COSA [North] Casualties Of Sexual Allegations News & Views November – December 1999 Vol 1 Issue 2
Contents of this page:
Editorial: A Royal Commission of Inquiry into Peter Ellis is the best way of opening this entire topic to public scrutiny. Its Terms of Reference should extend well beyond the Ellis case. They need to be sufficiently broad to examine the entire Sex Abuse Industry in NZ, which grew out of the same misconceptions, beliefs and methods that convicted Peter Ellis and which have become entrenched in the practice of counselling.
Australian False Memory Association Seminar in Melbourne September 1999. Colleen and I attended a Seminar and AGM held in Melbourne by the Australian False Memory Association in September. There were three main speakers – Mr Phillip Priest QC, Dr Andrew Gibbs (a neuropsychologist) and myself. My presentation was on the scene in New Zealand, how COSA came to be established, and the things we have done.
Beware the New Drug-Rape Craze! Two recent high-profile criminal cases of "drug-rape" have come to light.
More Rape Crisis Prattle! Rape Crisis cautioned against over-confidence in a reported decrease of 18% in sexual offending, saying many survivors never report to police.
Satan’s Place There’s nothing new about a patient suing a caregiver for professional negligence. But when the suit involves a Satanic cult, multiple-personality disorder and repressed memories, it starts to get interesting.
Creating Hysteria: Women and Multiple Personality Disorder – new book on MPD by Joan Acocella.
British False Memory Society Website
The "Little Rascals" Case abuse charges reportedly were dropped against the former operator of the Little Rascals day care center, ending one of the most notorious cases in North Carolina history.
MPD "Expert" Hands in his Licence Bennett Braun, MD has surrendered his licence for two years in a plea bargain with the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. Dr.Braun was accused of implanting memories of satanic ritual abuse.
Past COSA Members Many of our original members signed and returned consent forms indicating they would be interested in putting their names and cases forward, if and when a Royal Commission of Inquiry was set up.
COSA [North] Housekeeping Items
A Correction In my recent article "Clayton’s Diagnosis" I expressed surprise "that the NZ Medical Council, the NZ Medical Association and the Courts have not taken disciplinary action against practitioners who use these misleading statements and flawed conclusions." The NZ Medical Association wrote to me, explaining that "it is not the role of the Medical Association to take disciplinary action against medical practitioners.
Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Sex Abuse Industry.
Five judges of the Court of Appeal on Thursday 14 October 1999 unanimously rejected Peter Ellis’ second appeal. Their 51-page decision covered a wide range of issues and topics. Perhaps the most important comment they made was "There may be matters which are worthy of, and could properly be addressed by, a commission of enquiry, but the Court cannot undertake that kind of function under the guise of an appeal under the Crimes Act 1961."
Mrs Lesley Ellis delivered to Parliament a letter to the Minister of Justice and another to all other MP’s requesting that a Royal Commission of Inquiry be set up to investigate Peter’s case. Mrs Judith Ablett-Kerr, QC, has lodged a similar request with the Governor-General. Supporters of Peter Ellis are giving this matter their full weight. Our colleagues in COSA (South) are giving it full support. We must do the same.
The Ellis case is a copy of cases in the USA, Britain, Australia and Canada in which scores of people were charged with thousands of counts of mass sexual abuse of young children, mainly in Day Care Schools. A few of those were the Little Rascals, Wee Care, Fells Acre, McMartin, Orkney, Mr Bubbles, Wenatchee and so on. It was a transient, but tragic fad. In the farcical Wenatchee case, 46 people were charged with almost 29,000 alleged offences. Most of those convictions have since been overturned on appeal, [see the article on the Little Rascals case under "Overseas Items" – Ed]. Prosecution was based on witch-hunt hysteria and shoddy testimony created by misguided, unethical and ideologically-driven interviewing techniques. Remember "anatomically correct dolls"? They were used in the Ellis case too.
