Letters to Editors by Gordon Waugh 1998

Article for the Wanganui Chronicle, 5 January 1998


The topics of sexual abuse and false allegations need open-minded discussion, credible scientific information, sensible balance and clear thinking. In her Dec 28 letter, Claire Smit tried to close down discussion by commenting that she was extremely offended by you considering Mr Robottom’s letter (Dec 18) worthy of publication. I assume she is a member of the Sex Abuse Industry. As a member of Casualties Of Sexual Allegations Inc (COSA), I would like to clarify a few points for your readers.

The public has been bombarded by horrendous but silly "statistics" about sexual abuse. The aptly-named Sex Abuse Industry has, for profit and ideological purposes, vastly overstated the prevalence, effects and definitions of abuse. A recent example was the claim by Rape Crisis that about 150,000 rapes occur annually. Another is the clairvoyant claim that "most abuse is not reported", as evidenced by the Missioners column (Nov 5), which suggested that the police dealt with 20,000 cases of violence annually, but only about 3 per cent were reported – that translates to nearly 700,000 incidents a year.

There are far too many cases of genuine sexual abuse, and the topic is much too serious to be biased by false claims, misinformation and closed minds.

False allegations of sexual abuse are commonly used as vicious weapons, or excuses for failing to accept responsibility for ones own decisions and choices. Principally, they are made by adult women exposed to counselling, wives or partners seeking advantage in child custody disputes, by young children and teenagers for vindictive or misguided reasons, and for extortion.

ACC Minister Shipley (now Prime Minister) recently stated that counsellors are trained to identify cases of sexual abuse. That is nonsense. People enter counselling because they are disturbed. Counsellors claim that disturbed clients who present with a constellation of "indicators" were sexually abused or likely to have been abused. Their list of "indicators" is so extensive and generalised it applies to the entire population of the planet. It includes depression, bedwetting, nightmares, anxiety, promiscuity, frigidity, ad infinitum. Despite such beliefs, no scientific evidence exists to show a causal relationship between sexual abuse and any specific psychological or psychiatric condition. In the absence of valid corroboration, no counsellor can ever know whether a client was sexually abused.

Counselling students are often taught that childhood sexual abuse is the cause of almost every known adult female affliction. They uncritically believe that techniques of memory excavation, dream analysis, "flashbacks", body memories, guided imagery and the like, are useful therapeutic tools. They are not. They are unscientific, unreliable, and unsafe. If they lead to confabulation, they are unethical.

Instruction on the imaginative and implausible psychological artefacts of Recovered Memories, Multiple Personality Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Satanic Ritual Abuse, is also given on various training courses. These are belief-systems with no scientific validity. Counsellors who use these techniques to persuade clients that sexual abuse caused their presenting problems are "brainwashing" their clients for profit.

Counselling based on belief-systems is a form of torture for the child or adult client who wrongly comes to believe she was sexually abused. A false allegation imposes an unwarranted and destructive life-time sentence on the client, the accused, and their families and friends. False allegations continue to emotionally, financially and physically destroy and devastate thousands of New Zealand families. They have caused the premature death of parents and grandparents, and hurt everyone they touch.

Every claim of alleged sexual abuse is an allegation of serious crime. Counsellors uncritically accept whatever story a client may be persuaded to create, no matter how improbable. When an ACC claim is involved, no evidence of sexual abuse is required, no investigation is done, no corroboration is sought, and no charge or conviction is necessary. The word of a disturbed client and a misguided counsellor is taken as sufficient evidence of abuse. No perpetrator need be identified, but if he is, he has no statutory opportunity to defend his reputation or challenge the client, or the counsellor who writes an ACC Assessment Report. The law does not permit him to know the identity of the counsellor.

In the 1980’s, ACC typically handled 200-300 claims for sexual abuse annually. When counsellors and their belief-systems took hold in the 1990’s, that rose to an average of about 10,000 annually. Since about 1991, ACC paid some $500 Million to 50,000 claimants and their counsellors before terminating the lump-sum scheme. Thousands more claims have been lodged since then.

Every such claim directly and adversely affects the wider circle of family and friends of the accuser and the accused. If that circle is about 20 people, then over one million people have already been hurt by allegations of sex abuse made in ACC claims alone. And our population is only 3.6 million. Counsellors accept no responsibility for their part in this disgrace.

It is time that we in the community demanded a public enquiry into cases like the Peter Ellis conviction, the many wrongly convicted men, the fraudulent ACC claims, and the training, regulation and accountability of those in counselling occupations. Abundant evidence exists. Laws and Regulations must be amended to prevent the continuation of this costly and devastating nonsense of false allegation of sexual abuse.

Footnote: Mr Robottom gave his phone number. Mine is 09-416-7443. I would welcome sensible discussion and any enquiries about COSA.

Gordon Waugh, Auckland

To the Herald, 5 January 1998

Top marks to ACC for its business acumen. It opens its 94-page 1997 Annual Report with the comment "This year’s Annual Report records progress in all aspects of ACC’s activities."

Its Sensitive Claims Unit annually deals with thousands of claims for alleged sexual abuse and spends many millions of taxpayer dollars, but details of its extensive activities were omitted from this Report. ACC will now sell this information to the public for a deposit of $25 and an hourly charge of $75.

Earlier reports included detail on sensitive claims and their costs. Its 1996 Report noted the continued high volume of sexual abuse claims as a major concern. There were 19,130 active claims in that year. In very recent years, these claims have cost the taxpayer an estimated $500 Million, and this is a great embarrassment to the Corporation and its Minister. No wonder they want to hide it from public view.

Charging us to learn how they spent our money is undoubtedly sound business practice. It is to be hoped that IRD does not charge us for checking our tax returns.

