On Friday we revealed that the Catholic Church had accepted as substantially true revelations by an abuse victim that a Melbourne priest took part in satanic rituals where murders took place. Some Gotcha commentators were sceptical about the victim’s experiences and questioned how they could be true. Now the victim wants to respond. Here is his side of the story in his own words.
“First of all, thank you to all the commenters for taking the time to read Gary Hughes’ article on my situation and for giving your reactions.
A number of issues have been raised and I would like to respond to them in turn.
These issues as I see them are:
- the time I took to bring forth the allegations;
- the issue of missing persons not triggering police investigations;
- whether these “memories” are recovered by hypnosis or other means;
- what evidence can I produce to support these claims;
- did the Church pay out only for the sexual abuse of that priest or did it include payment for the ritual abuse;
- what caused the Church to acknowledge my claim;
- and whether the priest was acting outside his role as a Catholic priest.
To take the last point first, very clearly the priest was acting against the teachings of the Catholic Church. (In this writing, when I refer to the “Catholic Church” or the “Church”, I am referring to the hierarchy in particular and to the full time employees to a lesser extent. I do not mean it to cover the laity, who turn up on Sunday and may even hold honorary positions.)
In no way can the Church be seen to be endorsing this abusive and abhorrent behaviour. However, if any organisation wishes, or in the case of the Catholic
Church demands, authority over their employees, then it must accept some responsibility for their behaviour, otherwise order disintegrates and corruption ensues.
In law, this is covered under “Duty of Care”, I believe. The Catholic Church has been able to avoid this responsibility in the courts because it does not
exist as a legal entity before the law, amazingly.
This is doubly ironic when their persistent attitude of having quasi, if not outright, legal jurisdiction over this abuse issue and it’s investigation through
their parallel process to the State police and court system is considered.
What caused the Church to accept my claim?
An intriguing question, to be sure. The Vicar General in The Australiannewspaper on Saturday said: “Because he was believable and we gave him the benefit of the doubt.” This is a little less than their investigator Peter O’Callaghan QC said at the time. He said that he “had no reason to disbelieve” me and, presumably, that is what he communicated to the Compensation Panel.
In the end, I cannot answer for them. I will say that Mr. O’Callaghan and the Church authorities had plenty of warning that I may make the allegations formal. I don’t think that their decision could be characterised as impulsive or “knee-jerk”.
Another intriguing question relating to this is whether or not any follow up investigation was done.
This particular priest was known to have associations with other paedophilic priests and it would be reasonable for an investigator to question whether any
of these or other priests were involved in the cult.
Mr O’Callaghan didn’t ask me any questions along these lines, or any other lines for that matter, then or since.
Did the Church pay out only for the sexual abuse of that priest only or did it include payment for the ritual abuse?
On the surface, it would appear to be for abuse including the ritual abuse, according to Mr O’Callaghan’s communications to me. But I would say that it would
depend on what Mr O’Callaghan included in his report to the Compensation Panel.
There does appear to some disconnect between the acceptance of my claims of extreme abuse and the decision of the “Compensation Panel” to award 60% of the amount they were authorised to make.
(Amnesty international has described Satanic Ritual Abuse as the worst example of human rights abuse there is.)
But it may be a moot point anyway because “The Payment” as it is referred to in the signed agreement between myself and the Church is for my release of
them from civil action for damages arising from the behaviour of that particular priest (who is unnamed in the Deed Of Release) characterized simply as “The Abuser”. It was not compensation. Elsewhere in their communications the payment is referred to as the “ex gratia payment” and in some places as “ex gratia compensation”.
Legally there appears to be no responsibility taken for the abuse which would be implied if they described the payment as simply “Compensation”. So, in the end, strictly speaking they haven’t compensated me for anything save my right to sue them over this priest.
Were these “memories” recovered by hypnosis or other means? Were they repressed at any stage?
It is very difficult to talk meaningfully about “memories” in this context because most people are unfamiliar with the term “abreaction”. An abreaction (a term coined by Freud) describes a cognitive perception that has got itself jammed in the middle of its electrical/chemical journey through the various
brain cortexes on it’s way to becoming what we would normally call a memory - a recollection of something that happened in the past and that is over, and thankfully so, if it was unpleasant.
An abreaction is the replaying of that cognitive sensation as if it is happening now. Many of the physiological sensations and reactions that happened on the original occasion will manifest again. So smells can be smelt and pain can be felt.
To give you an unpleasant example, I will sometimes get a sharp pain in my rectum that will lift me out of my seat.
There are physiological markers that can be observed externally such as lowered skin temperature and/or raised heart rate, things that cannot be duplicated through acting. In other words, an abreaction is an experience, not a memory of an experience.
Another related question is “is it possible to forget something that has such impact?” and if so, “can it be recovered later?”. This is rather simpler to deal with.
You may remember that when Princess Diana was tragically killed in a car accident, her bodyguard was reported to have amnesia of the accident. There were no howls of “nonsense” (or worse) because we all seem to know someone, or know someone who knows someone, whom has had this very experience in a car accident.
And what’s more, it’s common knowledge that recovery from this amnesia is also quite common though maybe less so. (For further information on this, I would refer the reader to the Advocates for Survivors of Child Abuse report (linked previously by Gary Hughes) and in particular the section on False Memory Syndrome Foundation).
