I suppose this is a case of “anything the U.S. can do, Australia can do … too.”
Three men have been arrested in New South Wales and a woman is sought for arrest in connection with a long-term conspiracy to kidnap and hide children who the conspirators believe have been wrongly taken from their mothers or who are the subjects of joint custody orders. The group appears to be an extension of the “protective mother” movement. Put simply, when a mother claims a father who’s gotten some form of custody is abusive, the group stands ready to abduct and hide the child.
Two men will be extradited to Queensland to face allegations that they are part of a group organising parental child abductions.
William Russel Massingham Pridgeon, 64, and Patrick Finbar McGarry O'Dea, 63, had charges against them in NSW dropped in Grafton Local Court on Thursday.
The criminal charges laid against the men included child stealing, conspiracy to defeat justice and stalking, according to the AFP.
Bail was denied for both men, who will be extradited to Queensland where they will face Brisbane Magistrate's court on Friday.The police investigation lasted for two years, during which time, some 10 abducted children were returned to their fathers and five of them were linked to this particular group. That of course suggests that others are doing the same thing the Pridgeon/O’Dea group is.
Dr Pridgeon is accused of being the key financier and organiser of efforts to help two women abduct their children and hide them from authorities.
Mr O'Dea is alleged to have helped in getting money to the women involved in the abductions and portraying the fathers as child abusers on social media.For his part, Pridgeon looks like a true believer if ever there was one. A few years ago, he started a political party called the Anti-Paedophile Party. My guess is that the party’s platform is pretty bare-bones. Two years ago, a man named Howard Furner sued Pridgeon for defamation. It seems that Mr. Furner made the mistake of marrying Pridgeon’s daughter and then trying to get custody of his son. As night follows day, Pridgeon called him a pedophile on social media. Pridgeon seems never to have met a biological father he didn’t think was an abuser. I wonder what that says about him.
Well, come to think of it, I know one thing it says about him. It says he’s a child abuser. That’s because child abduction and secret isolation is clearly child abuse as numerous mental health professionals have made clear.
The AFP's Assistant Commissioner Debbie Platz said the intention of the "well-resourced" and "organised" group was "not to protect" children.
"The continual movement of children, the change in their identity, the change in their location, the change in their appearances, the isolation for lengthy periods of time, has been shown to cause impacts that are long lasting for children.Indeed. Platz’s remarks are pretty much chapter and verse of the mental health literature on child abduction. Kept from friends, relatives and schools and forced to change their names and residences at a moment’s notice, abducted children haven’t even a hint of stability in their lives. Unable to make long-term friendships, they come to rely solely on their mothers for companionship and all emotional support. Soon they find that it’s Mom who’s in need of support and so children often become parents to their mothers. It’s a deeply distorted view of reality and no way to raise a child.
But that’s what the group does. They’re child abusers, pure and simple.
And they’re a lot like the U.S. organization Children of the Underground that goes to great lengths to assist in the abduction of children to keep them away from their fathers. I wrote about Children of the Underground here, here and here.
These are sick people who create organizations that only do harm. Mostly they harm children, but they harm fathers as well. Fortunately, Australian authorities are clearly taking the matter of Pridgeon and O’Dea’s group seriously. Bail’s been denied to the three who’ve been arrested. Sadly, as far as I can tell, if Children of the Underground and its founder Faye Yager have ever suffered any adverse legal consequences for their plainly illegal and abusive behavior, I’ve never heard about it.
We’ll see what happens in Australia.