MARCH 4th, 2005


By Vivienne Legg (gaiaguys)


Just two days ago, on the 2nd of March, former Young Australian of the year Dr Reina Michaelson held a press conference in Melbourne, Victoria to announce some shocking new revelations about the continuation of the police protection of the child pornography/pedophile network operating in the state, involving politicians, media personalities and top executives, to name a few. The most damning revelation was a police tape recording of a top investigator from the newly formed Office of Police Integrity telling her,


 “"What I would hope that we can achieve is possibly nothing in relation to that past [pedophile] ring, even if it is still operating".


Only the Melbourne Age reported, and then without even mentioning this astonishing quote. There was not a murmur from the rest of the corporate media. Not even our ABC radio followed up, although it provided a couple of articles after the release of an Ombudsman’s report on this case last July.


The formation of the Office of Police Integrity was the Victorian Government’s response to calls last year from Dr Michaelson and others for a Royal Commission into police corruption. But, as explained in Dr Michaelson’s Press Release  the Labor Government's newly established Office of Police Integrity (OPI) has dismissed their complaints without having interviewed a single witness or having recalled a single VicPol [Victoria Police] file.


This is despite the fact that numerous victims have alleged police involvement in and protection of the statewide pedophile and child pornography network. In addition, victims have independently identified as perpetrators of the pedophile and child pornography network: a former Victorian Labor Minister, a veteran television celebrity, and a prominent television producer.


At the Press Conference high profile child advocate, Hetty Johnson, also said that five victims and three other witnesses had come forward and were prepared to be interviewed by the integrity office. But in the November meeting with Dr Michaelson, the Office of Police Integrity had been keen to brush aside news of witnesses.


(Omb Investig 3): In investigating the previous allegations in relation to the paedophile network there have been no witnesses to the fact… in fact, there's been nobody who has said that, 'On the (date – withheld), I presented at (name of suburb - withheld) Police Station and this is what I said'.


So, it's very difficult for us to investigate that. It's very difficult for anyone to investigate that…without witnesses as to the fact. I mean, you've given your…


Reina: I have witnesses. There are witnesses who can.

(Omb Investig 3): Well, my understanding is that…

Reina: Well, there are witnesses… three of them to substantiate that they independently made a complaint to (Police Officer 2, Police Officer 3, Police Officer 4 – names withheld) regarding that same network.

(Omb Investig 3): Not in relation to the Child Care Centre…in relation to something else.

Reina: In relation to an organized paedophile and child pornography network that's also trafficking drugs and associated with a number of unsolved murders in this State [

Finally it was determined that the names of witnesses had been given but,


So, you've got corroborative witnesses in relation to the particular, which is something that can be subject to investigation. When we say can, it's possible that it can be subject to investigation,…


In her press statement Dr Michaelson quotes further from the tape of her meeting, which was given her by the investigators.


I was told that the OPI sees its role as taking, QUOTE, “a system picture.” And that it would, QUOTE, “detract from our work…if we take particular individuals to account.”


I was told that, QUOTE, “if we were to tackle some of the specific issues [identified in my complaint to the Ombudsman] that, QUOTE, “may have a negative impact on the bigger picture.” I took the “bigger picture” to mean the so-called “system picture” of corruption the OPI seems to be set on.


The conversation between the Investigators and Dr Michaelson reveal that the investigators had no intention of dealing with anything in any but the most general way. It’s the “policy issue” approach, where all repeated, specific, implicating and documented detail and blatant intimidation is smudged out of relevance and is reduced to issues of police social skills and lack of co-ordination. The meeting is full of phrases like, “identifying structural defects”,  “policy and procedure”, “issues across the board”, “improving collective response” , "looking at it holistically" and “recommending some areas of change”.


How consistent this is with the comment last July of Assistant Commissioner for crime, Simon Overland about the findings of the Ombudsman’s report.  Despite the damning (though clearly incomplete) findings of the report he said the report found no evidence of police corruption or criminal misconduct. He told a press conference,


 "These allegations relate to administrative and procedural failings." 


The contemptible “lack of personal skills”- approach to this case of police intimidation and protection of pedophiles was greatly nourished by the Ombudsman’s report which discovered police calling 12 year old victims little sluts, but avoided identifying the clear pattern of cover-up which ANYONE CAN SEE BY RATIONALLY TAKING AN OVERVIEW of the material, only some of which has been made public. This evidence of cover-up includes excusing the behaviour of an Ombudsman investigator who denied receiving video evidence of police participating in ritual sexual abuse of children, although phone records demonstrated otherwise.


The outrageous downplaying of the cover-up continues in the OPI interview with, for instance, the matter of the police refusing to investigate the situation in the most basic ways, being reduced to a need to remind the community regarding sexual abuse; that “no means no”.