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

The Editor Wanganui Chronicle 31 January 1998


Dear Editor,


I read with some interest the letter by Ms Jacqui Leston published in your Friday, January 23 Edition. In the normal course of events, I would not hesitate to reply to that sort of letter. I corresponded with Ms Leston in mid-1997, and her assertions and conclusions in her published letter are as astounding as those she earlier made. Put as kindly as I can manage, she is a most unhappy person. No purpose would be served by engaging her in public debate. For the record though, COSA’s President, Dr. Felicity Goodyear-Smith, has sent you a letter for publication. I’ve penned a few paragraphs below, by way of explanation.

It is correct that she received 18 copies of our monthly COSA Newsletter. At an average of about 10 pages, she received about 180 pages, yet is microscopically selective in quoting, out of context, just one sentence from that mass of information. I have enclosed the full text of the lengthy Editorial from which she quoted and highlighted the sentence she selected. For your interest, I’ve also put in a copy of a topical Editorial from The Ottawa Citizen, dated 19 January 1998.

Inescapably, all allegations of sexual abuse are accusations of serious crime. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 14(2) states that everyone charged with a criminal offence shall have the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. That is a principle of our justice system. We in COSA subscribe to it.

A presumption of guilt is centuries out of place. In a number of spheres, men are increasingly being asked to prove their innocence. Particularly with allegations of sexual abuse, and in the area covered by the Domestic Violence Act, evidence is seldom sought, and the word of an accusing woman is considered by many to be sufficient in itself. That is of much concern. We should say "Here is an allegation. What is the evidence for, and against it."

It is impossible to prove a negative, and that is why "innocence" often cannot be proven. How does one prove that something didn’t happen? Uncorroborated allegations certainly do not prove guilt. When an allegation relates to events supposedly years or decades ago, it is often impossible to gather any evidence at all. Witnesses may have died, documents been lost or destroyed, and certainly memories have faded. Without valid corroboration (eg forensic evidence, a credible witness, or an admission of guilt), third parties – and that includes sex abuse counsellors – cannot know the truth or falsity of an allegation. Once an allegation of abuse leaves the consulting room and enters the forensic field, complainants, and their counsellors, should be asked to provide proof equally as rigorous as they demand of those they accuse. Even Bill Clinton is finding out about that !

Of course genuine cases of sexual abuse occur, but it is naive to suggest that false allegations don’t happen.

Yours sincerely,

Gordon Waugh

A second article for the Wanganui Chronicle, 19 February 1998.

REBUTTAL… [or a heading of your choice]

Your correspondent Ms London (Feb 10), has been downright miserly with the truth. She did not tell you of her lengthy correspondence with me, or the content of my response. That is sophistry at its worst.

Let’s make no mistake about this. All allegations of sexual abuse are accusations of serious crime and have the most grave consequences for all involved. Simply and clearly put, the debate over false allegations of sexual abuse is one of evidence and knowledge, versus belief and assumption. I openly challenge the assumptions, beliefs and qualifications of people like Ms London.

She demonstrated her confusion over the meaning and application of a presumption of innocence, and what constitutes evidence. She gets paid for her work and has a vested interest in ensuring a good supply of "victims" by continuing to disseminate her uninformed beliefs.

Everyone is entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. When an allegation is genuine, proof of guilt lies in the standards tests of time, place and circumstance, as well as evidence from documentary, medical, and credible witness sources.

But many acts complained of during exposure to counselling are physically or medically impossible, or at least improbable. When an allegation is false, the same evidential tests prove their falsity. Counsellors invariably decline to investigate these matters, claiming they are not detectives. They don’t get paid for finding an allegation is false.

Counsellors are obliged by their training and their "code of ethics" to believe and support a client’s narrative. That is a clear presumption of guilt. It uncritically confuses narrative truth with historical truth, and metaphor with reality. If one is willingly to make an accusation, one must also be willing to provide credible evidence. Counsellors who conclude without evidence that abuse occurred, use assumption based on hearsay, and inexcusably confuse cause and association. They unjustifiably assume the mantle of judge, jury and executioner.

Counsellors’ lack of contemporary knowledge is appalling. Much to their chagrin, impeccable current international and local research shows a significant number of those abused do not suffer long term effects, the prevalence of abuse is much less than previously assumed, and counselling should not be automatically prescribed.

Ms London’s failure to see how conventional methods of scientific research can be employed to analyse such an "emotive and subjective issue" is at the root of many of the problems in this field.

For the very reason that the topic is cloaked by counsellors in emotion, opinion, subjectivity and mystique, the application of the impartial, objective techniques provided by traditional methods of scientific research is vital. That is the only reasonable way to sort fact from fiction.

Counsellors believe children can completely banish from their conscious minds all knowledge of sexual abuse, and can recall it by appropriate therapy years or decades later. It’s called "repressed/recovered memory". This inane theory has been roundly condemned by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Canadian Association of Psychiatrists, the American Medical Association, the Courts and many others. Grandparents, parents and siblings, falsely accused by those exposed to counselling. also roundly condemn it as arrant nonsense.

Ms London believes that in order to work effectively and knowledgeably, counsellors need to be familiar with recovered memory, and its derivatives of multiple personality disorder and satanic ritual abuse. The National Centre for Child Abuse and Neglect in the USA recently completed an examination of some 12,000 cases of alleged satanic ritual abuse and found no evidence to support any of them. But counsellors believe it is widespread.

Despite her protests and attempted justification, Ms London and her colleagues have indeed mislead the public. They talk glibly of under-reporting. For example, Rape Crisis claims that only one in ten rapes are reported, and of those, one in ten go to court, and only one in ten charged are convicted. Ministry of Justice nation-wide statistics show that on average, there are about 150 rape convictions annually, a conviction rate of about 48 per cent.

