An Australian man has been arrested and charged with fraud by Papua New Guinea’s anti corruption taskforce.
Leonard Patrick Capon, 68, was arrested and charged after allegedly misappropriating 1,485,085 million kina ($A668,400) paid in 2010 to his company, Rural Development Services Ltd, for a mini-hydro power project in Hela province in PNG’s Highlands.
Authorities allege that project was never delivered and the funds were allegedly diverted to expenses unrelated to the purposes of the payment.
Task Force Sweep Chairman Sam Koim told PNG’s The National newspaper that Mr Capon was arrested and charged with misappropriation and released on K10,000 ($A4635) bail.
Task Force Sweep recently revealed it had registered 174 complaints about corruption, with just some of the cases involving amounts totalling 2.162 billion kina ($A1 billion).
Of the 174 complaints, 52 cases have been investigated.
Recently on the PNG Attitude blog, Peter Kranz asked whether the Australian Church sex-abuse scandal may have a PNG dimension. He noted with concern that a number of prolific abusers were, at one stage or another, stationed in PNG (see the list below).
We may now have further reason to worry following revelations in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald. It was reported that between1997 and 2008 the Australian Catholic Church dealt with paedophile priests internally, sending them on a rehabilitation program for “sexual boundary violators”.
Known as the Encompass Australasia program, it was funded by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes. Evidently hundreds of priests from “Australia and the Asia-Pacific region” accused of, or who confessed to, sex-abuse were treated on the program.
The Sydney Morning Herald claims, “none of the clergy treated under the multi-million-dollar Encompass Australasia program run from Wesley Private Hospital in Sydney was referred to police for investigation”.
It is a worry that priests from PNG may have been among those treated. But arguably of even more concern is that the Catholic Church in PNG had a similar program.
In a 2002 Post-Courier article – recently reposted on PNG Attitude – PNG Catholic Bishops Conference General-Secretary, Lawrence Stephens, acknowledged that “the church had a ‘recovery centre’ in one of the country’s provinces for its clergy as well as the public who had ‘mental problems’ which also included paedophilia”.
The article continues, “Mr Stephens said paedophilia like other sex offences was a criminal act even if members of the religious fraternity committed it”.
It is apparent then that the Catholic Church in PNG regards child sex-abuse as a criminal act. But what is not clear from this 2002 statement, is whether child abusers were actually reported to the police, or were they alternatively sent to this “recovery centre” for treatment. Given the Australian precedent, all signs point to the latter.
More recent statements by PNG’s Catholic Bishops Conference, shed little light on the issue. According to the Conference’s National Director of Right Relationships in Ministry, Paul Harricknen, “a pastoral response to issues of sexual abuse will place emphasis on pastoral care of the victims and their families, the community, and even the offender, the offender’s family, and the non-offending clergy…When incidents of sexual abuse arise, the Church must be able to respond in a way that shows the compassion, reconciliation, forgiveness and justice of Jesus himself, towards the victim, the affected communities, and the offender”.
There is no indication from this statement whether the Church, even today, is referring sexual abuse allegations, or confessions, to the police.
Of course, it is important to keep in mind that this is not an attack on religious belief – everyone has a right to faith – this is about powerful institutions protecting criminals who endanger children.
As scandals in Ireland and Australia have evidenced in painful detail, the Church hierarchy has placed its organisational reputation ahead of child abuse victims. One insider told the Sydney Morning Herald, ”there were some outrageous situations that would have been very embarrassing for the church had they become public. Deals were cut. The whole operation was extremely confidential.”
While we cannot assume the Catholic Church in PNG also ‘cut deals’ or shielded abusers, nevertheless, like in Australia it has a large institutional interest – arguably even larger given its quasi-governmental role in PNG – in protecting its reputation. Indeed were cases of sexual abuse proven to be systematic, this would be hugely damaging for the Church in PNG.
Lets hope in light of the Australian precedent a sensitive and transparent debate occurs in PNG. With the Church playing a critical role in the delivery of services, parents in PNG must know that their children are safe.
List of Paedophile Priests who Served in PNG
The list was compiled by the Australian victims support organisation Broken Rites.
Edmund John Haines, committed child-sex crimes but he was caught when someone found child porn on the priest’s mobile phone, a court has been told. Known by his middle name (as John Haines), he grew up in Geelong, 75km south-west of Melbourne, Australia. John Haines entered the Catholic priesthood via a “backdoor” opportunity in Papua New Guinea, where priests were scarce.
He later left PNG under mysterious circumstances and returned to Australia without clear career prospects. Then the Melbourne archdiocese, which was short of priests, accepted him for parish work in its Geelong parishes, thereby giving him access to children. The Melbourne church authorities did not look too closely into (or did not care about) Haines’ background. Haines pleaded guilty in the Geelong County Court in the state of Victoria to six counts of an indecent act with a child under 16, procurement of a minor for child pornography and possessing child porn.
Father Denis McAlinden was protected for 40 years by the Church while he committed sexual crimes against young girls in parishes around Australia and also overseas. For years, the Maitland-Newcastle diocese had been transferring McAlinden backwards and forwards between New South Wales and Western Australia after he abused children in each of those states.
The Maitland-Newcastle diocese also arranged for him to be “warehoused” in Papua New Guinea for several years, in the middle of his career. (He was based in Mendi diocese for 4 years.) The Church also arranged for him to spend a year doing parish work in New Zealand to protect him from exposure in Australia
Brother Rodger William Moloney was jailed in 2008 after the St John of God order to which he belonged spent over $1,000,000 on his defence. Moloney spent some time at SJOG’s operations in Papua New Guinea. He has been a member of the SJOG provincial council (administering the order’s operations in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific).
