July 23rd, 2004

By Vivienne Legg (gaiaguys)

The damning Victorian Ombudsman's report finalised on July 7th, which documents some serious police misconduct relating to a number of terrible child abuse cases over the past several years, had itself taken over two years to be completed, and then clearly after considerable outside pressure.

Child advocate, psychologist Reina Michaelson, who instigated the report and who has now been vindicated by its findings  wrote last September in a letter to Premier Bracks that, "The investigation by the Ombudsman's office has been ongoing for nearly two years, and has been repeatedly hampered by acts of sabotage, perversions of the course of justice and incompetence by the investigating officers." 

Although the report is finalised, these extensive, documented charges have never been addressed, nor have they been more than hinted at by the mainstream media.

In a letter on the 5th October 2003 to Premier Bracks Dr Michaelson included a lengthy, detailed, formal complaint of many of the blatant obstructions she encountered during the investigation under the control of Deputy Ombudsman, Brian Hardiman. Most disturbingly, a senior detective from the Ethical Standards Division, seconded by Hardiman, was given information about video evidence of police participating in sexual and ritual abuse of children, and on another occasion about the independent identification of a house, owned by a police officer, where these events had taken place. But on both occasions the detective did not pass on that evidence, and he denied that he had been told about it. However telephone records proved that he had been told. (This same detective also refused to investigate Dr Michaelson's claims of harassment, which are supported by a number of people in statutory declarations. He stated that she was "paranoid"). When forced to check the telephone records Mr Hardiman refused to investigate the issue further. He wrote on the 19th May 2003,

"I am not proposing any further investigation of [name withheld] as there is no evidence that his poor handling of the matter was due to anything other than incompetence."

The detective was only removed from the investigation after Dr Michaelson wrote to the Police Commissioner. He was not removed from the Police Ethical Standards Division.

Under Mr Hardiman, the first and most basic steps required for the investigation were avoided for months. Damning Department of Education and Training files regarding repeated acts of child sexual abuse by a still employed teacher, and his subsequent protection by Department of Education officials, were not even requested for 12 months into the investigation. In another case key witnesses had not even been approached after 15 months to provide their corroborating evidence of serious police misconduct surrounding investigations into ongoing child sexual abuse. Yet as Dr Michaelson explains, Mr Hardiman told her,

 " ... preliminary conclusions were being made about the events at [name withheld] and that I would be quite happy with these."  He, "stated that the findings were of 'incompetence and management problems' and that there was 'nothing more than that'".

 The Ombudsman's office later denied that any preliminary conclusion had been made.

 Mr Hardiman had been very keen to take on Dr Michaelson's complaints from the start. But his behaviour had aroused her suspicion. His plans to tape their first interview were dropped as soon as her lawyer requested that he tape record the interview independently. On another occasion Hardiman inexplicably inserted false information (the name of an individual unknown to Dr Michaelson) into notes taken from a telephone call with Dr Michaelson.  He also put enormous pressure on her to hand over all her files. (She experienced two unsolved file thefts during a period in which she was providing information to the Ombudsman.) Dr Michaelson had initially pressed Mr Hardiman  for a meeting with the Police Commissioner. He told her that he would try to arrange this, but then said it was not possible. In fact, he had apparently not even contacted the Commissioner at all, who later expressed annoyance at not being told of Dr Michaelson's desire for a meeting, and being left out of the loop.

So, what was the Premier's reaction on receiving Dr Michaelson's formal complaint against the Ombudsman? When the Premier's Department was informed of these outrageous delays and sabotage, the Justice Department told Dr Michaelson that hers was the strongest case they had ever had against the Ombudsman's office. Despite this, he deemed it appropriate to wait for the completion of the report. Alarmingly, the same official from the Justice Department wrote, in response to her call for a Parliamentary Inquiry, "While you may not trust the Police or the Ombudsman's investigation, I do not share that view and consider that they must be given the chance to do their jobs."

However in an underhanded acknowledgement of the Deputy's corruption of the investigation, following exposure of this growing scandal on the internet and the persistent complaints from Dr Michaelson, the matter was taken over by the acting Ombudsman, Mr Robert Seamer. Mr Hardiman's criminal actions were never explained.

