Author: “Becky Morgan”
What I describe to you is a classic example of how abuse plays out. It is high time services became aware and responsible. Note that the no and low conscience disorders must also be well understood in order to fully absorb the dynamics described here-in.
Names have been changed to protect those involved.
2010 – October my daughter told me that she had been abused by Tom Reid (TR), a fellow fire fighter who had been helping me renovate my home. I told him he was no longer welcome at my house. He began to drive up and down my dead end road. I went to Police, secured an AVO and gave a copy to the school.
2010 – December I was effectively bullied out of the brigade by TR then Fire Chief (volunteer) and his officers. I had raised concerns without being specific. The District Officer took these seriously and told me he was concerned that of the three cadets attending the brigade only two had paperwork completed. I asked to join another brigade but was told by the District Officer “The problem might follow you”. (An appalling and prejudiced response). Legal advice was to not pursue further AVO as that would initiate proceedings that would effectively put my daughter through a trial. Police interviewed my daughter in my presence and told me they were satisfied that her testimony was sufficient to prosecute. She was a very articulate 3 yr old. Fire Tas Human Resources were reportedly awaiting a complaint from me but I was afraid of further vindictive behaviour from the Fire fighter community. I was also warned that a complaint could open me to a slander accusation.
2011 – February, Local Primary School Principal resumed duties after standing in at another school for 2010 term 3. I informed her of the abuse allegations with the goal of ensuring my children’s emotional needs be catered to. The Principal assured me that the children would not be exposed to TR except in case of an emergency. Her tone and body language were dismissive and not empathic. I became aware that TR had frequent access to the school grounds on a regular basis.
2011 – September, “2013 accused” Peter began living with me. He had emailed me detailing his contact with Local Catholic School students via Facebook and “sex” site Tagged. (Later reported to police and Cath Ed staff but as far as I know nothing done about this).
2013 _ February, Emily had a new teacher “MC”, who told Peter (2013 accused) and I at the “welcome back BBQ” that she is best friends with Peter’s colleague “GX”, who he has house sat for and literally sat back to back with in his IT office at Local Catholic School. Emily has a regular relief teacher too: “SR”. “SR” was my best friend locally until I told her about the disclosures about TR. At that point she stopped speaking with me. Her husband trained in the brigade with me for the year preceding me being bullied out. I had noticed that while I was being bullied out “SR”’s husband was being very much groomed by TR. TR used to run fire training practice at “SR”’s property and I would certainly describe them as friends.
2013 – I notice that TR attends Local Primary frequently and casually. Following local bushfires TR, volunteer Fire Chief, spent increasing time at the school. The school Newsletter stated that the brigade will be partnering with grade 5 and 6 students. This concerned me because a friend recounted: “TR turned up at our house and apologised if we were upset that he offered our daughter a lift home. Our daughter denies that he offered a lift, we find it all quite creepy.” Being a rural area high school students often walk km’s from the bus stop to their home. There is an obvious problem if an alleged child abuser is being given opportunity to groom grade 6 students then offer them lifts once they have progressed to grade 7. Jane reported “I saw TR today. He was at the School Hall. All the kids were there to thank the fire brigade. There was another man there too. Emily was there. Because she is a Prep they sat her (Emily, 5) right at the front.” (Within metres of her alleged rapist).
2013 – 22nd March I complained to Minister for Education Nick McKim about the girls being exposed to their alleged abuser while in care of the school despite undertakings from the Principal to avoid such a situation. When I complained to Minister for Ed. Nick McKim I noticed that “please sign in” signs went up immediately on both entrance gates. 28th March 2013 The Minister agreed “I can assure you that the processes suggested in your email have been immediately put in place to ensure that your daughters will be protected from any contact or access to the alleged perpetrator.”