A Commission of Inquiry is the best way of opening this entire topic to public scrutiny. Its Terms of Reference should extend well beyond the Ellis case. They need to be sufficiently broad to examine the entire Sex Abuse Industry in NZ, which grew out of the same misconceptions, beliefs and methods that convicted Peter Ellis and which have become entrenched in the practice of counselling. [more on Peter Ellis here]
ACC has financially sustained the Sex Abuse Industry for the past decade. It handed out taxpayer dollars to alleged victims, and keeps counsellors in well-paid occupations. It gave money to the accusing families in the Ellis case, about $600,000 or so. Its methods, and those of its counsellors, must now be publicly scrutinised, along with many other related issues.
ACC legislation is couched in terms of "mental injuries resulting from criminal sexual offences." The Minister of ACC, Hon Murray McCully agrees that claimants (and by logical extension, counsellors) must provide genuine evidence of abuse. ACC does not seek such evidence but relies on a "balance of probability" method, based on information given by counsellors and self-reported events by claimants.
Statistics collected over a number of years show startling facts. Before counsellors adopted their unproven theories and beliefs about sexual abuse, [eg. "repressed memory"] ACC dealt with only a few hundred claims for compensation each year – 1988, 221 claims, 1989 (445), 1990 (667), 1991 (1,075) and in 1992 (2,173). Since then, tens of thousands of claims have been made which cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars. The total number of new claims from 1988 to the present day exceeds 76,000.
ACC is still receiving new claims at the rate of nearly 8,000 per year, about 168 each week! If it is true, as claimed by Rape Crisis and other such groups, that "most sexual abuse is never disclosed", the current rate of new ACC claims suggests that unimaginable numbers of sexual assaults are being committed every week. However, Police report a drop of 18% in recorded sexual crime over the past five years. A Commission needs to examine the credibility of the huge number of ACC claims and the associated expenditure of taxpayer funds. Some claims are undoubtedly genuine, but those made on the basis of "recovered memories" and similar constructs are not.
If the theories about "repressed memory" and its derivatives were true, where now are all the cases? Why haven’t we seen masses of incontrovertible, corroborated evidence to prove the theory? Why is the topic of "repressed memory" not heard these days? Many ACC compensation claims were based on this nonsense, but we have yet to see ACC reclaiming the unwarranted compensation payments. Nor have we seen counsellors actively involved in helping to reconcile the clients and families they so badly damaged.
According to ACC, most claims are accepted on the basis that there has been a "disclosure" of sexual abuse to an approved treatment provider [a counsellor] and a diagnosis, by that provider, of psychological consequences. But they also say there are no sets of psychological or behavioural symptoms that are specific to sexual abuse.
Prime Minster Jenny Shipley, when recently Minister of ACC, wrote the extraordinary comment that "Counsellors are registered professionals trained to identify and treat cases of sexual abuse." For the sound reason that there are no specific psychological consequences of sexual abuse, and in the absence of credible, external, corroborated evidence, counsellors cannot know whether a client was sexually abused. Rarely, if ever, do they undertake external investigation of clients’ allegations. They prefer to believe "disclosures" by their clients, no matter how they were created. The results are obvious and very expensive.
The rate at which ACC rejects claims for sexual abuse was said in 1992 to be 2%, about 16% by 1995, and has now more than doubled to 33%. From 1993, ACC has rejected over 20,000 claims, and say that most are rejected on the basis of a lack of information from the claimant. What the hard data indicates is that if ACC’s methods are reliable, claimants are initially making allegations but failing to seek compensation or treatment. One can only but speculate on the quality of those allegations.
Every claim for sexual abuse is an allegation of the most serious criminal offence in our society, but the vast majority of claims escape examination and testing by the courts. Expenditure of public funds needs much better justification than simply a "disclosure" to a counsellor and an "assessment of psychological consequences". The only justification is properly tested, credible evidence.
It is fundamental that an accused person has the right to know what the allegations are, who made them and to face his accuser. ACC and its counsellors work in secret, apparently claiming privilege under the Privacy Act. They and their clients have accused over 76,000 men, but an accused man is rarely told he has been identified in an ACC claim and must usually resort to using the Privacy Act to obtain information. An accused man has no statutory right under ACC legislation to challenge the allegations, the claimant, or the counsellor.
