In the first part of a heartbreaking, yet inspiring, three part account, child abuse victim Fiona Barnett details the shocking systematic abuse she saw and was subjected to from an early age, along with her battle to expose the sinister, well connected and highly organised network behind it.
Into Sydney's expatriate neo-Nazi paedophile ring
I am now prepared to share my personal story that had the Child Abuse Royal Commission in tears. Other survivors of similar abuse have testified before the Commission. As my husband reminded the Commission, I represent many victims who did not live to testify.
The key to understanding organised paedophilia in Australia is the thousands of Nazi war criminals to whom our government knowingly offered asylum in this country. Readers may be interested in Mark Aaron’s (1989) book, Sanctuary! Nazi Fugitives in Australia. Alternatively, various newspapers have provided summary articles.
It is a documented fact that the Nazis committed unspeakable crimes against humanity. Why, then, it must be asked, would such perpetrators simply abandon their evil behaviour after immigrating to Australia?
My Lithuanian grandmother, Helena (“Helen”) Milaweska, collaborated with the Gestapo during WWII and was subsequently wanted by the Russians. She told me her father served two years hard labour in Siberia for refusing to disclose her whereabouts to the Soviet allies.
Following the war, Helena sought immigration to Australia.
She convinced immigration authorities that Poitre ‘Peter’ Holowczak (who was seeking to emigrate to Canada) was her husband and the father of the young child in her care — my father Mitek Rylko. Thus, Helena and Poitre joined the great wave of Eastern European war criminals offered asylum in Australia.
A 1951 marriage certificate records that Poitre and Helena Holowczak married in the country city of Bathurst, NSW.
Until I reached 15 years of age, my family and I were told that Poitre Holowczak was my biological grandfather. From the age of three until 11 years, I spent countless weekends and school holidays at the Holowczak’s home at 14 McAlister Avenue, in the Southerland Shire suburb of Engadine. When I was aged 12, my family moved to northern NSW. Thereafter, I occasionally stayed with the Holowczaks during school holidays.
During my visits with my “grandparents”, Poitre entertained me with stories about the “olden days” in Poland when he killed Jews for a living in a death camp. A clue to the location of the camp was fixed to the front of the Holowczak’s Engadine house. It was a wooden sign featuring the name ‘LUBLIN’ painted in a quaint folk art style.
Poitre Holowczak assaulted me from my earliest memory until age 12 years.
Helena and Poitre also often took me to socialise with, and be abused by, members of their European community. This community involved a large number of Nazi war criminals who settled in an area south of Sydney which ran from the Sutherland Shire to Wollongong.
The settlers carried Slavic, Germanic or Anglicised versions of their former surnames. Together they worked, attended orgies, and practised the mystery religion that I understand underpinned Nazism — just as they had back in Europe. I witnessed many of their offspring raised as victims of the paedophile ring and I saw some become perpetrators themselves.
Poitre and Helena Holowczak gave me over to a national child sex trafficking ring when I was preschool age. My perpetrators abused me until the time of my fifteenth birthday. The ring included police officers, psychiatrists, biochemists, psychologists, actors, writers, politicians, university lecturers and medical doctors, including a local Engadine GP named “Doctor Mark.” One perpetrator, a stage actor, went on to produce a play in which men were portrayed having sex with donkeys.
This child trafficking ring also engaged in other crimes including gun and drug trafficking.
I witnessed child sex trafficking between Sydney, Wollongong, Bathurst, and Canberra. Crimes were committed in the Engadine BoysTown chapel; Holsworthy military barracks, which sits adjacent to Engadine; Regina Coeli Memorial Catholic church at Beverly Hills; St John’s College Catholic Chapel at Sydney University; the Caltex oil refinery in Kurnell; Garrawarra Cemetery, near Waterfall; Bathurst City Hall; and in many of the national parks located between Sydney and Wollongong.
I witnessed multiple acts of child abduction, drugging, child sexual assault, torture and murder. Members of the paedophile ring were sexually aroused by necrophilia, bestiality and sadism. The ring also contained a large number of female perpetrators.
At age of 15 years, I witnessed the wife of an Engadine police officer lure a 15-year-old boy into her car at Cronulla Beach. The boy had sandy coloured hair, and he was dressed in board shorts and a pale blue t-shirt which had the distinct ‘Billabong’ wave logo on its left breast. The boy was murdered at a property on the old Illawarra Road near the suburb of Menai, where Doberman dogs were bred and trained. The dog trainer had leathery skin, dark hair, piercing eyes, and there were multiple signs out the front of his property warning people not to trespass.
