Right this moment, after a prolonged investigation by information.com.au and the Herald SolarAustralia has discovered the horrific story of Kaye Maher – a 60-year-old girl who has been combating for justice since she was 14 years outdated.
Her case strongly highlights each the failings of the prison justice system and the necessity for pressing reform.
Appallingly, on the age of 14, Kaye had already been sexually abused by an prolonged relative in Bendigo. It’s appalling that when she thought she was pregnant because of the abuse, she visited Dr. David Frederick Miller, however as an alternative of supporting her in her weak state, Miller instructed Kaye he would “train her the best way to have intercourse with out getting pregnant” – then proceeds to sexually assault her.
And it’s stunning that that is solely the start of this horror story.
As a result of Kaye Maher wasn’t Miller’s solely and even first sufferer. Right this moment we study that Miller has been discovered to have sexually assaulted no less than 11 sufferers and group members, some as younger as 5 or 10 years outdated, as of this month.
At the least two have been teenage ladies who had come to him as sufferers looking for assist in the aftermath of sexual abuse.
Examine Kaye Maher’s combat for justice right here
And but after Kaye first reported to police in 1992, she was dismissed, instructed it was “not within the public curiosity” to pursue the case, regardless of Miller’s present conviction for sexually abusing one other weak 13-year-old affected person.
Much more disturbing, when Kaye’s case was ultimately reopened after much more victims got here ahead, the decide dismissed the trial in 1997 after Miller argued that he couldn’t be anticipated to defend himself since he had misplaced or destroyed all of his affected person information.
However what occurred subsequent is solely beggars.
When Kaye contacted the Bendigo clinic that had held the information in query to find out when and the way they have been destroyed, she found that not solely did they nonetheless exist (and he or she was given a duplicate the subsequent enterprise day), however there was no file of anybody – together with police, prosecution or courtroom personnel – who has ever made an inquiry or utility into their existence.
It was left to Kaye to go to the clinic herself to gather a signed copy of her personal medical file, written by the identical hand that had abused her physique years earlier.
It was left to Kaye to current the proof to the police earlier than lodging a grievance with the Moral Requirements Division and later the Ombudsman.
And earlier this yr it was left to Kaye to look in courtroom – supported by the #LetHerSpeak marketing campaign – to oppose Miller’s utility for a 10-year restraining order which might have silenced Kaye till she was 70, and he, if he was nonetheless alive, was in his life. The 90s.
Though Miller ultimately pleaded responsible to abusing Kaye – a full 30 years after he dedicated it – he obtained solely six months in jail for that abuse and the sexual abuse of two different teenage sufferers he additionally abused in his workplace.
Not that the DPP was in any respect involved in regards to the quick sentence. The truth is, they didn’t contest when his protection counsel really helpful a completely suspended sentence for what at present could be the equal of three counts of rape.
And at present we study the ultimate insult.
This yr, throughout three particular hearings, three juries discovered Miller had dedicated an extra 13 offenses towards seven extra victims.
Nonetheless, resulting from his declining psychological and bodily capability, he can’t and won’t be sentenced to jail. As an alternative, he’ll reside out his days in freedom in a NSW aged care facility funded by Kaye and different taxpayers.
When Kaye first contacted me together with her story a couple of years in the past, we have been unable to report because of the upcoming lawsuits.
Right this moment, with all non-publication orders lastly lifted, Kaye is ready to inform her story on her phrases: a full 46 years later.
The truth is, in practically 20 years of reporting sexual abuse, I’ve by no means truly come throughout such a righteous failure.
I’ve additionally by no means met a survivor with so many paperwork. Folders upon folders, each listening to, grievance, response letter recorded – a treasure trove for an investigative journalist – but in addition a tragic cache of a long time of distress, trauma and extended engagement with a system that failed Kaye in each approach.
What saddened me probably the most, nevertheless, was the isolation and loneliness captured in these paperwork.
As a result of Kaye Maher has not solely needed to run this course of, she has typically needed to run it alone.
And whereas her case is on the acute finish of systemic failure, the themes it captures resonate throughout lots of the survivor tales I hear in regards to the prison justice system: lengthy delays; complicated selections; radio silence; a rotating solid of authorized actors; fixed uncertainty and isolation all through.
And it is not shocking that victims typically really feel the identical approach they did throughout the abuse itself: powerless, unvoiced, helpless and confused.
And whereas Kaye Maher is a fighter and a survivor, the easy reality is that she can be hurting as a result of we, as a society, failed Kaye Maher.
If we’re to honor her story and her braveness to talk out now, we have to reform the techniques that harmed her – and Miller’s different victims – and in doing so, we have to be certain that survivors are supported all through the prison justice appeals course of . earlier than, throughout and after.
No, Kaye should not have needed to collect her personal proof and it is offensive that she did.
Nor ought to she have been anticipated to study to navigate a system and maintain it to account when that system was supposed to carry her perpetrator accountable.
However now that she has, absolutely it’s as much as all of us to make sure that a case like Kaye Maher’s by no means occurs once more?
It’s undoubtedly as much as us to make these adjustments and assure they’re everlasting.
That is the justice Kaye Maher deserves now.
Click on right here to donate to the #LetHerSpeak marketing campaign which has supported Kaye Maher.
Nina Funnell is a Walkley Award-winning journalist and creator of the #LetHerSpeak marketing campaign.
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Initially printed as Ultimate insult for 14-year-old sexually abused by physician