not the author but could attest to the article's truth.
"The document . . . that is the subject of the complaint describes the illegal ritual abuse of a young man," she said in a letter to the Equal Opportunity Commission, which referred the society's complaint to the tribunal.
Dr Michaelson, who also runs Bravehearts Victoria, said the society's text, The Book of the Law, advocated illegal activities.
"Verses talk of blood rituals using children, eating flesh, the sacrifice of a child, the killing and torture of others and uninhibited 'love' without restraint," she said.
"I contend that the beliefs of the OTO are not lawful religious beliefs."
Dr Michaelson, who is overseas, said she would contest the claim when she returned in July.
Ordo Templi Orientis, founded in Germany in 1902, does not actively recruit or advertise.
Members follow the religion of Thelema, as taught by occultist and mystic Aleister Crowley.
Their Australian website says it is dedicated to securing the liberty of the individual, taught through a series of initiation rites.
Mr Bottrill declined to comment on the case.
Ordo Templi Orientis has also filed a religious vilification claim against NSW man Dyson Devine, alleging the article was published on his website.
"Bracks leaps to defence of watchdog", The Age, 3 March 2005
The Premier says the under-fire Office of Police Integrity has been "an outstanding success". The Bracks Government was forced to defend Victoria's new police corruption watchdog yesterday, amid renewed calls for a royal commission... (Article mentions calls by Dr Reina Michaelson, Queensland child sex abuse campaigner Hetty Johnston and the head of Parents Victoria, Gail McHardy for a royal commission into allegations of a paedophone and child pornography ring in Victoria, and Victoria Police's failure to investigate them.)
"New doubts on police corruption watchdog", The Age, 2 March 2005
A senior investigator with Victoria's new police corruption watchdog has expressed doubts about the office's ability to carry out its role. The investigator, in taped conversations heard by The Age, said the decision by the Bracks Government to set up the Office of Police Integrity was an attempt to "have something that looks more like a Crime Commission". When asked whether the new body could investigate organised crime and police protection of organised crime, the investigator replied: "No, it can't."... ...Copies of the tape containing the senior investigator's comments were provided to The Age by the complainant, Dr Reina Michaelson, who has lodged 10 specific complaints about alleged police mishandling of investigations into child sexual abuse, including claims police had helped cover up an organised pedophile ring.
Police bungled woman's sex assault claim, The Age, 11 February 2005
By Selma Milovanovic
Two police could face disciplinary action after an Ombudsman's report damned a bungled investigation into a woman's claims that former Carlton footballer Heath Culpitt sexually assaulted her more than five years ago.
Assistant Commissioner Simon Overland yesterday offered his personal apology to the former stripper over the "almost total systems failure", but assured other women pursuing similar claims against footballers that the mistakes in this case were isolated.
The Ombudsman found last month that police failed to conduct their investigation in an adequate and timely manner.
A spokeswoman for the Ombudsman confirmed that the report found "serious deficiencies" in the police investigation. But she would not confirm that the suspect's DNA was not taken; that a tape of his police interview was lost; and that the woman's calls to police were ignored for years.
The woman's allegations last year sparked an internal police review of up to 17 other complaints against professional footballers. While its final report is due in the coming weeks, Mr Overland said preliminary advice indicated police had dealt with the matters adequately.
Mr Overland admitted that while most police were not reluctant to investigate famous people, he could not discount the possibility that some officers "wouldn't be intimidated or wouldn't have other reasons for perhaps not pursuing allegations against high-profile people as vigorously as they might".
The spokeswoman for the Ombudsman said the Ombudsman recommended disciplinary action be taken against three police officers. One has since left the force. Mr Overland confirmed the two remaining officers could face internal disciplinary measures after an Ethical Standards Department investigation.
"I think it's really a failure of our system, almost a total failure," Mr Overland said.
"The matter just simply didn't progress for a number of years."
The woman, "Kate", said in the media last year that she considered contacting the Ombudsman after Victoria Police almost ignored her allegations that Culpitt sexually assaulted her in late September 1999 - three days after the Kangaroos beat the Blues in the AFL grand final.
The Ombudsman's office contacted her first, while the sexual crimes squad picked up the original investigation, which is now close to being completed.
