TUESDAY 1ST MARCH, 2005
LABOR'S POLICE WATCHDOG UNABLE - AND UNWILLING - TO INVESTIGATE VICTORIA POLICE'S ALLEGED PROTECTION OF ORGANIZED PEDOPHILIA AND CHILD PORNOGRAPHY.
In response to calls by Dr. Reina Michaelson (Child Sexual Abuse Prevention
Program Inc.), Ms. Hetty Johnston (Bravehearts) and Ms. Gail McHardy (Parents
Victoria) for an independent investigation into allegations of Victoria Police
protection of and involvement in organised pedophilia and child pornography, the
Labor Government's newly established Office of Police Integrity (OPI) has
dismissed their complaints without having interviewed a single witness or having
recalled a single VicPol file.
The OPI also found no fault with one of Victoria's most senior police officer's allowing a detective to involve himself in an investigation into a pedophile network the detective was alleged to be protecting.
In a 2-hour meeting with Dr. Michaelson, a senior investigator with the OPI admitted that: "What I would hope that we can achieve is possibly nothing in relation to that past [pedophile] ring, even if it is still operating".
This is despite the fact that numerous victims have alleged police involvement in and protection of the statewide pedophile and child pornography network. In addition, victims have independently identified as perpetrators of the pedophile and child pornography network: a former Victorian Labor Minister, a veteran television celebrity, and a prominent television producer.
The failure of Victoria Police to investigate the existence of an organised pedophile and child pornography network and the refusal of the Ombudsman's office and the OPI to properly investigate the alleged cover-up has led us, on behalf of the victims and the people of Victoria, to renew our calls for a Royal Commission.
The ongoing efforts to cover up the truth and deprive victims of justice reflect a lack of courage, leadership and morality on behalf of our state government. The truth needs to be revealed. Those who have committed terrible crimes against children need to be held accountable, and the victims deserve justice.
Dr. Michaelson (CSAPP Inc.) will be joined by Hetty Johnston (Bravehearts) and Gail McHardy (Parents Victoria) at a press conference to be held on:
Wednesday 2 March at 10.30am
60 Leicester Street,
PRESS STATEMENT FROM DR REINA MICHAELSON 2 MARCH 2005
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. The URL for CSAPP is www.csapp.net.
Thank you. I now want to hand over…
Please study the transcript of the meeting carefully. It tells you all you need to know.
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