By Miranda Wood And Martin Chulov
8 August 1999
The Police Integrity Commission is probing a shocking series of allegations that pedophiles have been protected by police and officials entrusted to care for the children.
Police have uncovered evidence of central coast sites used in satanic rituals, to which drawings made by children who claim to have been abused, bear an eerie resemblance.
One mother's traumatised child tells of adult groups hanging him from a cross, killing animals, performing sexual acts on cult members and watching orgies.
A child from a separate family, who does not know the other child, tells an identical story.
The Sun-Herald has seen evidence of the rituals.
One mother, Genevieve, who has fought a four-year campaign to have authorities probe her claims said her case was similar to 33 other cases reported to the Department of Community Services. Medical evidence has proved that both Genevieve's children have been abused.
"I'm coming across more and more women who tell the same story," she said.
"I've spent years trying to get help for my children, but there are people who don't want this to come out.
"As he comes to feel safer he has given more detailed explanations of what has happened to him and his brother.
"They held laser lights in their eyes to disorientate them. They were locked in basements and they had to watch each other being abused. He couldn't have possibly made all of this up."
Genevieve said the boys had told her the names of those who assaulted them and they could recall seeing at least 30 people at rituals in the bush.
She said she believed the cult's rituals had been passed through generations of satanic covens.
"My son can recognise members in the street and he even knows their names," she said.
The children called the bushland site "the woods".
"They would take long walks through the bush and it was always at night. The ceremonies were held at night," Genevieve said.
The drawings by each child also show the same violent acts and symbols used by the cult. One of the symbols Genevieve's son drew was the same symbol on the ceremonial table police have taken a photo of at the bushland site.
Genevieve said the children were afraid to tell of the ritualistic abuse after cult members threatened to kill them and their mothers.
Cult members also told them a bomb in their stomach would explode if the truth was revealed - a trait associated with worldwide satanic covens.
Genevieve said her son could also remember being drugged and hypnotised.
"He said they dressed in black robes and had eye and mouth pieces cut out," she said.
"I know they're pretty dangerous people. I have had warnings outside the house telling me to stop investigations. We're fearful for our lives. The boys never want me out of their sight."
She is now battling to let the truth come out and protect other children from a fate similar to that of her sons.
Genevieve said: "It's an absolute nightmare. You try to get help and you have the door slammed in your face repeatedly. I'd do anything to stop this from happening again.
"After a while they make you feel as though you dreamed it all up. The laws and the attitudes need to change."
BREAKING FREE FROM CULT.
By MARK DUNN.
10 November 2000
Hidden off winding hillside roads among the ferns and lush forests, the area is a hotbed of harmless new-age religions, Christian splinter groups and mystic beliefs.
But there is also evidence the mountain region harbors a dangerous satanic cult that has been exploiting its young members for decades.
A network of families known as the Organisation or the Group, the cult is said to be a highly secretive body consisting of generations of adherents.
Herald Sun reporter MARK DUNN spoke to three women who claimed to have broken free from the sect but continue to be haunted by its memory. BEATRICE BEATRICE, 45, said her parents were in the cult, as were her grandparents. In turn, so were her own children.
Her father is now dead and her elderly mother lives in Gippsland.
She said that up until her late 20s she had been living in a dream, believing hers was a normal family.
"I didn't realise what was going on, because of the programming, up until eight or nine years ago," she said.
"I had bugger-all memory of my childhood, but my mother was a very violent woman. My father was a bit of a puppet.
"It was the only family I ever had, and what makes it harder to bear is that there were actually good times.
"It took a while to realise what had actually happened.
"The whole idea was to confuse us as kids and make it as unbelievable as possible, so if we ever went for help, no one would believe us.
"They told us, no matter where you go and what you do, we will see you and we will know."
Beatrice said she had gone to police but had been met with total disbelief.
Like the other women, Beatrice questioned the purpose of the bizarre ritualism linked to The Group.
"Do they really believe that, or is it just an excuse to abuse kids?" LORNA
LORNA, now in her mid 30s, spent most of her childhood in a northern Melbourne suburb.
On weekends, her father, a teacher, would take her for "meetings" at fellow cult members' houses in the Dandenongs and at outlying properties in other country areas.
She claims to have been sexually abused and prostituted.
"They hired or rented girls out, girls under 12," she says.
Years later, she complained to police of being raped by her father.
She says she did not raise allegations of abuse by the cult or of child prostitution and pornography because she thought she would not be believed.
Police told her the allegations against her father were too dated, hard to prove and she would do better to get on with her life.
"I was told I was in the wrong place at the wrong time," she says.
Lorna's sister committed suicide at 36.
"They (the cult) had been getting at her," she says.
Lorna claims to have witnessed human sacrifices, often corresponding with Easter.
She was drugged and subjected to hypnotism before and after being sexually assaulted.
She says she grew up expecting to be abused and was never surprised by it. MIRANDA
MIRANDA, 29, like other victims, claimed to have been born into the sect.
"The abuse for me was a childhood full of terror and pain.
"I was abused in every way possible and witnessed other children being abused," she said.
The Group focused on child sex and surrounded their activities with satanism and ritual to confuse those being abused, she said.
As a child Miranda said she was swapped between sect members and sexually abused at a number of houses and bushland sites in the Dandenongs.
Miranda escaped at 19, six months after the birth of her son. She took the boy with her and lived an itinerant life on Melbourne's streets.
Miranda said she was interviewed by police but, like some other victims, feared reprisals from the sect and fled interstate.
Her life started again with tertiary qualifications and she is now a trauma counsellor.
She said two of her sisters, aged 18 and 23, committed suicide as a result of abuse.
"This group is part of a larger network with contacts interstate and overseas.
"This has been going on for a long time."
FATHER FACES CHARGES IN BIZARRE SEX ABUSE CASE.
30 April 2000
Last week the Sunday Star-Times revealed the girls' mother and step-father, who work among children, had been charged with 24 sexual offences against the woman's two daughters, now in their 20s.
The detective in charge of the case has confirmed the father has been charged with 10 sexual offences including sexual violation by rape. His case would be heard separately.
The mother and step-father were facing charges of abuse spanning from January 1984 to 1991. They include rape and indecent assault. They were to appear in court for a pre-depositions hearing in two weeks. They have denied the charges and have their names suppressed. The father has been charged with offences between 1981-1988.
The three adults were arrested following complaints laid by the two girls. They told police they feared for the couple's young child.
Child, Youth and Family has said it was keeping an eye on the child's well-being.
It is alleged the girls were often forced to watch their mother and step-father have sex.
The girls told police that when they were aged 8 and 10 they were placed on tables as part of a ritual involving several adults dressed in black. A line of red candle wax was placed on one of the girls' foreheads before her step-father raped her.
It is alleged on one occasion the older girl was not allowed dinner until she performed oral sex on her step-father.
Alleged abuse relating to the father is said to have happened when the girls went to stay with their father at weekends.
The Sunday Star-Times cannot say where the couple is from or reveal any further details for legal reasons.