They destroyed Denis Ryan's police career. Now they admit he was right all alon
- Category: Crucified Paedophile Whistleblowers
- Created: Friday, 12 August 2016 14:17
- Written by John Silvester - The Age
They destroyed Denis Ryan's police career. Now they admit he was right all along.
On the ground floor of the Victoria Police Centre is the Honour Board For Courage that lists the names of nearly 500 police who risked their lives in the line of duty. But in policing there are two types of courage. There is the instinctive act of physical bravery and the moral type that requires the strength of character to uphold the law when pressured to compromise. Speaking in Sydney on New Year's Day, Mr Turnbull reiterated his view that the issue would best be revived when the reign of the Queen, who is 91, ends. When former policeman Denis Ryan walked in to meet present Chief Commissioner, Graham Ashton, he knew his name would never appear on the honour board, although he is a hero who was prepared to sacrifice his career on a point of principle.
He refused to buckle when his bosses wanted him to ignore a paedophile priest and then was hounded from the job in a conspiracy that many believe went all the way to the chief commissioner's office.
Former policeman Denis Ryan receives a formal apology from Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton over child abuse cases he worked on. Photo: Eddie Jim
Now, 44 years after he was forced to resign because he cared more for children than his professional future, he has been vindicated in the very office where his career was destroyed.
It was only a few words and a handshake but when Ashton formally apologised on behalf of the police force it was the final vindication for a man who refused to be crushed by two powerful institutions.
"Denis wouldn't look the other way. He acted with propriety and courage and it is a testament to his character. We can't right the wrongs of history but we can acknowledge and learn from them," Ashton said last week.
So why was an honest cop hounded from office for trying to do his job? First we must look back to a time where the police force was poisoned by secular interests and some cops put church before duty.
Denis Ryan reads from his prepared statement. Photo: Eddie Jim
Senior Detective Ryan was a staunch Catholic who transferred to Mildura not so much for the career opportunity but for family reasons after a doctor advised his son's asthma would improve in a drier climate.
In 1971, St Joseph's College vice-principal John Howden contacted Ryan to tell him that Monsignor John Day had molested a young female student, adding that Ryan shouldn't tell his immediate boss, Detective Sergeant Jim Barritt.
Barritt was Catholic, a mate of Day's, a control freak and a member of a loose cartel of cops known as the "Catholic Mafia" who protected priests accused of crimes. These police were traitors who covered for serial paedophiles, allowing them to continue to destroy the lives of countless children.
Ryan began his investigation and easily found a dozen boys and girls who had been molested. This was not a hard case, as Day was so arrogant he hardly bothered to cover his tracks, believing he was a protected species. Soon Ryan had formal statements from the victims and it was clear the Monsignor was a monster.
Ryan hoped that when he presented his evidence to Barritt's superiors they would have no choice but to support Day's prosecution. He was wrong, naively believing duty, honour and evidence would defeat the white anting by the Catholic Mafia. Yet it was Ryan rather than Barritt and Day who was attacked, with the detective told he had breached the chain of command, then ordered to drop the case.
It would have been easy for Ryan to just follow orders but he thought of the victims and knew that if Day was not stopped the offending would continue. "It was all swept under the carpet. I took 12 statements and I could have taken 100," he recalled.
Monsignor John Day, paedophile and senior priest in the Ballarat Diocese. Photo: Andrew Brooks
When Ryan refused to stop senior police begrudgingly conducted an investigation that had Barritt's fingerprints all over it and although he was Day's close mate he sat in on the priest's interview in what was a clear conflict of interest.
The final report was so inept it had to be fixed. It concluded that there was "insufficient evidence to prosecute Day, yet found he'd "misconducted himself".
Day was at first defended then finally moved by Bishop Ronald Mulkearns but only when the allegations threatened to become public. Mulkearns died earlier this year in disgrace after he was found to have protected paedophile priests including the notorious Father Gerald Ridsdale.