By providing compensation and treatment, ACC is agreeing that sexual abuse has occurred. Accused men must be given an absolute right to be told of the allegations and to challenge these attacks on their integrity. A commission must examine these systemic flaws.
The Government changed the Evidence Act 1908 in 1985, and made it much more dangerous, by removing the time-honoured need for corroboration and the mandatory judge’s warning on the dangers of convicting on uncorroborated evidence. Sexual abuse is the most abhorrent crime in our society and carries heavy penalties. A fact of life is that if people are willing to make allegations, they must also be willing to corroborate them. Many men have been convicted on the uncorroborated testimony of children and on the testimony of adult women exposed to "counselling". A Commission must also examine these issues.
The comments above do not include allegations made outside of the ACC process. Anecdotally, there are of thousands of them, made with the help of a wide range of so-called "counsellors". Anyone can hang out their shingle and do "counselling". Many of them are no better than purveyors of snake-oil. A hypnotist told a client that the reason she smoked was that her father had sexually abused her! If "counselling" is a "profession", it must be publicly regulated and its practitioners made fully accountable.
It is high time Parliament and the public had an honest appraisal of this entire matter. By way of a Royal Commission of Inquiry, Parliament must undertake the task of revising the many unsatisfactory aspects of the "Sex Abuse Industry." A commission’s Terms of Reference need to be wide-ranging and include at a minimum the following aspects of this destructive process:
a. Ensuring that training course content and the practice of sex abuse counselling are open and subjected to public and professional scrutiny,
b. Regulating all forms of counselling by requiring counsellors to qualify for, register and operate under, a revokable Licence to Practice, and meet the associated legal and professional standards and accountabilities,
c. Establishing an inalienable right for counselling notes to be discovered and produced as Defence evidence in criminal and civil trials,
d. Scrutiny of psychological and counselling practices and services, their roles in decision-making and as "expert witnesses" in sexual cases, particularly in relation to interpretation of a complainant’s behaviour, mental injury and treatment,
e. Enshrining an absolute right for a person accused and/or identified in any ACC sexual abuse claim to be advised of the allegations, to challenge them, and to appeal the findings of ACC and its counsellors,
f. Fix a requirement upon ACC to use an "evidential" base not a "disclosure and opinion" base for its decisions and to provide treatment only through established mental health and medical services,
g. Examine issues of criminal fraud in cases where no tangible or credible evidence of abuse has been advanced, with subsequent recovery of compensation and counselling fees where evidence exists that payments were not warranted,
h. Review criminal trials (including of course the Peter Ellis case) in which men have been convicted on the uncorroborated evidence of children, or of adults who have been exposed to counselling,
i. Review Police investigatory processes and court procedures in sexual cases,
j. For social policy purposes, review the impact of these matters on the alleged victim and the accused person and his family,
k. Establish a five-year statute of limitation on historical claims of sexual abuse,
l. Re-introduce the need for corroboration, and the Judge’s warning, in sexual cases,
m. Provide full and automatic payment of compensation and costs in cases where a man has been acquitted of, or wrongly convicted of, sexual crimes, and
n. Establish a fully-funded public process of reconciliation between the children and families damaged by false allegations created by counselling, that is, a form of South Africa’s "Truth & Reconciliation Commission."
I ask everyone who reads this Editorial to write to their MP and to all General Election candidates, supporting the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry with Terms of Reference encompassing the above criteria. Feel free to use any or all of the above information, adding your own views, of course.
Confucius reportedly said "Footprints in the sand are not made by those who SIT."
Here is some background. Here are the reasons.
Write your letter now!
Australian False Memory Association Seminar in Melbourne, September 1999.
Photo: Gordon and Colleen Waugh at the Australian False Memory Association Seminar in Melbourne, September 1999 with AFMA President Mike Cox (centre).