Alleged crime scene: Garrawarra Cemetery near Waterfall — conveniently remote and inaccessible.
At age eight years, I suffocated while being abused.
I lost consciousness and awoke in the Sutherland Hospital, on a metal table in the midst of a small room within the ER. The walls were clad from floor to ceiling in blue tiles. An oxygen mask covered my mouth. Three people dressed in shower hats were silhouetted against a blinding overhead light.
A female nurse said:
“We nearly lost you!”
Then she told me that my mother was present.
I shot a glance at the woman in the doorway to the right of my feet. It was the Engadine policeman’s wife.
Dr Mark lied to the hospital staff about my identity and convinced them to release me into his care.
In 1985, I witnessed approximately 10 children raped and murdered in Bathurst, during the weekend of the famous Bathurst car race. Some of these children were victims of kidnappings. Other children were born unregistered so that they could be used as sex slaves. The abuse was orchestrated by a former Whitlam Government Education Minister Kim Edward Beazley, a police commissioner, an Australian sporting icon, a Sydney University lecturer and a prominent screen actor. The latter raped me in front of a large crowd that included numerous priests and police.
From the age of 16 years I began disclosing the abuse I had received to health professionals. None of them ever reported any of the allegations to the police. I personally feared reporting my abuse to the NSW police because members of the service were among the perpetrators. Furthermore, I had witnessed people being tortured and murdered for disclosing ‒ or for trying to leave ‒ the paedophile ring, which obviously also deterred me from talking about my experiences with the authorities.
First attempt to make a police statement
I first came out in 2008, in response to the publicity surrounding similar abuse allegations experienced by fellow victim Tor Nielsen and many other students at the private Catholic boarding school Saint Stanislaus College in Bathurst, NSW.
I felt that that it would now be safe to report my experiences to the NSW police and be taken seriously after reading newspaper articles, like this one in the Herald Sun (August 27, 2008):
Chanting, spells and sex orgies at St Stanislaus College
I attempted to report my child sexual abuse to the NSW police and then contacted the detective in charge of the St Stanislaus, Bathurst case, Justin Hadley.
I briefly described to Detective Hadley the crimes I witnessed in 1985 in the Bathurst City Hall.
Allege site of paedophile sex parties at the Bathurst City Hall
He asked me to make a formal statement at my local police station.
Tweed Heads police refused to take my formal statement. They mocked my witness testimony, promised to contact me, and sent me home. I never heard from them again about this matter.
Prior to my providing this information to the Bathurst Police and unbeknownst to me, Tor Nielsen had provided similar information to NSW Police.
Nielsen reported witnessing 60 children being raped in the very same Bathurst location I named. He also noted that St Stanislaus College has accommodated the NSW police during the Bathurst car races for many decades.
Tor Nielsen’s testimony was detailed on his popular website ‘The Catholic Cover-up’, which the Catholic Church forced him to pull down just prior to the announcement of the current Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
According to his testimony, blood tests revealed that Nielsen was drugged with a substance that induced psychosis symptoms, which he alleges was done corrupt NSW health practitioners. Consequently, Nielson’s allegations of child abuse were able to be discredited and the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions dropped his charges against St Stanislaus staff and priests.
In response, Nielsen handed out hundreds of pamphlets throughout Bathurst explaining his story and detailing his allegations. The letter drop, in due course, exposed the paedophile ring operated at the school from the 1960s until the 1980s. It led to multiple victims coming forward and numerous charges being laid against many St Stanislaus staff, including Nielsen’s perpetrators.
And so, Tor Nielsen was vindicated. Not so fortunate was the lawyer who (pretended to) run Nielsen’s civil case, who mysteriously fell out of an 18-story window after Nielson publicly exposed the now infamous Bathurst paedophile ring.
And there was a second questionable lawyer death in relation to the St Stanislaus College case — a lawyer working at Sydney’s Frederick Jordon Chambers.
A former St Stanislaus student, the man was due to testify at one of the College’s paedophile trials. Before he could appear, however, he was found dead in the law chamber library one morning — hanging by his necktie from a bookshelf.
Police initially treated the man’s death as suspicious — as well they might, given half-an-hour before he died, colleagues had observed the man in a normal, upbeat mood, working busily on a case.
St Stanislaus College, Bathurst (Image via Wikipedia Commons)
Second attempt to make a police statement
In December 2012, following the announcement of a Royal Commission, I made a second attempt to report my child abuse experiences to the police.
I was residing in Brisbane at the time and I contacted the child abuse taskforce at the Roma Street headquarters. The detective told me to make a report to NSW police.
