Joanne McCarthy, Newcastle Herald reporter, admitted in the Newcastle Supreme Court that NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell had summoned her for a “bizarre” request that “threw” her off and made her wish she was not there.
Ms. McCarthy said that the Commissioner requested for some tips on how to handle allegations of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church’s Maitland-Newcastle diocese. She said that during the meeting, the Commissioner probed for names and numbers of all the abused victims.
Ms. McCarthy thinks that the “bizarre” request was provoked by a prior incident when she encouraged a sexual abuse victim to give a statement to the Commissioner. During the incident, she called for the victim to “get angry with him” referring to how the inquiring police handled the victim.
Ms. McCarthy also admitted flinching over accusations that she was “in league” with priest child abuse whistleblower Detective Chief Inspector Fox or that her “alliance” made her took his side exclusively. She strongly denied allegations that she supported Inspector Fox’s “agenda against certain police.” She made it clear that her primary objective was “get the victims looked after.”
Ms. McCarthy was dubbed as “the genesis” of the child sexual abuse cases. She was awarded a national award for her work on child sexual abuse involving Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Diocese.”
Ms. McCarthy was dragged under the scrutiny of the police because whistleblower Chief Inspector Peter Fox described her as his “informant.” Mr. Fox claimed that the church hid cases of child sexual abuse from the police. Mr. Fox said that the church did not cooperate with the investigations. Consequently, his own investigations about the cases were shut down by the police department.
Detective Sergeant Geoffrey Little, who was then tasked to prove the church’s cover-up alleged that Mr. Fox had “ridden on a saddle of lies” with his own investigations. And that he was “absolutely mortified” that Mr. Fox went with his investigation claiming that Strike Force Lantle, the force tasked to investigate on the cover-up, was a “sham” and “set up to fail.”
At this point, the investigating police discovered a draft of a report from Mr. Fox sent to Ms. McCarthy. The said report had details about the sexual abuse allegations intended to be submitted to the police’s regional office but he only intended for Ms. McCarthy to help him with “grammar or amendments.”
When the “correspondence” between Mr. Fox and Ms. McCarthy was discovered, Mr. Fox continued to communicate with her despite instructions not to contact the journalist again. He wrote her a letter saying that the “pricks can shove it.” And then there was an email from him sent to Ms. McCarthy instructing him to eliminate the entire email trail between which Ms. McCarthy was not able to follow. As a journalist, she said, “you don’t get rid of things.”
As for her alleged “alliance” with Mr. Fox, she admitted that Mr. Fox did tell her about Father McAlinden’s suspected abuse of a child and that a warrant for the priest was already made. She said that most of the police she encountered before “faced hurdles” when investigating cases of paedophile priests but Mr. Fox showed a “different approach”. According to Ms. Mccarthy, “he was keen” and he had “jumped the hurdle.”
Source: International Business Times