1st March 2016
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
With regard to protecting Children against abuse, the Catholic Church – which includes Cardinal Pell – runs a school administration system within Australia that appears to have been set up to fail.
Strong words, I know, but please understand that I speak from first-hand experience as a recognised Australian Child Abuse Whistleblower, complete with documented information and evidence to support my comments.
This article is written with the express purpose of supporting the Ballarat Victims who are currently in Rome. This article is written with a heartfelt need to clearly evince how the Catholic Church reacts to reports of Child Abuse. In the instances cited within this article, Cardinal Pell plays a pivotal role.
Cardinal Pell, as the Archbishop of Sydney, represents the Roman Catholic Church and is an integral part of the school administration system in Australia. The school administration system is comprised of a Catholic Schools Office (CSO) located within various regions, with specific boundaries and is a body unto itself. Each region appears to be carefully guarded by an appointed Bishop. During my journey as an Australian Child Abuse Whistleblower I discovered that there appears to be no administration office in place to monitor the actions of each regional CSO office or the appointed Bishop or the Archbishop.
Has this Catholic Church educational administration system occurred by accident or by design? Given the systemic abuses of our Children from within the Catholic Church – that are now finally coming to light – it is a question that needs to be asked. It is timely to view the decision of Cardinal Pell to not return from the Vatican to Australia, to sit before the current Australian Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses To Child Sexual Abuse, as highly questionable at least and highly circumspect as most.
The question that needs to be asked is; Why did Cardinal Pell decide not to return to Australia and face the Royal Commission on Australian soil? Is it really due to health issues or is there an underlying non-health related issue?
Blowing the Whistle
I had some sense of what I was taking on immediately after making the first of two Mandatory Reports but no real knowledge of what would transpire. There is nothing that could have personally prepared me for receiving information directly related to those Mandatory Reports, one of which spanned at least thirty five years. Despite the fact I was adhering to my professional training which is also steeped in the legislative application of Duty of Care, I would soon learn that I was afforded no real support. It is interesting to note that legally, had I not made the Mandatory Reports and it was later detected that I knew of information pertaining to the making of a Mandatory Report and did not act – I would be liable to huge fines and/or a custodial sentence.
With no professional agencies willing to assist me, I chose to share my Child Abuse Whistleblower journey with the public. I want to be very clear that it was an absolute last option to become public. In Australia there is no Child Abuse Whistleblower legislation and as such, I have committed no criminal offence by sharing any component of my current and continuing journey. I publicly declared my lawful Rights and Freedoms, as an invocation of legal protection via the Child Abuse Whistleblowers Community page on Facebook. My lawful declaration in in place for all information and evidence I share with the public however I move forward very carefully. I intend for my journey to assist others and to pave the way for change – for proper reform – to ensure that All Children are protected and have a voice albeit a voice via a Mandatory Reporter.
My life, on every level, since making a Mandatory Report has been systematically destroyed. I would soon meet other Mandatory Reporters who had their lives destroyed as well, immediately after reporting Child Abuse. I wondered: If a Teacher like myself, who obeyed the law and adhered to her professional training, could have her life destroyed on every level for making a Mandatory Report – what kind of destruction is experienced by the innocent Children who are victims of this abuse?
I kept Every Child at the forefront of my thinking and decision making processes. I gained my strength from thinking how there would be ongoing ramifications for the victims and witnesses. Specifically of being introduced to sexual activity via abuse, long before being emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and physically prepared, let alone being capable of consenting to sexual activity. More whistleblowers came forward, I kept every document, every electronic mail and copies of all correspondence. Every item of information and evidence is filed and copies are held in trust.
In short, I had walked into an inner hell, to speak and act on behalf of innocent Children and I have not been able to walk away. I have a conscience.
Incompetence or intentional mismanagement?
Who walks away from an abused Child? Can someone answer that question for me please? Perhaps Cardinal Pell and his Catholic Church colleagues can provide an answer.