Colleen and I attended a Seminar and AGM held in Melbourne by the Australian False Memory Association in September. There were three main speakers – Mr Phillip Priest QC, Dr Andrew Gibbs (a neuropsychologist) and myself. My presentation was on the scene in New Zealand, how COSA came to be established, and the things we have done. [Gordon’s presentation here] Although they are too long to print here, transcripts of the three presentations are available.
The most informative part of the Seminar was the stories of two very brave women. They had been through the counselling process and had returned to their families after years of torture at the hands of so-called "counsellors". One had been diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder – the counsellor claimed to have identified about 100 different "personalities". This woman realised, after having a break from counselling, that she had never been sexually abused. She retracted all her allegations and is now back with her family – and only has one personality.
The second woman had an eating disorder and the counsellor dealing with her convinced her she must have been sexually abused. She laid charges against her father. Fortunately, he was acquitted. She is now back with her Dad. Together they are suing the counsellor.
We made good contacts and set up firm relationships with our Aussie colleagues. We shared our knowledge of COSA with them, and made suggestions which might help in their fight. Our hosts were most hospitable and welcoming. Needless to say we spent many long hours talking about "The Subject" to find, again, that the circumstances surrounding our cases were similar, only the names were different.
Beware the New Drug-Rape Craze!
Two recent high-profile criminal cases of "drug-rape" have come to light.
In one case, in which a man had been charged with drugging and raping a woman, (Herald, 25 Sept 99), Crown prosecutor Jonathan Krebs said the symptoms described by the woman indicated that her drink had been laced with Rohypnol, a powerful sedative.
But evidence given by the defendant’s flatmate said the woman slept on the man’s couch during the night. Further evidence from the woman’s three flatmates said she was her normal, happy, chirpy self when she was dropped home that morning.
Judge Bill Unwin dropped the drugging charge after hearing evidence at a depositions hearing in the Auckland District Court. He said there was not enough evidence to commit the case to trial.
The second case (Herald, 16 October 1999), turned out to be an embarrassment to the prosecution. Two men had been charged with stupefying a woman then raping her. They were initially accused of spiking the woman’s drink with the drug cyclizine as part of sexual thrill-seeking. During the trial, the Crown acknowledged that the drug had been administered by hospital staff during later treatment. The stupefying charges were dismissed, but they were still found guilty of the rape charges.
Defence lawyers Barry Hart and Kevin McDonald said during the trial that after falling naked down a steep flight of stairs, the woman decided to make up the rape allegation to explain away her injuries to her husband of five months. After the verdict, both lawyers said they expect their clients to appeal.
More Rape Crisis Prattle!
(They used to claim only ten percent of rapes were ever reported. Now it’s "one third of their clients.")
Rape Crisis cautioned against over-confidence in a reported decrease of 18% in sexual offending, saying many survivors never report to police. Police Commissioner Peter Doone reported that recorded sexual offending had reduced by more than 18% over the last 5 years.
"Only a third of Rape Crisis clients report their attacks to police – on average it takes a woman over 13 years to come forward," said Claire Benson, National Spokeswoman for Rape Crisis, "We believe the actual figures for sexual offending are higher than either we or the police are ever likely to know." (Press Release from Rape Crisis 12 Oct 99)
(Rape Crisis beliefs and numbers are based mainly on self-reported, uncorroborated events, and are often fatally flawed. The statement "We believe the actual figures for sexual offending are higher than either we or the police are ever likely to know" is patently a silly one! – Ed.)
by Philip Drawdy, Portland, Oregon.
"There’s nothing new about a patient suing a caregiver for professional negligence. But when the suit involves a Satanic cult, multiple-personality disorder and repressed memories, it starts to get interesting. And that is the world of psychotherapy that Joy Drawdy found herself in from 1996 to 1997.
On Aug. 9, Drawdy settled a lawsuit she had filed against Faith Brightwater for an undisclosed sum. Drawdy says she felt ‘depressed’ shortly after moving to Portland in 1996 and cracked open the yellow pages in search of a therapist. She found Brightwater (a.k.a. Melanie Cline, a.k.a. Melanie O’Banion) who struck Drawdy as having a ‘nurturing voice.’