Even though the doctored police report effectively vindicated Ryan his career was doomed from the moment he refused to join the conspiracy. Rather than confront the truth senior police, right to the office of then chief commissioner Reg Jackson, declared this was a personality clash between two headstrong detectives.
Former chief commissioner Mick Miller, former policeman Denis Ryan and Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton. Photo: Eddie Jim
And so in 1972 Barritt was transferred to Echuca, which was no big deal, while Ryan was ordered back to Melbourne – a move senior police knew he could not make because of his son's health. He was effectively forced to resign, which meant they rid themselves of the honest cop and protected the cover-up artist.
Over the years there were attempts to have Ryan's case reviewed but each time senior police supported the bogus "clash between colleagues" line.
Then Ryan found an ally he had not previously met, former chief commissioner Mick Miller, who had been a senior officer at the time of the case. Miller at the time was assured by senior colleagues he considered his friends that it was a simple conflict that had been managed correctly. "You can only be betrayed by the people you trust," he now says.
Long after he retired Miller read Ryan's account in the book Unholy Trinity and realised he had been kept in the dark while the Mildura detective's career was destroyed. Last year he told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse there had been "misconduct by senior Victoria Police officers, including dereliction of duty, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and inciting other members of the police force to join the conspiracy against Denis Ryan in order to conceal the crimes committed by Day".
Ryan told the hearing "I knew that if I resigned from the force I would lose my police and emergency services pension, which was significant, and all my benefits. I would also lose a job that had previously been my life. However, I knew that if I resigned and stayed in Mildura, my voice would still be heard.
"In the early days, I had nightmares of Monsignor Day raping kids and the way the police force had condoned these offences."
Ashton had also read Unholy Trinity but it was at Miller's urging he decided to call for the files and see for himself. With no skin in the game he could see the obvious, that a decent policeman had been railroaded for doing his duty.
It would have been easy for Ashton to consign the story to history but to his credit he decided to take action. To do anything less would have been hypocritical as he has been publicly scathing of institutions that supported a cover-up culture, once telling a state parliamentary inquiry: "The processes of the Catholic Church are designed to put the reputation of the church first and the victims second."
"If you call out other organisations then you have to call out your own. Society's greatest duty is to care for our children," he told Fairfax Media.
At a private morning tea attended by senior police, Mick Miller, and a group of men who lobbied for Ryan over the years, Ashton turned to the retired detective and said: "Denis, you were right and your commitment has been outstanding".
Police Association Assistant Secretary Bruce McKenzie also apologised, acknowledging they should have done more to defend Ryan.
But last week's meeting with Ryan was more than a cup of tea and an apology: the very admission means the force will pay the former detective some form of compensation for the past wrong.
Ryan, now 84, read from a prepared statement thanking Ashton for being "forthright and frank", adding: "In my day as a detective, I became aware and indeed had my career roughly ended by some of the most senior members of the force who had a distorted sense of loyalty to other institutions.
"That failure led to what I have described as an epidemic of clerical child sex abuse in Victoria. That the Catholic Church covered up and engaged in criminal conspiracies brings great shame on that institution. But the failures of policing in pursuit of that distorted sense of loyalty led one victim to become two, to become 10 and awfully and finally for the number of victims to become too large to count.
"My own circumstances have been distinctly grim since I left the force but as dark as some of those days have been, they have no parallel with those forced to endure the pain and suffering of sexual abuse. What makes it worse and haunts my dreams to this day, is that if we as a police force did what were we were supposed to do, what we were charged to do, what we took an oath to do, so much of that pain and suffering would not exist today."
Out of this dark episode there is a shard of light. Ryan has agreed to video his story so serving police looking at ethics and integrity will see that courage can come from sticking to your guns as much as using one in times of physical danger.
Source : http://www.theage.com.au/national/they-destroyed-denis-ryans-police-career-now-they-admit-he-was-right-all-along-20160811-gqq1x2.html