(Omb Investig 3): I think there are maybe some hard issues and we might not do anything apart from identify that, to make sure that's on the agenda of public debate…. and I think the community also has to have clear and consistent messages about 'No means no'…


The taped conversation also reveals that the OPI had no knowledge, or pretended to have no knowledge of the case’s history.


It’s clear. The OPI’s position is so unspeakable – the position of taking no action on police protection of high profile child pornographers – that most of the interview is filled with unintelligible babble. However further sections of the conversation are painfully clear in their meaning.


In response to Reina reiterating how an officer last year intimidated a key witness in the case during an interview – the victim of a death threat, confirmed in writing, no less, made by a TV executive – the response was,


as a Team, we would be reluctant to pursue that level of detail, if you like, the attitude of one or two Officers when we are in the position to influence the attitude of… the training framework that Police operate in, in relation to the attitude they take in an investigation about sexual assault.


In regard to the smoke and mirrors of the OPI we learn,


The outcome as of yesterday, was that 'Okay, we'll do it as a big in-between, we'll have something that, if you like, has arisen from the Ombudsman Office, through the Police Ombudsman wing of the Ombudsman, but we'll make it look like a quasi- Crime Commission. Now, that's what's happened, and there is no police complaints work that is done through the Office of the Ombudsman.


They explained how specific police complaints are dealt with separately from the Ombudsman’s office, by the special police unit…,


The personnel of that area are all (no, I shouldn't say all) but there are a significant number of policeman on the board, and it's a different environment from the traditional Ombudsman environment…

... The other important part of the context is that (Omb Investig 2) and I are actually Police Integrity employees…


 Here are the words of assistant Police commissioner Simon Overland to Victoria ABC TV interviewer Josephine Cafagna, last July, after the damning Ombudsman’s report came out, which vindicated Dr Michaelson.


 The point we would make, though, is that the Ombudsman has just been given a significant increase in powers, he describes himself as, in effect, a standing Royal Commission. He has dealt very adequately with the matters Dr Michaelson has raised with him to date and if there are other matters involving police, we'd suggest that she should report those matters to him.


She did. From her Press Statement:


The investigators were provided with the names of witnesses - names that would have allowed them to readily access the relevant files - as well as the dates of the previous reports made independently to Victoria Police. I was given a commitment from the investigators that every relevant police file would be pulled and re-examined in the light of this new information. I was also promised that the witnesses I named would be newly interviewed as part of their investigation.


And the Ombudsman’s creation, the police-staffed, un-independent OPI, has refused to investigate further despite this availability of several new witnesses and despite the Ombudsman’s promises.


In the lead-up to Wednesday’s press conference the Melbourne broadsheet, The Age, summed up this two hour interview as merely revealing doubts about the ability of the new watchdog office to carry out its function. In the article "New doubts on police corruption watchdog" it nevertheless provides a string of damning quotes to this effect which indicate clearly the opposite to the Deputy Ombudsman’s assertion, to the Age, that, the OPI's charter, is to investigate police corruption or serious misconduct. (The following is our excerpt from the transcript.)


Reina: It's not only that this case demonstrates all of these failings to document cases adequately, the point is that it is being protected, the victims who were abused as part of this network as children can testify to the fact that police officers we're actually being paid off so that this criminal network remained untouchable. So that's why we want it to be investigated thoroughly, and for there to be a report of the kind of quality that came out as a result of the last complaint. There is clearly something really bad happening in this State, and it needs to be sorted out.

It's organized crime, and it's being allowed to continue because… There are a couple of bad eggs in the right places.

(Omb Investig 3): I'm not sure either the Office of Police Integrity or…

I'm absolutely certain that the Ombudsman of Victoria can't deliver that level of investigation, can't do that.

Reina: Can't investigate organized crime and police protection of organized crime?

(Omb Investig 3): No. Can't.

It can investigate the allegations of the conduct of corrupt police officers… possibly. And, that's once its new coercive powers have been tried and tested in Court.

The Age gave the police Minister the final word after the Press Conference, pressing Reina’s years of work to expose the demonstrable, traceable cover-up and inaction by the police into the dirt with his filthy polished shoe.

Mr Holding [police Minister] defended the integrity office's actions. "There's nothing wrong with bringing allegations forward so they can be properly tested," the minister said.

"But by the same token, when those same allegations have been properly tested, when they've been put before the relevant authorities and it's been concluded that they are without basis and without foundation, then the time comes for us to move on."

With comments like this, and the following,

 (Omb Investig 3): But, what we know about child pornography, even extensively in investigations, that the outcome it achieves the best for some people is never enough.

pity help the children and other victims of this powerful network, which holds the government and all its departments and the media in the palm of its bloody hand. Pity help them, because this group has no pity.


April 7th - Please see what role the media has just played in preventing justice for pedophile victims in South Australia, culminating in the resignation of the child welfare activist Speaker of the House, Peter Lewis.




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