Over the next year, the therapist roped Drawdy into believing that she had undergone abuse as a youngster, that Brightwater was her biological mother and that they were ‘both past members and victims of the Satanic Cult.’
Drawdy also came to believe that she and Brightwater were both in constant danger from the cult. ‘I was so wrapped up in believing and experiencing the therapy, that I believed her,’ Drawdy says.
That belief led Drawdy to consider leaping from a downtown bridge. …"
(Willamette Week, Vol. 25, Issue 11, Portland, Oregon, August 11, 1999.)
Creating Hysteria: Women and Multiple Personality Disorder.
by Acocella, Joan
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1999.
The following is a footnote about therapist David Calof in Joan Acocella’s new book on MPD:
Page 172. Footnotes for Chapter 9. Footnote 11.
"One MPD-treater, David Calof, recommends that his patients ‘cut off’ from their families but not confront them, not tell them why. The reason for this is that the family is likely to make the patient doubt her abuse memories. ‘You can’t fight the family hypnosis,’ Calof says. He related the cautionary tale of a patient who, having been in therapy with him for five or six years, was ‘finally beginning to accept the reality of the horrendous, torturous child abuse she had endured’ from her parents. She now told him that she wanted to confront her parents. He tried to dissuade her; she did it anyway, and came back to Calof protesting that the abuse memories were untrue: ‘She said, "Why do you keep talking to me about stuff like that? My parents are wonderful, they could never have hurt me like that." Calof reports that it took him months to get her ‘back on track’ – that is, back to believing that her parents had abused her. ‘Worse,’ he adds, ‘the alters who knew the truth were so enraged at her, they started cutting on her regularly for several weeks’ (Calof, Multiple Personality and Dissociation, pp. 55-56)."
British False Memory Society Website
We are delighted to announce that the British False Memory Society has a new Website. We invite you to browse around the site at www.bfms.org.uk
As the site will be continually developed we would welcome any comments or criticisms and would particularly welcome any material or related links which would improve the quality of the site. Any candidates for our Therapist of the Month page would also be gratefully received.
Madeline Greenhalgh Director BFMS Bradford on Avon Wiltshire BA15 1NF
The "Little Rascals" Case: Charges Dismissed in Day Care Case
EDENTON, N.C. (AP) – Sex abuse charges reportedly were dropped against the former operator of the Little Rascals day care center, ending one of the most notorious cases in North Carolina history.
Robert F. Kelly Jr., 51, had once been sentenced to 12 consecutive life terms on 1992 sexual abuse convictions involving 29 children at the center. The convictions were later overturned and the charges were dismissed.
Kelly, who owned the day care center, was charged along with six others in 1989 with molesting 29 children attending the center. Kelly was convicted in 1992. Kathryn Dawn Wilson, the center’s cook, was found guilty the next year. Both convictions were overturned on appeal.
Prosecutors in 1996 dropped charges against three women who never were tried. Two other defendants, including Kelly’s ex-wife and day care co-owner, Elizabeth, pleaded no contest to sexual abuse charges.
Children testified at Kelly’s trial that they were forced to have sex with adults and each other at the day care center and other places. The children also told tales of spaceships and trained sharks. The defence argued that the children were coached into telling stories that fit their parents’ fears.
Kelly was convicted after a trial that lasted nine months and about $1 million – the longest and most expensive in state history. Kelly has maintained that he is innocent.
(Sounds just like the Peter Ellis case! – Ed)
MPD "Expert" Hands in his Licence
Bennett Braun, MD has surrendered his licence for two years in a plea bargain with the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. Dr.Braun was accused of implanting memories of satanic ritual abuse in former patient, Patricia Burgus. The plea agreement also includes a 5-year probation should Braun decide to return to practice. The plea agreement also states that the original complaint against Dr. Braun will follow him for the rest of his life.
The complaint can be found on the FMSF web site: www.FMSFonline.org
The trial of the State of Illinois Department of Professional Regulation v Bennett Braun, M.D. was scheduled to begin in early November.