Arithmetical extrapolation of the Rape Crisis claim says 150,000 rapes are committed each year. That is just as misleading as the claims of "one in three girls and perhaps as many boys"……"hundreds of thousands of children in NZ"……."one in nine boys"….will be sexually abused.

Summation of all such claims of prevalence suggests the entire population has been sexually abused several times over. Such "statistics", drawn from unreliable retrospective surveys, are fatally flawed because they assume the stories of abuse are true, and do not rely on or test the credibility of the evidence. They are figures plucked from thin air. That is why I say they are silly and misleading.

The basis on which counsellors draw their conclusions, and their knowledge and qualifications to do so, are being seriously questioned and rigorously tested. Because of the number of demonstrably false allegations arising from counselling interventions, it is widely held that they have failed to honour their primary obligations to clients and the public.

In the face of the extensive hard evidence provided by documented and tested cases of false allegations, it would be disingenuous to suggest there are only a few of these, or that this is a small problem. Presumptions of guilt, and guilt by accusation, are just not good enough. Let those who make allegations, produce credible evidence to support them.

Gordon Waugh, Auckland

To the Press, 8 March 1998

John Henzell’s article on restorative justice (Press, March 5), evinced sound principles. His subject "Sue" is due much credit for her courage in demonstrating how, in a genuine case, a healing process does exist.

The article was sullied by Rosemary Smart’s comments. Her shopworn call to "believe the victim" reiterates the ignorance of many counsellors over the meaning and application of a presumption of innocence and what constitutes evidence. That call is an automatic presumption of guilt which ignores evidence, and perverts the definition of "victim".

Proof of genuine allegations lies in the evidential tests of time, place and circumstance, and in credible documentary, forensic and witness information. Sue provided good evidence and was believed. But justice is a two-edged sword. The same evidential tests prove many allegations are false.

As Mrs Beaton’s famous recipe for Jugged Hare put it, "First, catch the hare". Instead of destructive uncritical beliefs and assumptions, an examination of evidence both for, and against, an allegation would better assist counsellors to determine the cause of a client’s presenting condition. To be of value, restorative justice must apply equally to genuine victims, those who make false allegations, and counsellors who encourage them.

G. Waugh, Auckland

To the Herald, 1 April 1998

Abuse and suicide

A report on Dr John Read’s research conclusions, linking sexual abuse to psychiatric conditions, was published in the Herald (Oct 22, 1997). His conclusions drew well-deserved and resounding criticism.

He is on the bandwagon again. Another report on his work appeared in the Herald (Mar 31). His letter (Apr 1) says a typographical error will have confused some readers on a central point. That was not the error which caused confusion and criticism, rather, it was the demonstrably unsound basis on which he drew his conclusions.

He has not produced credible evidence that the self-reported sexual abuse actually occurred, and confuses cause with association. No causal link between sexual abuse and psychiatric conditions has been proven. Dr Read would do well to study this month’s report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists on the topic of "recovered memories", (British Journal of Psychiatry, April 1998 Issue) and similar credible research.

At best, his conclusions are tenuous, and at worst, self-serving and dangerously misleading to those attempting to curtail the youth suicide rate.

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

To the Herald, 8 April 1998

About 1986, the Evidence Act was amended to effectively remove the need for corroborative evidence in sexual abuse cases. A decade of experience shows the appalling waste of public and personal resources that amendment caused.

Urged on by Rape Crisis and others, the Police have issued a new adult sexual investigation policy. Without evidence or corroboration, complainants are called "victims", and accused are "offenders". That is a presumption of guilt. Neutrality and objectivity have vanished.

Our Navy was besieged by a serial accuser, who alleged sexual misconduct by her colleagues. Several were exonerated without trial. Others have faced Courts Martial and been found not guilty.

Complainants in many other cases later admit to making false allegations. Compensation is being sought for wrongful convictions. Lives, families and reputations have been needlessly shattered. ACC wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on over 60,000 recent sexual abuse claims. Trial expenses and appeals swallow many more millions.

Guilt by accusation is simply not good enough. Justice demands that those who make criminal allegations must also provide credible evidence. Removing corroboration was a gross error. It must be quickly re-instated.

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

To the Sunday Star-Times, 19 April 1998

Shiver me timbers ! Ms Heron (Apr 19) prattles on about the recent Naval Courts Martial, men’s unbridled sexuality, Freud’s denigrating perspective of women, and outdated patriarchal institutions. That form of rhetoric is outmoded and ill-informed.

Ms Heron obviously has no experience of Courts Martial or evidential processes. Courts Martial are at least as rigorous as any other court. The appointed Judge Advocate is an added safeguard. The Rules of Procedure are clear and precise. The process examines evidence both for, and against, an allegation, somewhat better than achieved by a jury in our adversarial system.

The reason why this serial accuser’s allegations against her eleven colleagues failed to convict them is simple. She could not produce credible evidence to support her allegations. There is a vast difference between allegations and evidence. Ms Heron would have them convicted by accusation alone. That is simply not good enough.

Ms Heron asks why this woman would go through this exhausting drama. That’s just it. It was a silly and pointless drama, seen far too often in recent years, and acted out for immature ideological purposes.

G. Waugh, Auckland

To the Taranaki Daily News, 20 April 1998

While I applaud the good intentions of New Plymouth police in producing a booklet about sexual abuse (Daily News, Apr 7), I am appalled that input from Rape Crisis was allowed to destroy its value by perpetuating myth and misinformation.

Lorraine Jans said the booklet idea "stemmed from concern over national data which showed more incidents of sexual abuse were reported to Rape Crisis than police". Rape Crisis assumes, without evidence or corroboration, that all allegations they collect are factual. They are not. The "national data" she alludes to have been thoroughly discredited.