2013-24th June, Jane (8) tells me that TR walked past her at school during lunchtime and said hello. This looks innocent to the onlooker but to the abused it is intimidation. TR’s presence at the school goes against the Minister’s undertaking. TR was spending time at the Brigade almost daily, and would know what time he could expect to find the children in the playground. There was no emergency to justify his presence. I was incredulous that this was happening despite the Royal Commission into institutionalised abuse being in the media.
2013_June After coming home early and catching Peter (2013 accused) photographing himself almost naked I became suspicious. I found his dating profile online, soliciting sexual encounters with men, women, groups and couples. I realise that the three times I woke to find him raping me were opportunistic on his part, not shyness as I had previously excused. I broke up with him and reported the rapes to Police.
2013_August, Emily began to disclose abuse from Peter. Jane began to disclose abuse from Peter too. Jane disclosed that she was also abused by TR. My children reported that TR had made “I’m watching you” and “cut throat” gestures at them while they were in the care of the school. Jane had tried to disclose to me in 2010 but her description was not explicit and so I did not realise that she had been abused. In 2013 she was more bold and gave full details. I attended the school as soon as possible to let the class teachers know about the disclosures, being mindful of the audience present and sending my children to play outside while I briefed the teachers. It was lunchtime and I spoke with Jane’s teacher in private outside the staff room. I reported the disclosures to Police but they were aggressive and dismissive, and refused to view the evidence. I now have a letter from Police Internal Investigations admitting failings in the police handling of this case. The interview had been recorded without my knowledge. When I received a copy of the recording and transcript on May 26th 2015 I discovered that they did not match and the inaccuracies are such that a serious bias is created.
2013 – December I was involved with organising the local Christmas Carols. While working that night some strangers and acquaintances questioned me about the absence of a Santa Claus. I responded appropriately but their questioning seemed to be childish and provocative, not well intentioned. They then began yelling at me aggressively. As I walked away they yelled out TR’s name and that of his defacto partner, as though it was a ‘calling card’. I have since noticed that these families have joined the Fire Brigade since I left.
2014_ New Principal JP. I tell her as urgently as possible of the children’s history, reminding her that they are fragile at start of new year and likely have PTSD. No attempt by staff to communicate with me about my children’s wellbeing under circumstances. No effort to provide a private space to discuss my concerns.
Unbeknown to me staff of Local School had made complaints about me to Child Protection Services. The complaints were investigated and closed with no action taken. I understand the allegations to be that I send my children to school without lunches, send them in unwashed clothing, and with unbrushed hair. These accusations are so untrue they are laughable. I can willingly answer them. I have been a single mum for much of the girls’ school enrolment, but I have done a bloody good job despite adverse circumstances. There is no truth in the accusations made by Local staff.
In light of the relationships between three or more Staff and the alleged abusers the school community cannot be assumed to be impartial witnesses. In light of assertions by staff of the school that they do not believe the reports of abuse are founded, it must be acknowledged that they may be hostile witnesses. In as few as 3% of reported cases of abuse is there evidence to prove the assault. Abuse can rarely be disproven. It is not the role of teachers to decide whether or not a child has been abused. The handling of my family post disclosure has demonstrated ignorance of abuse, its permutations, the grooming of a community done by perpetrators, the discrediting done by abuser, and the trauma and associated behaviours in victims. I believe there needs to be a protocol for schools to ensure they can appropriately respond to and support victims after disclosure. Such a protocol must be written with input from all stakeholders. In light of my experience, any such protocol written without my input would be a failure and a farce. Victoria has recently implemented such a protocol. I cannot comment on it’s efficacy as I have not reviewed it in detail yet.
2014 – July, I attended RHH to see the midwives. I reported having had depression previously so they referred me to the Perinatal Mental Health Team (Dr J, Dr K, “AH”) as an out patient. I told Dr K my history, including the abusive relationship. I said I think I have PTSD. Without telling me Dr K decided he does not believe what I say, concludes that I am delusional, then persists, without asking if I have any evidence to support my narrative. He avoided witnesses who may support my narrative, and went to the very people who I have told him are hostile witnesses. The vocabulary he used in his notes “leaks” his intention to find evidence to support his assessment, rather than to impartially seek evidence to support or counter his assessment. The Mental Health Act was repeatedly broken, along with the psychiatrist code of ethics.
