Acknowledging past wrongs

Out of Victoria, Australia comes the story about a moral policeman, Denis Ryan, who did was what was right, even when it destroyed his career.

They destroyed Denis Ryan’s police career. Now they admit he was right all along

He [Denis Ryan] refused to buckle when his bosses wanted him to ignore a paedophile priest and then was hounded from the job in a conspiracy that many believe went all the way to the chief commissioner’s office.

Now, 44 years after he was forced to resign because he cared more for children than his professional future, he has been vindicated in the very office where his career was destroyed.

It was only a few words and a handshake but when Ashton formally apologised on behalf of the police force it was the final vindication for a man who refused to be crushed by two powerful institutions.

40 years ago, there was a powerful Catholic fraction of the Victorian police force which covered over the crimes of members of the Catholic Church, allowing them to continue. Denis Ryan didn’t accept this, and fought against not only the Catholic Church but also the Victorian police force, trying to get justice to the victims, and stop any more crimes from happening.

Unfortunately, while he did get some results, the collected power of the two institutions were too powerful, and Ryan was forced out of the police force, thus allowing predatory priests to continue for decades more.

Current Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton has now acknowledged that Ryan was treated wrong. This is not only an important acknowledgement of past wrongs in the police force, but it also means that Ryan will get some sort of compensation for being forced out of the police force (something which cost him his police pension).

For more about Denis Ryan and his investigations, you can listen to more here: Conversations with Richard Fidler – Former police officer Denis Ryan’s devoted quest for justice


  1. Ichthyic says

    It never ceases to amaze me, that with the history of Christian churches and pedophilia… that the Oz government chose to replace trained professional councilors with… Christian pastors and chaplains.

    I do hope that the rumors about them finally going back to the way it was before are true.

  2. says

    Ichthyic, I had overlooked your comment, so I have just now approved it (all first-time comments need to be approved). Sorry that it took so long.

    I totally agree – the idea of letting chaplains be councilors at schools without any real oversight is incredible to me. Not only because of the past, as you correctly mention, but also because they are untrained for the job.