Soon the Premier's department began receiving pressure from other members of the public. They began calling for a Royal Commission on the 28th of March 2004. Further pressure came from an April 5th Melbourne Age article which touched on "problems" within the Ombudsman's office.

The Ombudsman's report, finalised this month, has been delivered not by Mr Seamer, but by the recently appointed new Ombudsman, George Brouwer. As would be expected from the serious range of blatant evidence provided by Dr Michaelson, the Ombudsman's report (according to the press, to whom this document was leaked) reveals a shocking amount of major misconduct  by police officers, focusing primarily on the Sexual Crimes Squad.

"The findings, including 19 recommendations, yesterday prompted Victoria Police to reopen the cases, launch a disciplinary inquiry and announce a review of the sexual crimes squad." (Gary Hughes, The Age  - July 8th)

 Assistant Commissioner for crime, Simon Overland 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." 

If this is true, it is another example of the continued willingness of the bureaucracy to play down the deliberate police protection of pedophiles.

Hughes writes that the report, " ... found there was no evidence of any direct police involvement in pedophilia, as had been alleged in the original complaint about the Mornington child-care centre investigation".

Perhaps this is because the Ombudsman's own investigators obstructed any investigation of the evidence provided to them. And the Ombudsman is, in effect, totally unaccountable.

The corruption in the Ombudsman's office is not over. It has never been officially acknowledged or exposed, (unless secretly in the confidential report) - not even in this climate of "debate" about the need for a permanent or Royal Commission into police corruption. Instead the shiny new Ombudsman has been shown to have produced the goods in the form of this month's report, thus justifying the Premier's avoidance of a truly independent commission into police corruption and the 300% funding boost given to the Ombudsman.

The Police Commissioner's office, which was kept informed of the Deputy Ombudsman's actions, is quick to paper over all the filth, with the advice that Mr Brouwer, "  ... is completely independent and untouched by the alleged corruption that you have associated with his office prior to his appointment." 

Mr Brouwer himself has avoided acknowledging the rot in his office, echoing the assertion from the Premier, the Police Commissioner and others, that greater funding and power is all that is required for it to deal properly with corruption.

Meanwhile, according to The Age (May 29th), under Mr Brouwer, Mr Hardiman is to be promoted to the top position in the newly structured Ombudsman's office, presiding over 100 investigators. He will, " ... lead an expanded team of investigators charged with keeping the Victoria Police publicly accountable."

The March 11th Melbourne Herald Sun, quoted Brian Hardiman.

 " 'The fact is corruption is an ongoing problem,' he said. 'So the price of a relatively clean force is eternal vigilance and that is not provided by a one-off hit through a royal commission.'

 'It is provided by a strong, well-resourced police ethical standards department and ombudsman's office.' "

On the 15th  March 2004, The Age printed a defence by the Police Commissioner, (also on the Victorian Police web site's opening page) arguing against a Royal Commission.

"We are accountable. All corruption investigations are independently overseen by the Ombudsman, who reports regularly to the Parliament and the public directly."

According to a May 29th Weekend Australian article, the Ombudsman will actually require Commissioner Nixon's approval to carry out investigations. Further, Mr Brouwer has rejected appeals to have his report on police "mishandling" of child sexual abuse cases even tabled in Parliament, let alone released to the public. The Premier's office has recommended we see our Member for Parliament if we have any problems with the Ombudsman.  Brouwer also says, " ... he has no problem with accountability and that people with grievances should take them up directly with their MPs or with ministers." (The Age May 29th)

Both the police Minister and Dr Michealson's Member for Parliament were informed, and did nothing.

Deputy Ombudsman Hardiman repeatedly sabotaged the investigations into police child sex abusers, and, for his criminal efforts, was rewarded with a promotion and greatly expanded responsibilities.

As long as the Victorian Ombudsman's office is free from media and other scrutiny, no quantity of damning reports from the Ombudsman will save the pedophile elite's many child victims from their unimaginable misery and endless terror.



Please read the full account and ask your favorite media outlets why they are not running this story.


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