Nov 11 2012

So much power and organisation behind the scenes

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox explains what the abuse was really like.

A sample from the transcript:

TONY JONES: As we’ve heard, the scale of this abuse in Newcastle-Maitland Diocese over many years is truly shocking. It’s astonishing in fact. 400 victims, 14 clergy charged (inaudible), six Catholic teachers convicted, three priests currently on trial. How does this much evil get concentrated in one small area?

PETER FOX: I don’t think it takes a detective chief inspector to work that out, Tony. Alarm bells were ringing there for me many, many years ago, so much so that I actually detailed a number of reports to hierarchy within the Police Department to launch fuller investigations.

It was quite evident that something was going on. These priests were operating in adjoining parishes abusing children, they were meeting at meetings together. In many cases that I came across, one priest who had previously faced paedophile charges was donating parish money to the legal support of another priest to defend him against those charges.

I had other priests that hadn’t been charged with anything removing evidence and destroying it before we were able to secure it. And we just went around in circles.

TONY JONES: This is actually – this is – as horrific as the litany of sexual crimes against children are, to me one of the most disturbing lines in your letter was along these lines: “I can testify from my own experience the Church covers up, silences victims, hinders police investigations, alerts offenders, destroys evidence and moves priests to protect the good name of the Church.” You’re saying you have evidence of all of this?

PETER FOX: Oh, not only do I have evidence, it’s irrefutable. Most of that is fact that’s been admitted by many of them. We encounter it all the time. For people to sit back and say it’s not going on, they’ve got their head in the sand. The greatest frustration is that there is so much power and organisation behind the scenes that police don’t have the powers to be able to go in and seize documents and have them disclose things to us.

The Mafia, dressed up as something else.


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  1. 1

    that is completely unfair. first off i cant think of a for-profit criminal organization thats half as creepy as the catholic church. i like to think explicitly for-profit criminal organizations hurt people to acquire money/keep themselves safe. the catholic church makes money so they can use it to hurt people.

  2. 2

    There’s a chance that PM Gillard will have a Royal Commission into this. I hope so.

  3. 3

    Please help convince PM Gillard to set up a Royal Commission by signing this petition. Thank you.


  4. 4


  5. 5
    Wild old caveman, now less rancid


  6. 6
  7. 7
    Tommy B

    Well, that was a quick response:

    “Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced a Royal Commission to investigate decades of child abuse in churches, schools and foster homes.”

    (A quick response to the petition, at least. Probably about 30 years later than the Commission should have been called, though.)

  8. 8

    I doubt it was a response to the petition at all. They’ve simply decided that state by state, institution by institution has been an abject failure so far.

    Get the lot in one hit. Anybody else been talking in their household about who’d be on (or off) your shortlist for the job? Must admit we were thinking along the lines of candidates for NSW/ Catholic only. When you start looking wider, it just looks harder and harder.

    What a job! Who’d put their hand up for senior counsel advising the commission? Not one to envy.

  9. 9

    I doubt also that it was the petition, because when I signed it, it had about 2,000 votes and needed about 36,0000 before submission, so it probably wasn’t full yet. I don’t care. I’m just glad it’s happening. The commission is late, but better late than….
    I hope it isn’t circumscribed. But it looks like there’s just to much in the public eye now to try and cover it up. Cardinal Fang and Catholic politicians have been running the same lines my mum told me when I was a teenager: it’s just anti-Catholic bigotry and there’s no problem, other institutions have problems, it’s not the churches fault if there’s a few rogue priests

    It’s funny (well, ironic) that the church and its defenders run the line that they’re no worse than other institutions or organizations. I thought the church claimed to be singular and above all other institutions and had a direct line to the goodiest good thing there was. Yet, when shown to be at least as bad as mundane organizations, the church drops pretense of being good and says that we shouldn’t pick on them, others are just as bad. So much for the churches claim that its adherents are made better for being adherents. So much for its claim of being better.

  10. 10

    by the way, Peter Fox mentions the importance of supportive relationships with victims who come forward, while discussing his removal from the investigation:

    PETER FOX: You can say that, but it’s something that I think most police are trained. We’re instructed when you go to detectives courses is that you don’t hand victims around like numbers. When they sit down and a victim talks to you, they open up to you, they pour their heart and soul out and they tell you things that they’ve never told another living soul. And then you’ve got to turn around say, “Well, I’m not going to talk to you anymore. You have got to go down and see these people.” I know from my training that is something that I’d never encountered before.

    TONY JONES: It’s going to seem passing strange to most observers, as it does to me, I must say.

    But let me just move on because you’ve actually called for a Royal Commission. If there were a Royal Commission, would this whistleblower, the insider who seems to know so much be prepared to talk at the Royal Commission, to give evidence and to lay out all of this in front of the public?

    PETER FOX: Tony, I don’t know. I was directed not to contact them again. My last contact with her was – she was virtually in tears when I handed her a copy of a statement and told her to hang on to it and that was my last contact with her. I don’t mind saying that there was a lot more that was said at that meeting that I won’t say here. I think that it is best left for another forum.

    But to say that that was a very difficult moment and something that quite saddened me as an investigator of well over 30 years in this job.