A few of the many examples of Rape Crisis sophistry in the booklet are:

"Under 30% of sexual abuse is reported". This implies assured knowledge of actual prevalence and incidence. It does not exist.

"Sexual abuse is more common than you may think." Credible research from reliable local and overseas sources indicates sexual abuse is very much less frequent than touted by such groups as Rape Crisis.

"Believe the victim", and the term "date rape", are untutored ideological constructs. The belief that "a large number of men and boys have been and still are victims of abuse" has no factual basis.

Sensible policing relies on healthy scepticism, neutrality and objectivity. A cornerstone of good police work is impartial investigation of evidence both for, and against, allegations. Victims and offenders do not exist until credible evidence proves at trial the existence of a crime.

Police and Court statistics, backed by contemporary testable research, confirm many sexual abuse allegations are false. Fewer than half those accused of rape are convicted. The judiciary admits to concern over wrongful convictions.

Maintenance of police integrity and impartiality, and deliverance from Rape Crisis sophistry, are important aspects of community welfare. A booklet based on reliable information, readily available from credible sources, would have better served community needs.

G. Waugh, Auckland

To the Dominion, 20 April 1998

Detective Sergeant Brett Tomlinson, commenting on the new police policy for investigating adult sexual assault (Dominion, Apr 14), condemned his own work by saying "Our policy supports victims of offences."

Good policy is based on sound principles, contemporary knowledge, and testable methodology. This five-page policy ignores the principles of justice and investigation, and lacks impartiality.

From the outset, it calls complainants "victims", gives credence to every allegation, and thereby presumes guilt. It reflects the immature and ideological input given by Rape Crisis, Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care and their sisters, and ignores the alarmingly high incidence of false allegations and wrongful convictions they manufacture.

Let’s do something daring by getting it right ! Complainants make allegations. Allegations do not prove guilt. To either prove or disprove the existence of a crime, a primary police task is to gather evidence both for, and against, an allegation. That demands healthy scepticism, neutrality and objectivity. Accused people are not "offenders", and complainants are not "victims", until proven to be so by credible evidence derived from impartial investigation.

Guilt by accusation is unacceptable. This new "policy" has no place in good police work.

G. Waugh, Auckland

To the Sunday Star-Times, 30 April 1997

Yep ! I’m wide awake and aware of rape, thanks to Rape Awareness Week. But hold on a minute. Rape Crisis reckons the rape has lost its impact because people are talking about false allegations of rape, and wants to change rape into "sexual violence". I’m confused. Why then call it Rape Awareness Week?

They have done this huge study and produced "statistics" to support their years-old statement that "one in three girls, and perhaps as many boys, will be sexually abused by age 18." Naively perhaps, I always thought that research preceded the derivation of statistics.

That thousands of their clients allegedly suffered incest was a real surprise. The Ministry of Justice reported that nation-wide over the five years 1992-1996, there were about 123 prosecutions and about 92 convictions for that crime. And it seems that almost every female in the country has been raped at least several times. Do you think I am exaggerating?

To resolve my confusion, I looked up rape in the Shorter Oxford. There are many options. I think the best choice is Brassica napus, usually grown as food for sheep. Flock off, Rape Crisis.

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

To the Taranaki Daily News, 1 May 1998

Open debate on sensitive problems is a hallmark of a healthy society. Det Sgt Bryan and Rape Crisis have attacked me personally for daring to criticise their new sexual abuse booklet. Although the April 7 report advised that Rape Crisis helped with it, Mr Bryan now claims (Apr 22) that the booklet was a police initiative and no other agency had a hand in it.

Who wrote the book is now largely irrelevant. What matters is its content. I sternly criticised the booklet because it contains Rape Crisis myth and misinformation. My concerns lie with the quality and accuracy of the information, not with publicity for myself, as suggested by Mr Bryan.

My unanswered five-page letter to him explained why comments in the booklet are misleading, asked for his information sources, and justification for particular statements.

That I am the sole public critic of the booklet does not lessen the impact of criticism. He can rebut those criticisms simply by producing credible evidence to substantiate quanta and comment in the booklet. The public is entitled to see that justification, and I invite him to present it.

Gordon Waugh, Auckland

To the Herald, 4 May 1998

While I thank Justice Minister Graham for his comments regarding Evidence Act amendments, he has given only half the story and missed the point by a wide margin.

Section 23AB(1) of the Evidence Act clearly states that no corroboration of the complainant’s evidence shall be necessary to convict.

Mr Graham acknowledges the danger of convicting in the absence of corroboration. Not only are those amendments dangerous, they have no logical or equitable basis. They incur untenable financial, emotional and societal costs, removed cardinal safeguards, and are causes of compensation claims.

By removing the need for corroboration, and the obligation for judges to warn juries, Government made amendments it knew to be dangerous to society, the justice system, and to the accused. The Minister of Justice has a clear duty to right this wrong.

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

To the Sunday Star-Times, 10 May 1998

Ms MacDonald (May 10) has waited in vain for public outrage over Rape Crisis "statistics" on incest, and commented that "society is as keen as incestuous families to push the evidence under the carpet." She experienced only silence.

Silence is a result of sheer boredom with Rape Crisis sophistry. Last year, they claimed 150,000 rapes occurred annually. This year, incest is rampant. Nor will we forgive Rape Crisis for the Nick Wills affair, or its many other abuses.

Hamilton Police dismissed the report as misleading and causing undue public concern, noting that last year, just one case of incest was reported, not the 59 claimed by Rape Crisis. The report presented no "evidence" of any sort, because it is based on exaggerated fiction, distorted definitions, and fatally flawed methodology. Simply put, it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.