Marist Brother Malcolm Hall was charged with multiple sex crimes against boys and girls in 1998. But before the case came to trial he collapsed and died. When the first allegation against Hall were made the Marist Brothers transferred Brother Malcolm out of Australia — beyond the reach of the Australian police.
Thereafter (according to details given in his death notice in the Herald Sun) Brother Hall worked in church institutions in Peshawar (in Pakistan) and in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands — places where sexual abuse by church personnel is more difficult to expose. There is no way of knowing about his behaviour in those countries. Thus, the Marist Brothers protected their brand name in Australia.
No. 38 Flindersia is described by real estate agents as:
“a spectacular residence [with] 5 bedrooms and features a parents retreat upstairs with en-suite and balcony”.
“Downstairs there are a further four bedrooms, separate living and media rooms and modern kitchen with stone benchtops and dishwasher. Open plan living areas open out on to two patios”.
“The property is fully air-conditioned and and comes with solar hot water system”.
The property is registered in the name of Willam Marra Duma:
The Tasty nightclub raid refers to an incident on 7 August 1994 during which 463 patrons of the Tasty nightclub event in Melbourne, Australia were detained for seven hours, strip searched and cavity searched, and in some cases brutalised, by armed members of Victoria Police.
The Tasty nightclub, not widely known to the general public prior to media reports of the raid, was a popular alternative venue frequented by a large number of gay and transgender patrons, and well-known local identities. Though not endorsed by the organisers drug taking was common amongst its patrons. The Tasty events were in some ways a precursor to the later underground rave parties.
The incident occurred at the Commerce Club, Flinders Street, Melbourne at which the Tasty event was regularly held (patrons typically entered and left via a rear entrance in the more secluded Flinders Lane for their own security).
During the raid, which began in the early hours, no patrons were permitted to enter or leave the venue for approximately seven hours. Full nudity was enforced and the searches were performed in full view of other patrons. The strip search, whilst distressing for all attendees, was particularly humiliating for the transgender patrons.
The exact police motivation for the raid is unclear. The predominant sexuality of the events’ clientele was well known to police, leading to intense speculation that the club was specifically targeted for reasons grounded in homophobia.
The raid resulted in two drug-related arrests, but all charges were later dropped.
Media attention and public backlash
A photograph of the incident taken by a patron holding a camera which, in the darkness, had not been seen by police appeared on the front page of Melbourne’s Age newspaper under the headline “Hands Against The Wall”. The resulting media attention created a great deal of political controversy, as well as embarrassment to the police force and the Kennett government of the day. The situation brought attention to a police force that had been noted as the most violent in Australia, dating back to 1984.
The incident led to successful legal action against Victoria Police with damages of well over A$10,000,000 awarded to patrons. This sum would have been considerably higher had all affected parties come forward – a large number of patrons, fearful of the repercussions of “outing” themselves in a public forum or reluctant to relive the traumatic experience of the raid, did not participate.
The class action was run by Gary Singer, later Deputy Lord Mayor of the City of Melbourne.
Although very different in their particular manifestations of activism, the Tasty incident has been described by some as Melbourne’s Stonewall, comparable to the latter through its effect on community views and awareness, and resultant reviews of inappropriate police activity.
A 52-minute documentary about the incident was made in 2003 to mark its 10th anniversary. The Tasty Bust Reunion was produced by Esben Storm and directed by Stephen Maclean, and includes extensive interviews and insights with patrons, club owners and employees. The documentary was screened on SBS television Australia and released on DVD.
Bullying claims revealed – Security chief at centre of complaints made by staff
Tuck Thompson | The Courier Mail
A DISGRACED former detective had been the subject of several bullying and harassment complaints since taking a job as senior operations manager for ISS Security in Brisbane, a union official said yesterday.
The claim contradicts a statement from an ISS spokesman that Kerry McNamara was “highly regarded by all who work with him” and “there are no complaints against him from staff”.
Brisbane Airport Corporation has banned Mr McNamara from working at the airport, where hundreds of ISS staff run security checkpoints.
Victoria Police sacked Mr McNamara in 1999 after a disciplinary report accused him of many incidents of unethical and disgraceful behaviour.
He was drummed out of the West Australian police force in 1979 after only three months.
Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union state secretary Gary Bullock said a “range of complaints have come in” about Mr McNamara from several workers, prompting a union meeting yesterday with ISS.
Mr Bullock said he told Mr McNamara and ISS Queensland boss Peter Beadle the union was investigating and would take action to stop any alleged abuse of workers.
A former ISS security guard claimed to The Courier-Mail yesterday that he was bullied and forced out of his job by Mr McNamara.
Mark Lenton, of the northern Brisbane suburb of Enoggera, said that after he complained to the union about racist comments being directed at his co-workers at BP’s Bulwer Island refinery, Mr McNamara filled his job without telling him.
“It was very unprofessional and deplorable. He was belligerent and started yelling at me when I was trying to talk to him about what had happened.”
The person making the racist remarks — which were confirmed by one of Mr Lenton’s co-workers — continues to work at the site but Mr Lenton was shifted to a lower-paid job offsite, and has since left ISS.
BP spokesman Chandran Vigneswaran said ISS had not informed his company of the allegations of bullying and racism, and BP would investigate. “We are not treating this lightly,” he said.
BP was not aware of Mr McNamara’s background as a disgraced policeman.
“It was the first we heard of it. We’re very concerned,” Mr Vigneswaran said.
Despite losing his security licence for a year in 2000, Mr McNamara was able to obtain aviation security clearance credentials.
He was working as an ISS divisional director at Melbourne Airport until his background was exposed by the Herald-Sun in October.
Mr McNamara was sacked by Victoria Police after not attending a disciplinary hearing on the charges against him or presenting evidence to defend himself.