I said that I had tried to do that but NSW police had refused to take my statement. The detective mentioned that Engadine BoysTown was currently the subject of a covert NSW police investigation, similar to the current Beaudesert BoysTown operation.
He said a taskforce had been assigned to the Engadine BoysTown paedophile ring investigation. Incidentally, former Engadine BoysTown priests, including dorm master Paul Evans (relative of the Regina Coeli church founder) have already been convicted of paedophilia.
Consequently, I wrote a letter to the NSW police minister and to the NSW police commissioner, summarising the crimes I experienced and witnessed as a child. I also complained about my mistreatment by NSW police.
The police commissioner’s response was worded so that it essentially dismissed my complaint and information as lacking in evidence. Apparently, corroborated witness testimony does not constitute evidence in NSW. That is, two independent witnesses ‒ Tor Nielsen and I ‒ telling the police similar information about similar crimes which occurred in the exact same location, perpetrated by the same people, apparently does not constitute evidence in NSW.
I subsequently spoke with journalists and NSW Victims Services who told me that my witness testimony tallied with other reports of victims abused at Engadine BoysTown and Bathurst.
In my letters to the NSW police minister and commissioner, I requested for my witness testimony to be taken and supplied to the taskforce assigned to investigate the Engadine BoysTown paedophile ring.
To date, I have not been contacted by police for my testimony.
In June 2013, upon the advice of NSW Victims Services, I sent an email to the Bathurst detective in charge of the St Stanislaus operation.
Justin Hadley had just transferred to Dee-Why station in Sydney. I provided Hadley with a summary of what I witnessed in Bathurst City Hall in 1985. Hadley’s colleague told me that it was too late for my information to be provided to police or to benefit the Bathurst victims. I asked Hadley for information that would help corroborate my witness testimony and aid my claim for compensation through NSW Victims Services.
I left a message for Hadley to contact me, but he never did — though I cannot be sure he was ever given the message.
Alleged crime scene: St John Bosco Catholic Church, adjacent to Engadine BoysTown
Wollongong Council jumps on the bandwagon
Following the publication of my first article regarding a northern NSW paedophile ring, I received several threats. The most concerning threat came from a Wollongong City Council long-term employee. This man viciously defamed me in an email and a voice message left on the phone of the editor of this publication.
The email was sent via a Wollongong City Council email site and it featured the Wollongong City Council insignia.
The message concluded:
“I will not let this issue go.”
I formally complained to Wollongong City Council about their representative’s actions and abuse of government resources.
In response, one Wollongong councillor wrote to me:
‘…given the nature of the issue most human beings would find it difficult not to react [to my published news article about a northern NSW paedophile ring] whenever the matter is raised.'
Readers may recall Wollongong City Council’s implication in the Wood Royal Commission into the NSW Police Service and the accusation that two former Wollongong Lord Mayors, Tony Bevan and Frank Arkell, ran a paedophile ring in the 1960s to 1990s. The ring involved child sex trafficking between Wollongong and Sydney.
This was the same child trafficking ring that I witnessed as a child.
Frank Arkell and another Wollongong identity named David John O'Hearn were viciously murdered* by their former victims in a manner that reflected the ritual nature of the child abuse to which they had been subjected.
Wollongong Mayors Tony Bevan & Frank Arkell: alleged child sex traffickers. Arkell was brutally murdered by a victim.*
Some long awaited support
Dissatisfied with Wollongong City Council’s response, I appealed to the police for support and protection.
I finally located a trustworthy officer, who turned out to be one of the SWAT team members who held a gun to my husband’s head on the highway in 2005.
This person read my Royal Commission statement. He said that after all I had been through he could not believe that I was willing to make yet another attempt to provide police with information.
He apologised for the NSW police’s mistreatment of me and concluded:
“We treat footballers as heroes in our society when actually it’s people like you, Fiona, who are the real heroes.”
Editor's note: Fiona Barnett has submitted a properly signed and witnessed statutory declaration to IA to support all the statements and allegation she has made in this piece. The names of those alleged abusers still living have been withheld for legal and reputational reasons, although they have been provided to the Royal Commission and police. Anyone wishing to come forward with any further information is strongly encouraged to contact managing editor David Donovan via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* In an earlier version of this piece, we incorrectly stated former mayorTony Bevan was murdered. This was incorrect. In fact, he died of cancer. We apologise for this error.
Ring banner featuring trade mark eagle, allegedly erected at major paedophile gatherings including Regina Coeli Catholic Church and Bathurst City Hall stage.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License