Public outrage has been rightly directed at Rape Crisis for having the gall to present such absurd figures. That the Ministers of Youth Affairs and Social Welfare supported this scaremongering campaign is a disgrace, and expenditure of taxpayer funds on it is inexcusable.

G. Waugh, Auckland

To the Western Leader, 11 May 1998

As a member of Casualties Of Sexual Allegations Inc (COSA), I have seen many cases where CYPS has mis-used its power to inflict institutionalised abuse on children they are supposed to protect. Here is a recent one.

A young family split up. A custody dispute over a four year old girl ensued. The mother met a new partner. Her ex-husband became jealous, and sought custody of the child. The girl and a little boy were found one day exploring each other’s anatomy, as kids often do. The ex-husband alleged the new partner must have sexually abused the little girl.

Enter CYPS (Henderson). A Family Court judge noted adamant denials of abuse from the mother and the little girl, and acknowledged the allegations might be malicious.

CYPS interviewed the child twice. A psychologist brow-beat her when she would not admit to having been abused. The child is now very frightened of CYPS. But CYPS will not to be deterred. An order making the child a ward of the State followed. They wrenched the child from her mother and placed her in foster care. CYPS is determined to interrogate this four year old until she confesses.

Sound familiar? It is the sickly sound of unbridled power, wielded by CYPS without one jot of evidence. CYPS has damaged this child, and many others. There is a better way. It has the unusual name of "common sense".

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

To the Herald, 11 May 1998

Ministerial support for last week’s Rape Crisis incest campaign is shameful, unconscionable and inappropriate. I understand it was given taxpayer funding.

Supported by CYPS, and opened by Ms Morris, that campaign was Rape Crisis scaremongering at its worst, based on fictitious. exaggerated "statistics", and distorted definitions. Hamilton Police commented it had just one reported case of incest last year, not the 59 claimed by Rape Crisis, and dismissed those claims as misleading to the public and causing undue public concern.

The Crimes Act definition of incest is crystal clear. But Rape Crisis spokesman Ceridwyn Roberts reckons "feminist thought and bicultural commitment also contributed to the definition of incest. We go by our clients’ definitions…….." That is breathtaking sophistry and arrogance.

The Ministers of Youth Affairs and Social Welfare must now explain why they supported this absurd campaign, and quantify and justify the expenditure of public resources on such arrant nonsense.

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

To the North Shore Times Advertiser, 15 May 1998

Barbara Thompson, the new Takapuna CYPFS Manager, needs to be reminded that she is paid by the taxpayer to competently perform her duties, not disseminate Rape Crisis baloney.

Her comments (May 14) that "Shore [sexual abuse] statistics reflect the national statistics, which have had widespread publicity with the launch of rape awareness week" are uninformed and inexcusable.

She should know that Rape Crisis figures have been thoroughly discredited as exaggerated, inflammatory rubbish, not worth the paper on which they are written.

Rape Crisis’ fatally flawed report presented no verification of self-reported events, took no account of bias errors (eg recall, selection, information, response, or observer), used inconsistent questions, gathered incomplete data, employed distorted definitions and made wild assumptions.

Hamilton police said the incest figures were wrong, misleading and caused undue public concern. Hamilton had just one reported incest case last year, not the 59 claimed by Rape Crisis. Ms Thompson’s comments deserve the same blunt criticism.

We don’t pay CYPFS Managers to mislead the public, or wallow in silly Rape Crisis twaddle. CYPFS would achieve more, and perhaps begin to regain public confidence and credibility, by just using common sense.

Gordon Waugh, Whenuapai

To the Herald, 19 May 1998

A report (Herald, May 18) advised that Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care (DSAC) was begging female doctors to become members. No surprise there !

Since about 1989, DSAC has claimed special expertise in sexual abuse matters, and has imported the most outlandish unscientific nonsense on this topic. Its visiting speakers are avid proponents of such esoteric wonders as repressed memories, multiple personality disorder, satanic ritual abuse, the child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome, and others. Such theories have been thoroughly discredited by impeccable research. Its seminars and workshops are a professional disgrace.

DSAC’s ideological motives set its members apart from mainstream medical practice. It has wrongly been allowed to influence police policy and practice, as evidenced by the 1998 Adult Sexual Assault Investigation procedures and the joint Police/CYPFS protocol.

Its members give evidence at trials, but it is often biased and scientifically untenable. Their evidence goes largely unchallenged because we traditionally hold doctors in the highest regard. For social engineering motives, DSAC has irresponsibly eroded that confidence. Other doctors, and the Medical Council, must now step in and stop the rot.

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

To the Herald, 20 May 1998

Joyce Gibson’s letter of May 14, and mine of Apr 28, commented on Evidence Act matters. David Shapcott (May 6 and May 20) has wrongly assumed we wrote about rape statistics. His pointless argument about percentages has drawn a school of red herrings across the path of serious commentary.

What matters is that a climate has been created in which men are at significant risk from false allegations of sexual abuse. This has been fostered by deliberate dissemination of false and misleading information by ideologically motivated groups.

The dangerous effects have infiltrated the Evidence Act, the Police, Family Court, CYPFS and ACC procedures, and into schools and the wider community.

For the record, recent Ministry of Justice figures show prosecutions have almost doubled, but conviction rates have fallen. Many more complaints therefore lack substance. Mr Shapcott should ask the more than 60,000 men accused in ACC claims, and those acquitted by Courts, to advise him on the element of risk from false allegations.

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

To the Herald, 20 May 1998

Joyce Gibson’s letter of May 14, and mine of Apr 28, commented on Evidence Act matters. David Shapcott (May 6 and May 20) has wrongly assumed we wrote about rape statistics. His pointless argument about percentages has drawn a school of red herrings across the path of serious commentary.

What matters is that a climate has been created in which men are at significant risk from false allegations of sexual abuse. This has been fostered by deliberate dissemination of false and misleading information by ideologically motivated groups.

