Thursday, September 18, 2014

My conscience is clear - PART 5 - Facebook message causes collateral damage

It was not our intention to run the Australian Salvation Army children abuse stories indefinitely. However, stories that relate directly to Salvation Army officers accused of abuse or cover-up, that have not already been told, we believe hold a unique and special interest to active and former SA officers alike.

Here then is one such SA officer story. 

FSAOF
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Salvo officer accused woman of blowing whistle on husband's child sex abuse: royal commission hears
Date
April 14, 2014
Court Reporter


Lieutenant-Colonel Kerry Haggar: denied intimidation. 

A senior Salvation Army officer, whose husband, also an officer, sexually assaulted a young girl, later sent an accusatory Facebook message to a whistleblower, the royal commission into child-sex abuse has heard.

Lieutenant-Colonel Kerry Haggar denied she was trying to intimidate the whistleblower just weeks before the woman was due to give evidence at the commissions' public hearings into abuse within the Salvation Army.
Colonel Haggar, formerly a member of the Salvation Army's senior cabinet, broke down while giving evidence before the royal commission on Monday.

Lieutenant-Colonel Kerry Haggar, pictured in a screen shot from the public live stream of the royal commission's hearings.

She apologised for sending the message to (SA) Captain Michelle White, who had gone to the Office of the Children's Guardian and the Ombudsman in 2013 and reported that Colonel Haggar's husband, Colin Haggar, had assaulted a young girl in 1989.

"I'm incredibly sorry and I'd like to reiterate publicly to Michelle my apologies for sending that," Colonel Haggar said, after describing the message as "unwise".
"It was - sorry. It was a very personal reaction out of my own distress."

The message was sent just two weeks before Captain White was due to give evidence before the commission.

It attacked Captain White for blowing the whistle about her husband's behaviour and the subsequent failure of the Salvation Army hierarchy to act.

"The chain of events you have set in place have caused devastation and considerable pain to many innocent people," Colonel Haggar said in the message.

Colin Haggar assaulted the girl on at least one occasion but has never been charged and was stood down only last month after the royal commission's hearings had begun.

The commission has previously heard that, after the abuse, Haggar admitted it to the girl's mother.

Colin Haggar claims that he then confessed the assault to the police some years later and that he was told by officers that nothing could be done.

However, the state of NSW, which is represented at the commission, denies such a confession was ever made.

On Monday, the chairman of the royal commission, Justice Peter McClellan, put it to Kerry Haggar that the message she sent to Captain White was "very serious", alluding to the fact that attempting to intimidate a witness at the royal commission was a criminal offence.

Colonel Haggar denied she was attempting to intimidate her colleague.

"I didn't at the time, but only since when Michelle gave evidence at the royal commission, I realised that it could be viewed as intimidatory and potentially a criminal offence," she said.

"I wasn't aware of that at the time. "There was no intention to intimidate."

Colonel Haggar told the commission that she had been stood down from her role as the head of business administration for the Salvation Army and had been told that she would not be returning to that role.

The hearing continues.


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why was Col. Haggard not in full Salvation Army uniform when testifying before the Royal commission? And why was she not allowed to return to the business administration appointment?

Will she now be demoted as a result of her ethical infractions?

Former officer

Anonymous said...

'Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive'?

Sir Walter Scott records these lines in Canto VI, Stanza 17 of "Marmion" (1808), an epic poem about the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513.

The meaning is, basically, that covering one's arse with lies beget more lies, and that masking lies with more lies creates an ever-more-complex arrangement of falsehoods. Should be added to the O&R for SA officers.

London

Leonard Johnson said...

Thank you for running these stories Sven, all soldiers and officers, need know what has been happening. While I can understand Lieutenant-Colonel Kerry Haggers motives in sending a Facebook message to Captain Michelle White, because her husband Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Hagger was accused of and admitted having assaulted a young girl in 1989, it certainly is a borderline case and close to a criminal action. “The chairman of the royal commission, Justice Peter McClellan, put it to (Lieutenant-Colonel) Kerry Haggar that the message she sent to Captain White was 'very serious', alluding to the fact that attempting to intimidate a witness at the royal commission was a criminal offence.” I am reminded of the words of the General when he said: “we're going to be tough on cases where abuse is perpetrated …. I hope that we will never be a people who primarily seek to protect the reputation of The Salvation Army, rather I pray that we will be a people who do the right thing consistently the reputation of the Army will then take care of itself.” I wonder if Lieutenant-Colonels Colin and Kerry Hagger have had any serious repercussions from the Army leadership? A most distressing story for all salvationists through out the world.

Anonymous said...

'"The chain of events you have set in place have caused devastation and considerable pain to many innocent people," Colonel Haggar said'
This is rather self-serving, insensitive and selfish, considering the unimaginable pain suffered by the victims.

Anonymous said...

No need to apologize!