(Courtesy of the FMSF)
Past COSA Members
This issue of our News & Views is being sent to as many of our past members and subscribers as possible. Many of our original members signed and returned consent forms indicating they would be interested in putting their names and cases forward, if and when a Royal Commission of Inquiry was set up. The Appeal Court has suggested that one should be convened to examine the Creche Case and Judith Ablett-Kerr, QC has lodged an application with the Govenor-General.
A window of opportunity exists and we all must assist Peter Ellis and his counsel to make this Royal Commission of Inquiry possible, to put right the wrongs that have happened in New Zealand, commencing with the Ellis case.
The cost of printing and distributing this issue will be more than our budget normally permits, but we consider this topic to be too important to allow financial constraints to prevent a concerted effort to make this Inquiry happen. If you are able to afford a donation to COSA (North) to help offset extra costs, it will certainly be most appreciated.
Colleen Waugh Secretary.
Support Group Meetings: COSA (North) support group meetings are held every 2nd Monday of each month at the Northcote Onipoto Community Rooms, Pearn Cresecent (at the rear of the Northcote shopping centre) beginning at 7.30pm. Besides the new enquiries we receive, we would be glad to meet members past and present, to meet and talk again. Everyone interested is most welcome. Tea and biscuits are served.
Remember that we have our colleagues in the South Island.
COSA [North] Housekeeping Items
Regional Contacts: Are you promoting our leaflet distribution to CAB’s, doctors surgeries, Courthouses etc? Do you need more leaflets? Please let me know and also drop me a line or call me to keep in contact.
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Newsletters: USA, UK & Australia
We get copies of newsletters from America (the FMSF), from the UK (the BFMS) and from Australia. They are usually almost 20 pages and contain much useful and interesting information. While we would like to send you copies for free, we can’t afford that. But you can buy them from us as an "extra", at a nominal printing and postage cost of $3.00 each. Let me know if you are interested.
Contributions to Newsletter: The next issue of our newsletter is scheduled for January/February 2000. We would very much like to have articles, Letters to the Editor and other material from you to publish in our Newsletter. All contributions gratefully received.
If you have a computer with E-mail, and want to receive the Newsletter electronically, let me know. Gordon also routinely (almost daily) distributes overseas news items to members and interested parties in NZ and Australia.
In my article "Clayton’s Diagnosis" in the Sep/Oct 99 Issue, I expressed surprise "that the NZ Medical Council, the NZ Medical Association and the Courts have not taken disciplinary action against practitioners who use these misleading statements and flawed conclusions."
The NZ Medical Association wrote to me, explaining that "it is not the role of the Medical Association to take disciplinary action against medical practitioners. Any person can lay a complaint about the conduct of a doctor, either with the NZ Medical Council, or if they feel their rights as a patient have been breached, with the Health and Disability Commissioner. The Medical Practitioners’ Disciplinary Tribunal hears evidence about complaints and can take disciplinary action."
I thank the NZ Medical Association for providing this information and correcting this details for us.
However, my "surprise" was not only directed at the Medical Association, but included the NZ Medical Council and the Courts.
Medical reports of the nature I mentioned are often used by the prosecution in criminal sexual trials. In the absence of positive supporting evidence, the conclusions I illustrated, drawn by DSAC doctors as to whether abuse occurred or not, are conjecture and biased opinion. In my opinion, DSAC doctors who give such evidence under Oath are indeed misleading Courts and juries, and failing to meet accepted standards of professional and public responsibility. Defence lawyers need to be aware that they are entitled to challenge such badly flawed conclusions and should do so at every opportunity.
I really am surprised that members of the public need to make formal complaints to get action taken to correct an obvious misapplication of professional standards. The cure lies in the hands of those appointed to stewardship of the medical profession. There is nothing wrong in being pro-active.
Editor – Gordon Waugh
Opinions expressed in this newsletter are the responsibility of the individual writer and are not necessarily endorsed by COSA [North].