  11. 11

    So the condition of bipartisan support for the Royal Commission was broadening it to look at all child sexual abuse by all organisations. Here’s hoping they don’t plant a catholic in to divert attention to everyone else and let the church slide away into the dark corners … again.

  12. 12

    At last! We’ve been making half-arsed attempts, like the Victorian Parliamentary enquiry, for too long. These seem to have been designed to get the public off the politicians backs without actually digging too deeply. Hopefully the terms of reference for this Royal Commission will allow the full story to come out.

  13. 13
    Argle Bargle

    briane #9

    it’s just anti-Catholic bigotry and there’s no problem, other institutions have problems, it’s not the churches fault if there’s a few rogue priests

    If it were just a few rogue priests who were turned over to the authorities when discovered, Cardinal Fang and the politicians would have a point. This argument fails because it’s the Church’s official policy to protect “rogue priests.” It’s the on-going support of child-raping clergy that have people angry at the Church.

  14. 14

    Gillard is going to tackle these misogynists in cassocks. The criminal conspiracy that facilitates abusers and covers up the abuse is on a worldwide scale and it has been ongoing for decades.

  15. 15

    Reminds me of the Watergate scandal. Richard Nixon’s attempts to cover up the misdeeds of his underlings only made it worse.

  16. 16
    Marie-Thérèse O'Loughlin

    I was busy retweeting this excellent post to followers only to discover soon after the following tweet – by https://twitter.com/lacanlune

    “Result!: #Australian PM Julia Gillard announces royal commission into child sex abuse:


    It’s great news. I wish all those to the forefront all the best”

    Petition: Fr. Bob McGuire, Pete Dillon, Josh Bornstein, Catherine Deveny, Jane Caro, Michael Short, Sue Cato, Chrys Stevenson, Andrew Knight.

    I was bowled over listening to Inspector Peter Cox in the video, first thing this morning. He was sweet music to the ears. There is nothing so more rewarding than seeing adults of the calibre of this man bravely stand up for the rights of allegedly sexually abused children. He is the Irish equivalent of Ireland’s Mary Raftery. R.I.P.. Thank you.

  17. 17

    Rodney @13, so true. It’s a pathetic self-serving excuse. But the excuse shows that the emperor has no clothes.

  18. 18

    I think that investigating every organization is good, provided they do a thorough job. Because there is so much abuse and cover up by the church that they won’t escape and because I don’t care if it was a catholic, Jewish or scout member who raped and abused kids. Fuck anyone who abuses kids. They destroy lives and should pay for that.

  19. 19

    Cardinal Fang welcomed the commission because of the one-sided nature of media reports was damaging the catholic brand and this would clear the air. Not a word about the victims from his eminence. I just read about a poor boy (man now if he’s still with us) who was taken to a park and raped by a priest at 12 and was screaming in pain and focused on a st. Christopher’s medallion swaying in the car as the priest had his fun. Poor kid’s anus was ruptured and up until now he’s had no justice. Yet Pell thinks the important thing is one sided reporting biased against the church. Evil man.

    ”I believe the air should be cleared and the truth uncovered. We shall co-operate fully with the royal commission,” he said.
    However, he complained about media coverage of the church, saying ”public opinion remains unconvinced that the Catholic Church has dealt adequately with sexual abuse”.
    ”Ongoing and at times one-sided media coverage has deepened this uncertainty. This is one of the reasons for my support of the royal commission.”

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/child-abuse-inquiry-reaches-wide-20121112-298kg.html#ixzz2C257Ttjf

  20. 20
    Marie-Thérèse O'Loughlin


    “Gillard is going to tackle these misogynists in cassocks.”

    They’ll have their work truly cut out, if one is to judge from the wild shenanigans the clergy and religious got up to at the Irish commission to inquire into institutional child abuse, along with all the other reports. I hope the Australians will be wise to the pussyfooting, expert stalling games they have the propensity to play, and be as sharp and as focussed at seeing through them, as was/is Inspector Peter Fox. He’s an incredible man. Men like him are a rarity. Doubtless the Australians will stand by him for what he had to endure in his professional life.

  21. 21
    No Light

    “Gillard is going to tackle these misogynists in cassocks.”£/blockquote>

    Hopefully it will be ‘Game Over’ for the evil, justice-evading, child-raping, Hassidim and Haredim too.

    Chabad Lubavitch in particular have a lot of explaining to do about decades-long cover-ups.

    Yeshivah College has been destroying children from the inside out, through the dual torments of rape and indoctrination, specifically WRT what’s likely to happen to someone who informs the secular authorities of what’s going on.

  22. 22
    No Light

    Ugh, that’s what I get for posting after two hours of sleep.

    I’ll try again:

    “Gillard is going to tackle these misogynists in cassocks.”

    Hopefully it will be ‘Game Over’ for the evil, justice-evading, child-raping, Hassidim and Haredim too.

    Chabad Lubavitch in particular have a lot of explaining to do about decades-long cover-ups.

    Yeshivah College has been destroying children from the inside out, through the dual torments of rape and indoctrination, specifically WRT what’s likely to happen to someone who informs the secular authorities of what’s going on.

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