Early on during my continuing Child Abuse Whistleblower journey, I communicated directly with Cardinal Pell regarding the actions of a Teacher who used Tarot Cards. The Teacher was promoted to Religious Co-Ordinator after a scandal involving Child Sexual Abuse, the basic details of which I will now describe without revealing identities or jeopardizing future legal proceedings on this matter.
The Teacher invites a group of current Students to a party at a private residence. It is my understanding that no parents were invited or present nor were other adults invited or present. The Teacher commences sexual activity with a young adult who is only just of age. The sexual activity is commenced in full view of the Students. One of the attending Students calls the partner of the Student who is just of age. The partner was not in attendance and arrived to have the Child of the Teacher open the door to the private residence. The partner views the Teacher asleep on a bed with a used condom on the floor next to the bed. My understanding is that the Students who attended the party at the private residence, were all under eighteen years of age and that they all continued to attend school and attend classes with the Teacher, including the partner of the young adult.
In my experience as a former operational NSW Police officer, the above information certainly appears to fit the criteria for psychological abuse if nothing else.
In my communication with Cardinal Pell I also discussed the Teacher’s use of Tarot Cards, which was witnessed by me in her home, in the presence of other Teachers. Following my first Mandatory Report, I had been targeted for my personal interests not directly related to my employment — interests I should add that are not only condoned by the Catholic Church but have been incorporated into their daily organisational management at the highest level. (I will reveal details of this in further articles, as appropriate.) Cardinal Pell reacted to my correspondence with little interest. It is my understanding that no further action, on the part of Cardinal Pell, was taken. No communication with me indicates Cardinal Pell sought to communicate with any employee connected to the Catholic School, the Catholic Schools Office (CSO) or the local Bishop. The text below is cited directly from an electronic mail communication from Cardinal Pell.
On tarot card you may find it helpful to refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church [nn.2115-17]. The catechism teaches that “all forms of divination are to be rejected.” … but even so I would have thought that it would be inappropriate for a religious co-ordinator at a Catholic school to do so. (Cardinal Pell 22 June 2011 at 1.01 pm)
A Teacher within a Catholic School who was witnessed engaging in practices deemed “inappropriate” by Cardinal Pell himself, not only retains employment but is promoted to the position of Religious Co-Ordinator, shortly after a scandal involving child sexual abuse.
Eventually my employment is terminated for no reason. The boxes that can be ticked to indicate a reason for termination on my employment termination certificate are all blank, as are the ruled lines where a description of that reason can be included. As I state in the first draft of my legal recount/book – they were stunningly and glaringly blank!
Since making the Mandatory Reports that were professionally and morally required of me, I am continually denied my return to work before the actual termination of my employment for no reason. This situation, among many other aspects, means I am not supported by my employers, the Catholic Church, with regards to my needs, my rights and my responsibilities as a Mandatory Reporter. In effect I had to make decisions on my own.
I decided to again contact Cardinal Pell. I decided to send him a copy of the second Mandatory Report, the details of which spanned at least thirty five years. I mailed a hard copy of the private and confidential information via registered post on 23rd July 2011. To ensure I had the correct mailing address I had conducted research that commenced with the appropriate page on the Catholic Church website. Cardinal Pell was at that time absent from the country but the details of his Private Secretary were included on the website. I addressed this information to both Cardinal Pell and his Private Secretary , Dr. Michael Casey.
Did Dr. Casey hide behind procedure or fabricates information? I will allow the public to make that discernment.
Dear Miss Prosser, thank you for your email. I have checked and your private nad confidential correspondence to Cardinal Pell has been received. I am sorry for not acknowledging receipt earlier, but private and confidential correspondence for His Eminence is put aside for him to open, and I was not sure that it had been received. (Dr Michael Casey 18 August 2011 at 2.38pm.)
I am much relieved however I did also address the package to yourself. I did this knowing Cardinal Pell would be absent from the country. (18 August 2011 at 3.21pm.)