So with that introduction, I can say that I have always had some memories and experienced some abreactions but not enough to put it all together. One of these was an image of cannibalism. But I had no context for it.
A flood of abreactions occurred directly after the caesarean birth of my third child at which I was present. The enduring image I have of that time is of baby covered in blood and afterbirth being lifted up.
The child that was killed that is mentioned in the article on Friday was, in fact, an infant. The birth of my daughter was a massive trigger.
The subsequent abreactions or recalled experiences occurred outside therapy. There was no hypnosis involved. I cannot abide it, in any case, as the priest used it on me to induce forgetfulness in me.
There are other things involved here as well, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or in my case, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is permanent amongst other things, and Dissociation. If you, the reader, would like to understand this important, and at times,
fascinating area, you could Google the above terms to start with and read the ASCA document. A book I could recommend is “Ritual Abuse - What is it” by Margaret Smith, who is a research psychologist and a ritual abuse survivor.
What evidence of these claims can I produce?
First and foremost, I am “Exhibit A”, if you like. I am the smoking gun. I have permanent physical and neurological injuries. My conditions are verifiable
scientifically and the symptoms cannot be faked convincingly. My neurological conditions are only produced under extreme and sustained conditions.
To refute my claims, it would at least be necessary to propose a possible alternative explanation for my condition.
The question of missing persons not triggering police investigations.
Thousands of people go missing every year without a trace including children. In America a large number of children are reported missing every week.
The child in the murders I mention was, as I said, an infant and I doubt very much whether there was any record of it being born. This is a common practice in cults. I was led to believe that the infant was mothered by one of the cult members, who was also subsequently murdered. I was also led to believe, subsequently, that I was the father, though this was impossible (although I didn’t think so at the time) because I had not reached puberty by then.
There are also lots of ways to dispose of bodies. If you cannot think of any, you are not trying! Priests also have access to cemeteries and crematoriums. On reflection, I think you will see it’s not that difficult to avoid suspicion particularly if your association with the victim is clandestine.
There is also the question of collusion by the police. Police corruption is a fact of life. No force is exempt from it. Gary Hughes’ reporting is largely
focused on this issue and there seems to be no shortage of stories.
One of the commenters, Dyson Devine, mentioned Dr Reina Michaelson who has fought long and hard against sexual abuse and police corruption. If you visit her website you will find credible allegations of police involvement in Ritual Abuse at a Mornington kindergarten and it’s cover-up. Dr Michaelson has published the fact that she has an audio tape of an interview with staff from the Office of Police Integrity where one of the officers says that they are not interested in pursuing an organised paedophile ring even if it is still in operation. To my my knowledge this is still the case.
Dyson also mentions Dr Michaelson’s legal battle with a group known as the Ordo Templis Orientis (OTO).
If you visit their website and affiliated sites, as Dyson and another commenter, Mary Wilson, said it is quite instructive as to “what is out there” in plain
There is also a related problem for Satanic Ritual Abuse survivors in contacting the Victoria Police and that is their badge! It prominently features an upside down five pointed star. This inverted pentagram is only used elsewhere in Satanic symbolism.
The upright pentagram is used in Satanism but also by a lot of other organisations and bodies. For instance, the Mormon Church, Freemasons and the US and the now defunct USSR military amongst many others. But the inverted pentagram is only seen in connection with Satanism and, unfortunately, the Victoria Police. If it was an innocent mistake by the founders of the Police Force, then it is a particularly unfortunate one. Satanic Ritual Abuse survivors are familiar with the cults including in their number many people who are in authority in civil life and so would find this badge/symbol particularly off-putting.
If on the other hand, if it was not a mistake, it could go some distance in explaining the apparent paradox of the reluctance to pursue organised paedophile rings.
And finally, the time I took to bring forth the allegations.
Most of this I have already answered, but I will add that 25 years ago, when the perpetrator was still alive, the dots were not sufficiently connected up for
me take action. Plus, think for a moment that if my allegations are outrageous now, how would they have sounded back then?
I am disappointed, to say the least, that the perpetrator is now deceased. He would be in his seventies now. He died in his sleep when in his early
fifties. As far as I know, there was no autopsy done but perhaps the Vicar General could establish that.
I have spent most of my life just trying to function. Fortunately, I am quite intelligent and have been able to get by, but usually in low paid jobs. It hasn’t been a lot of fun.
Coping with defending these allegations was out of the question. Even at the time when I came forward a few years ago, I was not up to it, really. I suffered much distress and dissociation throughout the process. I entered the formal side of the Churches system because Mr O’Callaghan said it
would be difficult for him to continue to fund my therapy if I did not make a formal complaint and so formally enter the process that they had set up after my therapy had begun to be funded by a previous office of the church, which did not require “victims” to be vetted by a lawyer first.
I hope I have addressed the main issues raised. If I haven’t or there are other questions that need to be raised, please feel free to do so in the comments here and I will be happy to respond.
Finally, I would like to especially thank those who have experienced Satanic Ritual Abuse and took the time to comment and to “Ken”, who is a relative and supporter of an abuse survivor who spoke eloquently about the problems that survivors face, such as feeling inhibited about talking about myself. I would also like to thank you, the reader, for reading this far and taking the time to interest and educate yourself in this very unlovely topic. If everybody were educated to it, I’m sure this abuse of vulnerable adults and children would cease.
To that end I urge you to click on the link to the ASCA document and take the further time to read it and read it perhaps more than once.”