We’ve always maintained that a person who allows pedophiles to perpetrate their vile acts is no better than the perverts themselves, and perhaps even worse.

The depraved monsters who maul kids are driven by an incurable compulsion, a sickness that pervades their very being that results in evil oozing from their every pore. They  cannot and will not stop being predators, for there is a switch loose in their heads that has turned them into terrible monsters that cannot be redeemed.

Their protectors on the other hand are not driven by some devil within, and seem to the naked eye to be normal people. They are often high achievers, success focused leaders in their fields, which is usually in an industry or organisation that deals with children, which means that the imperative to protect kids safety should in normal circumstances be the thread that flows through everything they do.

These people should be the last on earth to turn a blind eye to predators in their midst, the last to ignore allegations of pedophile assaults against children being perpetrated by someone in their organisation, the last to cover up the crimes. After all, if the guards don’t protect children from criminals then who will protect them from the guards?

In the case of the nationally renowned children’s charity Make a Wish the answer is not the Board of Directors that’s for sure, because they were warned by the It’s Not Normal team a year ago that they had a pedophile protector – a facilitator of crimes against children – not not just inside their organisation, but in fact leading it.

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And what did the Make a Wish directors do?

Nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

The protector of pedophiles – a man named Gerard Menses, the CEO of Make a Wish – was allowed to continue dealing with vulnerable children on a daily basis, and allowed to remain the chief of staff responsible for the hundreds of employees and volunteers interacting one on one with kids, despite the fact that damning sworn evidence had come to light at the Child Abuse Royal Commission that strongly suggested that he had covered up pedophilia while working in his previous role as the boss of the church owned charity Anglicare.

It wasn’t just the board either. Our writer Archie was reporting the proceedings of the Royal Commission live back at the start of this year when the highly serious allegations about Mense’s dealings with an Anglicare youth worker and former priest named Robert Brandenburg, who had admitted to his boss that he sexually abused young boys in his and the organisation’s care.

So serious in fact were the allegations that just days afterward Brandenburg was charged by the police for his admitted offences, and later sentenced to imprisonment for his crimes. And what did Menses do? Coached the offender through an interview, all but instructed him to lie about the assaults, cleared him of any wrongdoing, and allowed him to resign quietly after the coppers came knocking on his door.

It was a disgrace, and it’s a disgrace that Menses was able to continue in his highly paid role at Make a Wish after the board were on the same day the information came to light informed by Archie about what he and the Royal Commissioners had just heard.

It’s a disgrace too that the national patron of Make a Wish – TV personality Melissa Doyle, herself a mother of young children – didn’t demand that Menses walk the plank, particularly after she promised our team that keeping the kids safe was her highest priority and that she’d act on the disturbing information that we directly provided to her about Menses covering up Brandenburg’s crimes.

Today their chickens come home to roost, and Doyle and the board members should hang their heads in shame, for here’s what Naomi Sharp, the senior counsel assisting the Commission, has submitted to the Royal Commissioners about Gerard Menses failure to act on the youth worker Brandenburg’s admission that he was bathing naked in a spa with a ten-year-old boy under his care.

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There’s no two ways about it: the senior counsel is saying that Menses knew that Brandenburg was a pedophile – because he told him so – and failed to report this information either to his own boss the Archbishop or to police.

What’s worse is that counsel if effectively saying that Menses failed to conduct a thorough interview with his staff member to explore exactly why he was cavorting nude in a spa with a small child, and that Menses took an even further step or three along the descending path to Hades by attempting to coach the confessed pedophile to give answers that protected both their arses, but left the little kid’s spread wide open waiting for the next monster to come along and abuse him.

Fair dinkum, it makes me ill writing this. How the hell could Menses be allowed to continue in his role after such damning sworn allegations as these were made against him? What confidence can Australian’s really have any more in Make a Wish? How can we possibly believe that the sick and vulnerable kids that the organisation works with are going to be kept safe from abuse?

Simple answer?

We can’t.

Heads must roll.

An urgent child safety investigation and audit needs to be implemented to make sure the kids that Menses has dealt with during his tenure as Make a Wish CEO haven’t been subjected to hidden harm by any of his staff.

Government funding to the organisation must be suspended immediately.

Urgent answers must be provided by Make a Wish about why the organisation didn’t act to immediately stand Menses down or to terminate his contract once the allegations made against him became known to them. And Melissa Doyle must explain why she has continued on for almost a year as the patron of the organisation despite knowing that its CEO covered up child sex crimes.

All this and more needs to happen yesterday.

The whole thing’s a f*cking disgrace.

Just like Gerard Menses.

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