What led Dr. Casey to overlook the information I had addressed directly to him?
What happened next was completely unexpected. I received electronic mail from the Chancellor of the Catholic Church and electronic mail from the manager of the Professional Standards Office (PSO), the Catholic Church office assigned to manage reports of Child Abuse. I will cite directly from the electronic mail.
Electronic mail received from the Chancellor;
I am the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Sydney and Cardinal Pell has asked me to inform you that he has read the documents you sent him with distress and sadness. The material you forwarded to the Cardinal has also been passed onto the Church’s Professional Standards Office in Sydney for their attention. (Chancellor John Usher, 5 September 2011 at 10.49pm.)
It is also my understanding that the NSW Police will be informed of these matters, as will the NSW Ombudsman’s Office, by the PSO. That is the usual procedure. (Chancellor John Usher, 4 October 2011 at 3.30pm.)
Next I receive electronic mail from the Manager of the Professional Standards Office referred to:
“… the persons you have adversely named in the absence of direct complaints from victims of alleged childhood sexual abuse…
“Therefore I am uncertain as to why Mr Kelvin Simon of the NSW Ombudsman’s Office referred you to the NSW Professional Standards Office.” (Michael Salmon, 14 October 2011 at 2.45pm.)
Further into the electronic mail from Michael Salmon continued:
“The proper authority … catholic sector is the Diocese of Wagga Wagga, which is also head of agency in terms of appropriate reporting obligations…” (Michael Salmon, 14 October 2011 at 2.45pm.)
Mandatory Reports are the legal and professional responsibility of a variety of occupations. Most notable are the legal professions, medical professions, policing professions and education professions. Education includes all school staff from teachers to cleaners and bus drivers – anyone connected to the educational location. Mandatory Report training, in the instance of an educational setting, is conducted in the form of professional development. Training is conducted within the school as a mandatory professional requirement. Student teachers are required to submit a paper outlining the meaning and application of a Mandatory Report – failing to submit an appropriate paper can mean failing the entire teacher training. The training within an educational setting is very straight forward. Any information that is disclosed must be forwarded to the Principal. The Principal is responsible for managing the Mandatory Report in the first instance.
The Mandatory Reporter is meant to be given instructive support from the Principal and in my instance the CSO as well. The entire process is meant to be completely confidential. Any persons named are not supposed to know who made the Mandatory Report. Hard copy correspondence is made available to the Mandatory Reporter. An interview with a private investigator is arranged and a support person can be present. The interview is recorded and a recording and two transcripts are checked and signed and kept on file. That is generally where the protocols end for the Mandatory Reporter – unless of course – legal action requires further interaction.
I am not able to share specific information at this time but I want to state that a lot of the above protocols were not made available to me in 2011. I will share, with the public, my information and evidence when an appropriate opportunity is made available to me.
Administrative procedures include notification to the NSW Ombudsman Office – Child Protection as well as the Department of Education. Police may be contacted and also Social Services. Due to my specific circumstances I have interacted with a myriad of professional agencies. My Child Abuse Whistleblower journey is complex with many aspects of administration clearly being in need of legal reform. At this point in time only one professional agency has made a positive attempt to support me – that particular agency has requested I do not publicise their title. As with other information and evidence, details of the professional agency will be made public when an appropriate setting is made available to me.
Administration within a Catholic educational setting is such that the Bishop assigns responsibility to the CSO Director of Schools. I will explain further in Part 2 of this series. Legislation and administrative procedures relative to Mandatory Reports and all areas of Crimes Against Children will be explored in Part 2 of this Child Abuse Whistleblower series.