The dangerous effects have infiltrated the Evidence Act, the Police, Family Court, CYPFS and ACC procedures, and into schools and the wider community.

For the record, recent Ministry of Justice figures show prosecutions have almost doubled, but conviction rates have fallen. Many more complaints therefore lack substance. Mr Shapcott should ask the more than 60,000 men accused in ACC claims, and those acquitted by Courts, to advise him on the element of risk from false allegations.

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

To the Herald, 25 May 1998

Whatever credibility Rape Crisis may have had evaporated with comments (May 25) about incest by its spokesperson, Ceridwyn Roberts. Her definition of incest is stunningly obtuse. By forsaking honesty, integrity and common sense, Rape Crisis has fallen on its own sword, with fatal consequences.

Reliable incest prevalence data was obtained from the Christchurch Health and Development Study which followed a birth cohort of over 1200 young people since 1977. The study found a 3% rate (31 cases) of incest. Offenders in these cases had been the natural parent in 6.5% ( 2 cases), the step-parent in 22.5% (7 cases), a sibling in 29% (9 cases) and another relative (eg a cousin) in 41% (13 cases). In a typical year, there are about 3 prosecutions and 2 convictions for incest.

The vast majority of natural fathers simply do not sexually abuse their children.

I suspect the tip of the iceberg, to which Rape Crisis alluded, is actually its own foot, jammed firmly in its mouth.

G. Waugh


To the Wanganui Chronicle, 5 June 1998

Margot London’s comments about false allegations of sexual abuse (May 29) are uninformed and ill-judged. Let’s put the record straight.

COSA was formed in 1994 in response to false allegations created by the misguided, unscientific theories, and unethical and unsafe practices, used by many counsellors. Exposure to these methods caused hundreds of adult daughters to "recover" memories of incest, rape, indecent assault, satanic ritual abuse, and other atrocities, allegedly committed by their fathers.

In a letter to me, Ms London admitted she is not qualified to assess the scientific validity of the theories of recovered memories, satanic ritual abuse, multiple personality disorder etc. She claims they are not belief systems, and "workers need to be familiar with them in order to work effectively and knowledgeably."

The Royal College of Psychiatrists, American Medical Association, Canadian Psychiatric Association, criminal and Appellate Courts and many others, have debunked these silly theories. There isn’t a single corroborated case of "repressed memory" anywhere in the world.

The retrospective studies she relies on used flawed methodology to draw wrong conclusions. The "professionally developed Rape Crisis statistics programme" she flaunts has been thoroughly discredited as exaggerated, inflammatory rubbish.

Impeccable contemporary prospectivestudies, here and overseas, give reliable views of the prevalence and incidence of sexual abuse. The hysterical belief that one in four girls will be sexually abused is nonsense. Irrefutable proof of false allegations reside in COSA files. But Ms London and her sisters are deaf to those messages because their ideology, income and credibility are at stake.

Gordon Waugh, Auckland

To Metro Magazine, 7 September 1998

Rape Crisis and the Help Foundation should not attribute their financial crises solely to government health agencies and private trusts, as implied in "The Second Rape" (Metro, Sep 98).

Rape Crisis credibility finally evaporated with the sheer effrontery of the figures, definitions and comments backing its incest campaign. It got $30,000 from the Minister of Social Welfare to promote that orgy of misinformation.

The Help Foundation also bears responsibility. It claims to have 60 clients per week at its Mt Eden centre alone (3,120 annually). Dozens of other sexual abuse agencies claim thousands more clients. But in 1997, there were just 1,328 prosecutions in all categories of sexual crime.

These agencies claim special expertise in sexual abuse matters. Their trauma-focused, victim-role counselling rests on a belief that recovery is a long, slow process, which only they as "specialists" can provide. Their methodologies have been challenged and found wanting.

Any relationship between their counselling and beneficial outcome is at best tenuous. Preferred interventions are those which are brief, solution-orientated and professionally administered, proved by controlled studies to be safe and effective. Medication is often an invaluable adjunct to treatment.

Funds providers and the public are now awake to the gross exaggerations and fatal limitations of these inefficient, ineffectual and advocacy-driven sexual abuse agencies. Much would be gained by having genuine victims treated in mainstream medical facilities by skilled professionals.

Gordon Waugh, Auckland

To the Herald, 7 September 1998

The International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) meeting, presently being held in the Aotea Centre, is already bombarding us with horror stories of abuse.

American social work "expert", Kee McFarlane, has a long history of making bizarre claims and using dubious practices in sexual abuse investigations. The article about her views (Sep 7) reiterates some. The accompanying Court photograph is ghastly misinformation. When do child molesters appear before seven Judges? Which court is depicted?

Comments such as "Most child molesters never see the inside of a courtroom", and "Unlucky social workers are portrayed as being malicious low-life professionals out to destroy people’s lives" expose her true agenda.

While the aims of this Congress may well be admirable, and the speakers sincere, not all proffer facts or truth. Much of this Congress is an advocacy-driven exercise in pseudo-science, designed to influence policy-makers and make even more extensive raids on taxpayer funds.

Open debate, and balanced, objective, commonsense analysis of ISPCAN outpourings, must be applied before any more policy or practice changes are made to the investigation, detection and treatment of sexual abuse cases.

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

To the Herald, 8 September 1998

As an example of predictable nonsense from so-called child sexual abuse "experts" at the ISPCAN conference, Jacquelyn Jay commented on how a child’s artwork can indicate sexual abuse (8 Sep). It seems there are endless ways in which sexual abuse can be detected.

She claims "many" children found it impossible to talk about traumatic abuse. "They just don’t have the language." We therefore need specialists to interpret drawings, and thus convict men of sexual abuse.