Kate, who was a stripper at the time, claims she was sexually assaulted at a house party to which she went with some Carlton footballers she had met at the Crown Casino complex.
She claims she first had consensual sex with former Carlton footballer Brad Pearce, now 33, and went to sleep. She awoke while Culpitt, now 26, was sexually assaulting her.
While the Ombudsman's report has not been publicly released, a leaked copy found that police failed to get statements from witnesses immediately after the alleged event. The crime scene was not properly examined and some players present were not interviewed until 2004.
The Ombudsman also criticised the force for ignoring the woman's repeated phone calls for an update on her case.
Mr Overland said that while he could not apologise on behalf of Victoria Police, "I don't think we did a good enough job and for that, personally, I'm sorry."
"Kate" yesterday told Radio 3AW she was angry when the police continued to ignore her calls after she had reported the matter.
"At the start I didn't say too much because I wasn't sure how it all worked... But then when it got to the point of years down the track, I was getting very frustrated," she said.
She said she believed police did not take her seriously because she was a stripper and the accused was a footballer.
Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon and the Office of Women's Policy have established the Statewide Steering Committee to Reduce Sexual Assault.
Last year, a Victorian Law Reform Commission recommended major changes to how courts treat rape and sexual assault victims.
Opposition police spokesman Kim Wells urged the Government to review procedures.
Police Minister Tim Holding would not comment.
"Cops call for charges... but online publishers defend their website", Mornington Peninsula Leader, 24 January 2005
By Matt Doran POLICE will apply to the Office of Public Prosecutions to charge a former Mornington childcare centre operator over the naming of alleged sex abuse victims on a website. Norman Shulver, 58, could face fines of up to $30,000 and four months in prison if found guilty of publishing the names, addresses and phone numbers of children allegedly abused at his Mornington Child Care Centre and Nursery School in the early 1990s. But Mr Shulver’s wife, Alison, defended the website, saying the people making allegations should be held accountable. ‘‘We put that information online because no one was willing to give us a hearing . . . what’s the point of not naming names if it hides the truth?’’ Mrs Shulver said from Queensland. ‘It’s been more than 10 years and we’re still being hounded over these allegations. There’s no evidence against us; we can’t get on with our lives.’’ Sen-Det Carl Stella, a member of the taskforce set up to investigate Mr Shulver’s website, said publishing such information was an offence under the Judicial Proceedings Reports Act (1958). ‘‘It is an offence to publish any matter likely to identify a victim or alleged victim of sexual abuse,’’ Sen-Det Stella said. ‘‘The offence carries a maximum penalty of $2000, but it is possible for an offender to be given one charge for every time a child has been identified.’’ Sen-Det Stella said the six-member Taskforce Equid spent three months investigating the matter. Mr Shulver does not deny placing the material on the internet in 2000 as part of an online manuscript, titled Presumed Guilty. The website was uncovered in May last year after a Leader investigation.
Victorian Privacy Commissioner Paul Chadwick then told the Leader: ‘‘It is difficult to imagine a more serious privacy breach than to publish on the internet identifiable details of child sexual abuse allegations.’’
Mr Shulver’s online manuscript contained statements made to police in the early 1990s by 12 parents of toddlers who attended the Shulvers’ childcare centre. Sixteen children told police at the time they were sexually abused while attending the centre.
A Department of Human Services inquiry later found that Mr and Mrs Shulver had ‘‘permitted the abuse to occur or were involved in that abuse’’. (Our emphasis)
No charges were laid and the Shulvers have always vehemently protested their innocence. Taskforce Equid held a separate inquiry into the police handling of the original abuse allegations.
Inspector Lisa McMeeken last week said a report had been submitted to the Ombudsman and findings were expected to be released in March.
If the OPP proceeds with charges against Mr Shulver, it would be only the second time in Victoria charges have been laid over this offence. Media personality Derryn Hinch was charged, but not convicted, in 1994 for airing an interview that identified a boy who had been sexually assaulted by two men.
"TV man linked to sex case inquiry", The Age, 16 November 2004
A sudden decision by Victoria Police to drop a rape investigation involving a prominent television industry figure is likely to be examined as part of a special inquiry by the state Ombudsman into how authorities handle sexual assault cases...