At no time did I give permission for the sensitive and highly confidential Mandatory Report information to be forwarded to anyone. The actions of Cardinal Pell, his Private Secretary Dr Michael Casey, Chancellor John Usher and Professional Standards Office Manager Michael Salmon were entirely independent to any of my communications. I was not informed of any administrative procedures that included the passing of sensitive reports from office to office. The administrative procedure of passing the Child Abuse reports from office to office was conducted without my knowledge or permission. Furthermore, Kelvin Simon, Manager of the NSW Ombudsman Office for Child Protection, did not ever refer me to the Professional Standards Office.
It it essential to note that in all my training as a Mandatory Reporter, as a (former) operational NSW Police officer, as a teaching assistant and as a Secondary Teacher – there has never been any instruction about needing a victim to make a disclosure. Logic dictates that an adult may witness the abuse or a friend of the victim may make a disclosure.
Perhaps Michael Salmon has not been trained with regard to the legal requirements of Mandatory Reporting.
So the questions that need to be asked are:
Why is Michael Salmon managing the Professional Standards Office if he is not in receipt of proper training and knowledge of the legally recognised Mandatory Reporting protocols and procedures?
Why did Cardinal Pell not address the Mandatory Report information personally, directly, in unison with other Catholic Church employees?
Why does the Catholic Church system, created specifically to protect our Children from abuse, appear so entirely dysfunctional and so disinterested in achieving justice for the victims?
How many other Mandatory Reports have been similarly managed?
Are the failings of Cardinal Pell and the Catholic Church, to adequately manage the Mandatory Reports made to them, in fact intentional?
When I noted a photograph of Cardinal Pell in the mainstream media recently, holding a copy of the Catholic Church document titled ‘Sexual Abuse’, I recalled receiving a copy of the same document via the Bravehearts organisation. I studied the document carefully, and will cite directly from my electronic mail to a Bravehearts employee.
I studied the document … ‘Sexual Abuse: The Response from the Archdiocese of Sydney’. I noted there are no dates anywhere on this document. The only reference is 1996 with the mention of Towards Healing. I also notice this; Priest or Church Worker – legally there should be a full description of exactly who constitutes a Priest and Church Worker. Logic would suggest [this includes] anyone who is employed and paid their wages from the Catholic Church – this would include all catholic school employees. [I] also noted this – Accusationsagainst teachers working in the Archdiocese’s schools are handled by the Executive Director of Catholic Schools as the Archbishops delegate.
This is the Church flicking the responsibility back to school administration and in my case – this is the problem. The Mandatory Reports are kept in house. Administrative protocols are that the NSW Ombudsman is notified, as in my case – but – the Ombudsman just ticks boxes. In my case the same investigator is utilised and she always gets the same results… I don’t believe she interviewed victims or witnesses as I know for a fact she did not ask me for the name of a witness. (8th November 2012, 7.45pm)
Crimes Against Children. It is a very serious area of legal obligation, moral duty and spiritual need. The Court of Public Opinion will eventually take action when the other courts do not. When we fail to protect Children – All Children – we fail to have a future. Cardinal Pell has a spiritual, ethic and moral responsibility to assist the Ballarat victims with the fervor such allegations deserve.
A Final Word
Due to the complexity of my continuing Child Abuse Whistleblower journey I must share minimal information and evidence. I do not want to jeopardise any future court proceedings or actions within other professional settings. Sharing information and evidence with the public can impede the ability to engage an impartial Judge and/or jury. I share information and evidence here as direct support for the Ballarat victims. I will share more when the appropriate legal opportunity is made available to me.
This article is my public support for the Ballarat victims. I would hope that the article is an invaluble teaching resource for those members of the public who are not familiar with the administrative procedures of the Catholic Church and what can happen when an employee makes a Mandatory Report.
There is an underground following who hold my information and documented evidence in trust. The agreement in place is such, that should any harm come to me – all information and evidence held in trust will be published on my behalf to the worldwideweb.
For more information, please see: Shedding Light – Child Abuse Whistleblower Takes a Stand
You can connect with Amanda Prosser via www.facebook.com/Child-Abuse-Whistleblowers-1425381074417056