Now that is exactly the same form of transparent excuse the experts gave for using anatomically correct dolls with pre-verbal children, a practice which has been thoroughly and deservedly discredited. These esoteric fantasies extend also to dream interpretation, body memories, the magic of EMDR, and guided imagery, to name a few.

What will the future hold? A grumpy child makes deliberately silly drawings. Teacher suspects abuse. The expert interprets. Some poor soul is charged and convicted.

Let’s get real ! Where is the evidence of a causal link between sexual abuse and bad drawings?

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

To the Herald, 9 September 1998

Professor Jon Briere, one of the foremost proponents of "Repressed Memories", has finally seen the light.

In his astonishing, courageous, and very welcome turn-around, Prof Briere, speaking at the Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) conference, (Herald, Sept 9), told a pin-drop-quiet audience "The idea was to liposuction people’s memories out of their brains. It was a bad idea, bad therapy, and I don’t recommend it."

He further commented that over-enthusiastic therapists thought it was vital, possibly because of "ideological errors", for clients to remember everything. Misguided efforts to recover long-buried memories can be seriously damaging. False memories, and therefore false allegations of sexual abuse, result from these methods. We have certainly had more than our fair share of them.

Prof Briere’s new outlook, together with the recent reports from the Royal College of Psychiatrists and other similar bodies, might at last persuade counsellors to cease their unsafe, unproven and unscientific practices, and prompt ACC to demand real evidence of sexual abuse.

Thank you, congratulations, and welcome back to the real world, Professor !

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

To the Herald, 10 September 1998

Tau Henare’s comment to the Child Abuse and Neglect conference (Sept 10) that there was no child abuse before Pakeha came to New Zealand needs close examination.

According to Canadian abuse expert, Jacquelyn Jay, analysis of artwork can prove the existence of sexual abuse. Her examination of Maori art, with its emphasis on genitalia, would quickly show a history of abuse.

Norwegian experts Marit Hellesnes and Marianne Lind told the conference that "Boys sexually abusing their sisters is one of the most serious forms of child sexual abuse", and that "families and professionals in most countries, including New Zealand, sweep the problem under the carpet."

Maori families had boys and girls. If the Norwegian experts are correct, maori boys were likely to molest their sisters.

These suspicions must be reported to CYPS. Its expert social workers, armed with expert knowledge passed on by Lucy Berliner and Kee McFarlane, can interrogate Mr Henare’s ancestors. Evidence of negative feelings, low self-esteem, or depression will confirm sexual abuse occurred.

Delayed inquires are "traumatic", so hasten to counselling, Tau.

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

To the Herald, 11 September 1998

Your editorial "Abuse everyone’s business" (Sep 11) raises important questions about solving endemic abuse problems. You ask "What usefully can be done?" I respond "Much".

Establish a sensible, unambiguous definition of abuse. Enshrine it in law and practice. Define, by acceptable methodology and scientific study, who in the community performs abusive acts, be they male or female, and educate them. Re-introduce male teachers and role models.

Stop pouring taxpayer, lottery and private funds into incompetent ideological functions like Rape Crisis, Auckland Help Foundation and Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care. Pour the same or more money into useful, practical avenues akin to former Plunket and District Nurses services, to assist young mothers and children.

Require Ministers of Social Welfare, Health, Education, ACC, and Police, to ensure all counsellors and social workers are correctly trained, examined, licensed, accountable and disciplined. Ensure allegations of abuse are objectively and correctly investigated by experienced people. Impose severe penalties on those who make false allegations of abuse.

Repeal Ministries of Women’s Affairs, Youth Affairs and various Commissioners. Form a Ministry of Family Affairs, encompassing all families, men, women and children. Media assistance in achieving these aims would be appreciated.

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

To the Herald, 15 September 1998

John Briere’s article (Sep 15) explains "recovered memories" as recall of memories deliberately pushed aside, or merely forgotten in the course of life. He says some people "may not even let themselves remember that it [childhood abuse] happened in the first place."

Proponents of "repressed/recovered memories" claim the normal response for sexually abused children is to robustly banish all knowledge of abuse from their conscious minds. As adults, they recall it in pristine condition years or decades later, through appropriate therapy, which only true believers in "repression" can provide. That is the cornerstone of the Sex Abuse Industry.

Briere, earlier a champion of robust repression, now attempts to explain it away as ordinary forgetting. Everyone forgets ordinary things. Few ever forget horrible sexual abuse.

Evidence of a mechanism for robust repression does not exist. The repressed memory fad expired. Faced with those facts, Briere chose to manufacture a new explanation. His "impression that most people’s reports of recovered memories reflect their actual recollections of childhood abuse" is transparent and inept. His opinion that "false memories of child abuse are quite uncommon" is nonsense.

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

To The Listener, 6 October 1998

As a member of Casualties of Sexual Allegations Inc, (COSA) I take issue with the petty, emotive and cowardly attack made by Seymour, Read, Lambie and Davies (Oct 10) on one of the three authors of current research about "recovered memories" and false allegations of sexual abuse. It is time for some plain and blunt words.

Read and Seymour particularly, are avid believers in the nonsense of "repressed memories" of sexual abuse. Now they say "The vast majority of abuse victims remember their abuse from the time of its occurrence." Memory liposuction by "therapists" has caused thousands of parents to be falsely accused by adult daughters of committing childhood incest, rape, indecent assaults, and ritualistic abuse.

How dare these petty critics presume that we falsely accused parents have no evidence of innocence. They ignore the absolute need to discover whether the abuse claimed actually took place. While this may be difficult, there is no substitute for the truth.

Police and the Courts record many cases of false allegations. COSA has many hundreds of them on file. Newspaper regularly report them. Some result from "recovered memories". Others occur in custody disputes, in claims of rape, for mistaken or vindictive reasons, and for extortion.Some false accusers confess, others recant and some are convicted.

