The Independent Inquiry Into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) in the UK, often called the Goddard Inquiry after its chairperson, Judge Lowell Goddard, may need to find a new name. Last week it was reported that Judge Goddard resigned from her post, making her the third chairperson to leave off the Inquiry.
Note, this Inquiry is different than the Charity Commission Inquiry against Jehovah’s Witnesses, the lead investigator of which is Jonathan Sanders. The IICSA was set up to investigate a wide range of child sex abuse cases in the UK, including those involving media personalities, clergy, and even politicians. The Charity Commission is set up to investigate individual charitable institutes as complaints are received against them. The Charity Commission Inquiry is still moving forward with their investigation into the Watchtower Society in the UK, and you can visit that link above for the latest news. To learn more about the IICSA or Goddard Inquiry and its timeline, visit this news story.
This latest setback is not a good sign for this particular inquiry; as said, Goddard is the third person to step down from being the chair. The two previous chairpersons stepped down for having connections, albeit distant ones, to previous inquiries and possible ties to those who needed investigating. Goddard is rumored to have been forced out after spending 70 days overseas in the last year, either on holiday or “working” from her home country of New Zealand. She is also rumored to have said that she did not have a clear enough understanding of UK law to head the inquiry.
I cannot begin to describe my frustration and, dare I say, outright disgust at this matter. This inquiry started around 2012-2013 because it was discovered that certain public personalities in the UK had many sexual abuse victims. During the year or so while the inquiry got underway, there were some 2000 alleged victims who came forward with reports against MPs and local councils, among others. Despite this obvious need to dig further into the scourge of child sex abuse that seemed to plague every part of British society, each successive chairperson assigned to get this investigation underway has proven to be unreliable if not outright reckless in their handling of their responsibilities. I cannot imagine taking 70 days away from such an important job while child abuse victims are waiting for some type of hearing, much less justice for their abuse. This negligent conduct must also simply enforce the outright arrogance of many pedophiles, who feel they can quite rightly do as they please and easily get away with their abuse of children. A lawyer who represents a number of alleged victims of one individual to be investigated during the inquiry said, in part:
“This is a disaster. This will set everything back. My clients will feel very let down by somebody in a position of authority in whom they had invested their trust.”
Yes, being let down by persons in positions of authority in whom they invest their trust is just part and parcel for most child sex abuse victims, isn’t it? During the Australian Royal Commission Inquiry into Jehovah’s Witnesses, one victim interviewed discussed how elders told her that she needed to speak to her rapist first, her own father, on her own, before they could help her, and threatened those victims with disfellowshipping (excommunication) if they were to report matters to the police. They stated how those elders grilled them mercilessly, asking them if they enjoyed their molestation at all, making them feel as if it was their fault.
Not one case in the Australian RC was reported to police by the elders; they let the victims do that on their own, despite their young ages and delicate emotional states. My friend Bo Juel was yelled at when he asked his own stepfather why the man who molested him wasn’t going to jail, and was lied to his face, being told that he was at fault and not that his parents were putting the religion’s reputation over his well-being when they withdrew their complaint against his rapist.
I would wonder if the chairpersons who are so neglectful of their duties think of these things when they decide to treat this type of position as their own personal playground, happy to take their salaries and holidays while neglecting those children for whom they’re supposed to be working. As with Jehovah’s Witnesses, I would wonder if they ever think about the other children who are in danger when their allegations of pedophilia are not handled properly:
Even in the online community of ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, we have supposed activists silencing the victims by squelching stories with journalists and spreading misinformation about the status of other inquiries. In other words, there is always, always something more important than the feelings and stories of those victims, be that ego, days off, connections to those being investigated, the reputation of your religion, the position a molester has in your church or society in general, or whatever else.
I don’t have answers for the victims; I hope that those responsible for the inquiry will take swift action and find someone to fill this vacancy who sees the need for this inquiry to move forward fairly but in a timely fashion. After all, the child abuse victims who have come forward to them have been through enough already; there is no excuse, absolutely none, for this consistent failure to offer them the protection they need and the justice they deserve.
In other news, I really, really miss Angus Stewart.
I will keep this site updated with developing news on this inquiry as much as possible.
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