September 24, 2014 Comments Off on Child abuse inquiry told of sexual assaults, beatings in Darwin home
Child abuse inquiry told of sexual assaults, beatings in Darwin home
Commission is hearing from members of the stolen generations who say they were abused in the Northern Territory
Helen Davidson theguardian.com, Monday 22 September 2014
Indigenous children were beaten, sexually assaulted, stripped and chained to beds, and forced to eat their own vomit, it has been alleged at the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse on Monday.
The 17th public hearing of the royal commission began hearing from members of the stolen generations who say they were sexually abused at a Darwin home.
It’s examining how the government and administrators responded to the allegations of child sexual abuse by employees at the Retta Dixon home between 1946 and 1980, when it closed.
Retta Dixon was one of the main government-run homes for children of mixed Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal descent forcibly removed from their families. Established by Christian missionaries in the 1930s, it also housed unmarried mothers and their babies, and temporary visitors. At its peak it held 120 people, according to the federal government’s 1997 Bringing Them Home report….
It is the first time the commission has held a hearing in the Northern Territory. It is also the first public hearing to predominantly involve Indigenous people.
A number of Aboriginal women gave evidence at the inquiry into the Parramatta Girls Home and Hay Institute.
Of all the people who have contacted the commission, 827 (18%) are Indigenous, the chief commissioner, Peter McClellan, said as he opened the public hearing on Monday morning.
He added that 9% of people coming to private sessions are from Aboriginal communities.
The inquiry into the Retta Dixon home is expected to run for about two weeks.
Judge sentences Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro to life, plus 1,000 years, Diaries kept by Ariel Castro’s captives paint picture of torment, trauma, Aboriginal children used in medical tests, commissioner says
August 2, 2013 Comments Off on Judge sentences Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro to life, plus 1,000 years, Diaries kept by Ariel Castro’s captives paint picture of torment, trauma, Aboriginal children used in medical tests, commissioner says
Judge sentences Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro to life, plus 1,000 years By Drew Griffin, Chelsea J. Carter and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Thu August 1, 2013
Cleveland (CNN) — In handing down a sentence of life in prison plus 1,000 years to Ariel Castro, an Ohio judge told the kidnapper on Thursday that there was no place in the world for his brand of criminal.
Castro pleaded guilty to 937 counts, including murder and kidnapping, in connection with the kidnapping and abuse of Michelle Knight, Georgina DeJesus and Amanda Berry, whom he held captive for a decade in his Cleveland home. As part of the plea deal, the death penalty was taken off the table.
“You don’t deserve to be out in our community,” Cuyahoga County Judge Michael Russo said after an hours-long hearing in which Castro, at times, appeared to defend his actions. “You’re too dangerous.”
In his oft-disjointed statement to the court, Castro referred to himself as “very emotional” and “a happy person inside.”
Despite his repeated insistence that he wasn’t making excuses for his conduct, Castro played the victim….
Russo handed down the stiffest sentence allowed as part of the deal after investigators, psychologists and one of the victims painted a horrifying picture of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of Castro, including brutal beatings and repeated rapes that resulted in pregnancies that he would terminate by punching the women in the stomach.
All three women kept diaries, with Castro’s permission, that provided many of the details of their abuse….
In a pre-sentencing evaluation, Dr. Frank Ochberg, a pioneer in trauma science, wrote that Knight suffered “the longest and most severely.”
“It was Michelle who served as doctor, nurse, midwife and pediatrician during the birth (of Berry’s child). She breathed life into that infant when she wasn’t breathing,” he wrote. “At other times, she interceded when Castro sought to abuse Gina, interposing herself and absorbing physical and sexual trauma. But each survivor had a will to prevail and used that will to live through the ordeal.”….
Wearing eyeglasses and an orange prison uniform, the shackled Castro characterized his crimes in a far gentler light than did the book-length indictment against him: “I’m not a violent person. I simply kept them there so they couldn’t leave.”
Testimony from authorities and mental health experts didn’t jibe with Castro’s recollection, however. Police recalled how the women were forced to play Russian roulette and how Castro would throw money at them after raping them….
Diaries kept by Ariel Castro’s captives paint picture of torment, trauma
By Emma Lacey-Bordeaux , CNN Thu August 1, 2013
(CNN) — Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus weren’t in the Cleveland courtroom Thursday for the sentencing of their captor, Ariel Castro. But their words, recorded in diaries, gave authorities a window into the horror they suffered for a decade.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty wrote about the diaries in a sentencing memo. Berry, DeJesus and Michelle Knight did “everything humanly possible to retain a sense of normalcy” McGinty said, including marking the passage of time through written diaries.
The diaries provide further details of the women’s life and torment. McGinty reveals that one diary’s descriptions of abuse provided evidence his office used for many of the specific counts against Castro.
Castro has pleaded guilty to 937 counts of kidnapping, rape and murder. Diaries kept by the women contain descriptions of these crimes, including sexual abuse, being locked in a dark room and being chained to a wall. McGinty says other entries contain anticipation of abuse yet to come, including Castro’s death threats. But the diaries also showed traces of hope, including “the dreams of someday escaping and being reunited with family.”
Amanda Berry’s entries focused on her mother, according to psychiatrist Frank Ochberg’s assessment of the women’s captivity as part of the sentencing statement. Ochberg, an expert in trauma, wrote that the diaries showed the women’s “will to prevail.”….
Aboriginal children used in medical tests, commissioner says
Truth and Reconciliation Commission seeks further documentation on tests
CBC News Jul 31, 2013
Aboriginal Canadians were not only subjected to nutritional experiments by the federal government in the 1940s and 1950s but were also used as medical test subjects, says the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
In an interview with CBC Radio’s All Points West on Tuesday, Justice Murray Sinclair told host Jo-Ann Roberts that commission staff has “seen the documents that relate to the experiments that were conducted in residential schools.”
Other documents related to experimentation in aboriginal communities outside of residential schools have not yet been obtained, Sinclair said.
“We do know that there were research initiatives that were conducted with regard to medicines that were used ultimately to treat the Canadian population. Some of those medicines were tested in aboriginal communities and residential schools before they were utilized publicly.”
Sinclair said some of those medicines developed were then withheld from the same aboriginal children they were originally tested on….
The residential schools system, which ran from the 1870s until the 1990s, removed about 150,000 aboriginal children from their families and sent them to church-run schools under a deliberate policy of “civilizing” First Nations.
Many students were physically, mentally and sexually abused. Some committed suicide. Mortality rates reached 50 per cent at some schools….