The failure of these inept know-it-alls to acknowledge or review the mass of credible data on false allegations of sexual abuse is professionally inexcusable. Their criticisms are irresponsible, incompetent and wrong.

Gordon Waugh, Auckland

To the Sunday Star-Times, 26 October 1998

Congratulations for your courage and sense of fair play in making public the facts behind David Dougherty’s case (Star-Times Oct 25). All that evidence was available at trial, but not used because the prosecution had a mind-set.

Section 23AB of the Evidence Act does not demand corroboration, and Police policy is to believe every complainant. These systemic faults combine to encourage complaints. They create a presumption of guilt and sabotage thorough, neutral and objective investigation techniques. Dougherty was presumed guilty merely because an 11-year-old girl pointed the finger.

Five Gisborne policemen suffered the effects of a similar mind-set. They were acquitted. Police Commissioner Peter Doone said they had been exonerated by their acquittal. Police funds paid their legal costs, and compensation is being considered. Dougherty and many other innocent men have been acquitted, but not exonerated or compensated. They pay their own legal fees.

When the power of the State has been used to prosecute the innocent, compensation should be complete, automatic and applied without delay.

Justice Minister Graham has lost touch with society and reality. He would serve the country well by paying Dougherty, and others, compensation for State-inflicted damage. Continued refusal is unreasonable.

G. Waugh Auckland

To the Herald, 26 October 1998

Dougherty’s Dough

Justice Minister Graham and the Law Commission (Oct 26) appear so immersed in esoteric aspects of law interpretation they have seemingly forgotten that a main purpose of law is to protect citizens from the excesses and limitations of the State.

Innocence until proven guilty, with the burden of proof beyond reasonable doubt on the Crown, are fundamental principles. Acquittal therefore protects one’s status of innocence. When the power of the State has been used to prosecute or convict the innocent, compensation should be generous, automatic and immediate.

Of the five wrongly prosecuted Gisborne policemen, Commissioner Doone said their acquittal exonerated them. Police funds paid their legal fees. Compensation is likely. Dougherty and others are treated differently.

The Law Commission’s recent recommendations on compensation are miserly. They lean heavily towards protecting the State instead of innocent defendants. The 57% of rape prosecutions that acquit defendants underscore the extent of intrusive use of State power.

Mr Graham’s remaining time in office would be well spent amending the Evidence Act to demand corroborative evidence, ensuring police investigations are thorough, neutral and objective, and introducing sensible compensation. His continued refusal to compensate Dougherty is unreasonable.

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

To the North Harbour News, 2 November 1998

How refreshing it was to read your Editorial expressing concern about false allegations of rape and the article about Orewa police comments (News, Oct 30).

False allegations are made in rape cases, in child custody disputes, as vindictive retribution, for extortion, and as an excuse to cover a complainant’s behaviour. Some are made for genuinely-believed, but mistaken reasons.

Amendments to the Evidence Act and the Crimes Act, favourable to complainants, have made it easier to make allegations. The time-honoured need for corroborative evidence was removed. Despite these changes, 57% of recent rape trials acquit defendants, bringing into serious question the credibility of the evidence and the honesty of the complainants.

Many false allegations result from misguided, unscientific counselling. In very recent years, ACC has handled over 70,000 claims for alleged sexual abuse, but not all are genuine. These trials, and the many hundreds of other false allegations, are an enormous waste of police, public and private resources.

False allegations are intolerable, vicious and destructive weapons. Society should demand that Government re-enact the rule requiring corroborative evidence and that Courts impose prison terms equal to typical rape sentences on those who make them.

Gordon Waugh, Whenuapai

Footnote: Gordon Waugh is a foundation and executive member of Casualties Of Sexual Allegations (COSA), a nationwide organisation which offers help to individuals and families falsely accused of sexual abuse.

To the Herald, 13 December 1998

Friday Dec 11 was a shameful day in politics. As a trade-off to get the new ACC Bill passed under urgency, Hon Derek Quigley was allowed to make an ill-conceived last-minute amendment, permitting sexual abuse complainants to sue for damages.

Unacceptably, the amendment was based on the ill-considered and biased views of the Auckland Law Society’s Public Issues Committee. This amendment has far-reaching consequences. It deserved and demanded wide public debate before being enshrined in law.

Sexual abuse is an abhorrent crime which must be dealt with only by the criminal Courts. Recent public demands for vigorous prosecution, Evidence Act amendments and the imposition of severe penalties, were all met.

This shameful amendment has effectively "de-criminalised" sexual abuse and ignored existing provisions for reparation in criminal cases.Complainants can now opt for civil remedies, avoiding proof beyond reasonable doubt.

After much debate, we surrendered the right to sue for injury-related damages in favour of compensatory coverage under ACC legislation. Without public debate and due process, Parliament has breached that social contract, and to our profound detriment, established an iniquitous regime of double jeopardy.

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

To the Herald, 30 December 1998

Editor’s choice of Title: "Let’s flag that we’ve women in our Navy"

The Human Rights Commission decision on sexual harassment in the Navy took my breath away with its insight and sheer brilliance.

The commission should now require naval vessels to wear appropriate flags when females are on board. Notched red, letter B, "I am taking in, or discharging, or carrying dangerous goods."

All female navy personnel should wear two flags. Red and white squares, letter U, "You are running into danger". Blue cross on white background, letter X, "Stop carrying out your intentions and watch for my signals."

And the commission should follow suit. In combination, the diagonal white cross on blue background, letter M, "My vessel is stopped and making no way through the water." and vertical yellow and blue stripes, letter G, "I require a pilot."

G. Waugh, Whenuapai

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