Nov. 10 2014 – Dr K told me that he thinks I am paranoid and need medicating. He fails to tell me how he reached that conclusion. Dr K had failed to be open and honest so I did not know to show him the overwhelming evidence supporting my narrative. I went home and looked up paranoia on the internet. The definition suggests a poor grasp on reality. I became angry and upset because I realised Dr K does not believe what I have told him, and that there are devastating consequences to my family. In my upset I slammed my bedroom door as I went to my room to cry. A plate fell from the wall and broke, so to reduce the impact on my children I went to the paddock to hand feed the cow while I calmed down. This was a very normal response to a very worrying situation, but was later reported to the Mental Health Tribunal as “dysregulated emotion” by Child Psychiatrist Dr W. Note that Dr W had not seen me before that day. She was being briefed by the RHH Perinatal Mental Health Team as early as August but failed to disclose that when she reported to the Family Court in March 2015.
Note that Dr W is supervised by Dr J. Dr J also supervises Dr K. Dr J made the unfortunate comment “But of course they gave consent to that process.” (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-24/hospital-apologises-for-forced-adoptions/3789406) in response to the stolen adopted generation, as part of her apology on behalf of Melbourne Royal Women’s Hospital. It is appalling that a woman who can make such an unempathic statement can be placed in a senior role where she has great influence in each RHH, Clare House and St Helens, concerning vulnerable people. The Mental Health team pointed at findings by Police of unfounded allegation in order to justify a diagnosis of delusion. There are many problems with the handling of this case by the teachers, police, doctors and CPS.
November 2014 friends S and G M told me that mutual acquaintance P has told them that TR told the entire Fire Brigade that I wrote a letter claiming they are all child abusers. I wrote no such letter. This explains the heckling I experienced at the Carols December 2013. I am sure many victims feel the frustration of having to keep quiet while their abusers enjoy freedom to slander and discredit.
Dec 8 2014 – My children were not returned from their fortnightly visit with their father, Damien. I phoned CPS for an explanation. They said to meet with them on the next day.
Dec. 9 2014 – I arrived at CPS to find out why my children had not been returned. When I arrived at the CPS office, I found Dr K and two men from the CATT team present at the interview. They claimed that I am delusional, the abuse did not happen, that I talk about the abuse all the time around my children, and am therefore emotionally abusing them. Dr K made accusations which he conceded were not true but he and the CATT team persisted in ambushing me and incarcerating me in the Psych. ward DoP purely based on having reported sexual assault against my children and I. I smiled, incredulous that this could be happening in the very same week that the Royal Commission was in Hobart about Hutchins School. Dr K noted this as “incongruent affect”. Dean (my husband) and I told CPS staff that their “collaborative witnesses” were hostile, particularly my mother, who displays narcissistic tendencies, and whom I had been estranged from for over 4 years. They ignored this and failed to discuss what was happening with Dean and I in a reasonable way. CPS staff told me that my baby would also be removed from me because I may not bond properly with her. This goes against modern learning that it is far preferable to support a family than to separate them.
This is all relevant because it is the circular and unprofessional reporting of Police and teaching staff that the abuse did not happen that has allowed an inexperienced Doctor to continue down a contentious path of diagnosis. Each of the people involved with this major stuff up must see the part they played and be held accountable. There have been devastating consequences for my family and I.
I have a Private Psychiatrist whom I engaged in November 2014 when it became clear that RHH staff were in the process of breaching my rights. She took time to take my history accurately. She has seen some of the collaborative evidence that my narrative is true, and has hence pleaded with local police to reopen the investigations against the perpetrators. She refutes negative reports from the school and Dr W and along with others describes this case as the greatest breach of human rights in Tasmania since the closure of the infamous Willow Court asylum.