The Christchurch Civic Crèche Case

News Reports

Last       1995       Next

Last updated August 7 2005

1995-0900 - Butterworths Family Law Journal - Child witnesses in sexual assault cases
by Wendy Ball -
Comments on the provisions of the Evidence Amendment Act 1989 which allows videotaped evidential interviews with children, and notes the 2 common challenges to such testimony: the credibility of the child and of the interviewing techniques used. Looks at issues of contamination of memory and contamination of consciousness, focusing on the use of anatomically correct dolls. Outlines UK and Canadian approaches to interviewing child complainants and discusses attitudes to the reliability of children as witnesses

1995-0821 - Dominion - Bent Spoon for violence report
by Alan Samson - A Justice Department report on domestic violence in New Zealand is this year's winner of the Skeptics Bent Spoon award. Ellis Through the Looking Glass, an examination of the Peter Ellis and the Christchurch Civic Crèche child abuse case, was singled out for accolades

1995-0727 - TVNZ - Assignment: Ellis through the Looking Glass
New Aug 7 2005
One hour report on the Ellis case, including Professor Stephen Ceci, Prof Michael Hill, Crèche parents (supporters and complainants), Ellis' co-workers, Winston Wealleans, Roger Keys, Malcolm and Mary Cox, Nigel Hampton, Gerald Nation, Evidence from Karen Zelas

1995-0700 - TVNZ - Interview with Professor Stephen Ceci
New Aug 7 2005
Russ Francis interviews Professor Stephen Ceci of Cornell University, as background material for Assignment programme. Transcription of Interview.

1995-0614 - Dominion - Peter Ellis case entwined in book
A child-killing case last century is providing impetus for a book about the Christchurch crèche case and Peter Ellis's child-molesting conviction. Dunedin writer Lynley Hood, a finalist in the New Zealand Book Awards this month for her investigation into the social hysteria surrounding the hanging of convicted child murderer Minnie Dean, said she had already begun researching Ellis

1995-0610 - WYSIWYG News_Govt Rejects Crèche Inquiry
Edited by Brian Harmer,  “Government rejects Crèche case inquiry”

1995-0609 - Dominion - Government decides not to hold crèche inquiry
A Government decision not to order an inquiry into the Christchurch Civic Childcare Centre abuse case has angered supporters of convicted molester Peter Ellis. Attorney-General Paul East said yesterday that after careful consideration the Government decided an inquiry was "not appropriate". The issues had been adequately examined by the courts and it could not be argued the judicial process had failed, Mr East said

1995-0600 - End Ritual Abuse Newsletter - E.R.A. Statement on Ritual Abuse 
ERA'S view is to keep the subject of ritual abuse on the public agenda, to educate and inform readers of its prevalence, and to discuss the diagnostic and treatment issues that arise from it.

1995-0600 - End Ritual Abuse Newsletter - Support from Sandra Coney 
includes letter by Sandra Coney -
... brought home to me how much the media coverage has concentrated on the perspective of those who wish to deny what has happened and the effect that this denial has had on families involved

1995-0600 - End Ritual Abuse Newsletter - Well orchestrated Crèche campaign
by Sandra Coney  - More heat than light was generated when the media reported on the latest developments in the Christchurch crèche case. The former women crèche workers who were originally charged with offences have used the Employment Court decision as a window of opportunity to attempt to relitigate all aspects of the case

1995-0600 - End Ritual Abuse Newsletter - Rebutting the Apologists: ERA replies
Readers may have also noticed Frank Haden's column in the Sunday-Star Times on the same day that Sandra Coney wrote rhe column reprinted in this newslertes. His reporting came from the other end of the spectrum, loaded with misleading information

1995-0413 - Dominion - Interviews produce more questions than answers
A former policeman on the Christchurch child abuse unit has added his voice to concerns about the way allegations are handled. Phil Taylor asks how much stock should we place in what the children say. ....

Children in the Christchurch crèche case were interviewed several times with some who became key prosecution witnesses undergoing five or six sessions despite overseas research showing the accuracy of information becomes less reliable the more often children are interviewed. British guidelines, which were overhauled in the wake of scandals in Cleveland, England, and the Orkney Islands, Scotland, where hundreds of children were removed from their homes after abuse was wrongly suspected, restrict the number of interviews to one or, in special circumstances, two. "If you applied those criteria here the crèche case would not have got off the ground," Mr Panckhurst says.

1995-0412 - Dominion - Why crèche workers won $1 million judgment
by Murray Williams - On March 16 Judge Tom Goddard, in an interim judgment, ordered the Christchurch City Council to pay $1 million compensation to 13 former employees sacked when a crèche was closed amid allegations of child abuse. Yesterday, in a supplementary judgment, he gave his reasons.

1995-0407 - The Press - Crèche inquiry      
Letter to the Editor by John Dobson - The core problem is the well-documented vulnerability to distortion and embellishment of recall by adults of traumatic events in their early childhood, especially earlier than age five

1995-0404 - Dominion - Two races, two laws
Letter to the Editor by K Rabbitts - Perhaps Peter Ellis should declare himself a Maori. I would hate to think a man could be convicted purely because he's a white New Zealand male.

1995-0331 - The Press - Inquiry needed 
Editorial -
An inquiry into the affair of the Christchurch Civic Childcare Centre case now seems inevitable. The Employment Court ruling that the four women were unfairly dismissed and the awarding of Compensation to them has shaken a number of assumptions about the case. The public should be able to have confidence in the ability of Christchurch agencies to investigate fairly and to assess allegations of sexual abuse. Such confidence is now lacking. While no inquiry is held an outpouring of comments about the handling of the case by the police and the social welfare agencies will continue. For the sake of genuine cases of sexual abuse the outpourings need to be staunched and confidence in the system restored.

1995-0331 - The Press - Some issues an inquiry could examine      
by Professor Michael Hill - After the Employment Court awarded more than $1 million to sacked Christchurch City Council crèche workers it was suggested an independent inquiry into the crèche sex-abuse case should be set up. Professor Michael Hill outlines some aspects of the case an inquiry could look into.

….We are looking at the Americanisation of New Zealand culture. The proliferation of counsellors, social workers, and therapists — expansively funded by medical insurance or compensation schemes — has led to a cacophony of fashionable psychobabble, even among those whose psychological training appears to be rudimentary

A review of the chronology of events which contributed to the initial allegations in the crèche case will identify some of the areas on which the inquiry would need to focus. The satanic ritual abuse (SRA) scenario which played such a central role in the police investigation was introduced to New Zealand counsellors and therapists by American Pamela Klein in May 1990

To complete the diagnosis of New" Zealand's moral panic, and to provide guidance on how future panics might be avoided, an inquiry is now needed. We need to be reassured about the expertise of those to whom considerable power has been allocated in our society's desire to protect children.

1995-0322 - TVNZ - Creche - Late Edition
New Aug 7 2005
Police are defending their handling of the Christchurch Civic Child Care Centre case, the Christchurch City Council is deciding whether to appeal the $1 million compensation awarded by Christchurch Employment Court to the 13 former workers who lost their jobs from the creche

1995-0322 - TVNZ - Crèche - Network News
New Aug 7 2005
Police defend their handling of the Christchurch Civic Child Care Centre case in the midst of calls for an inquiry into their handling of it. Christchurch City Council has to pay $1 million compensation to 13 of the former creche workers

1995-0321 - The Press - Abuse claims tally with list in book
by Diane Keenan - The child at the centre of abuse allegations against four Christchurch crèche workers showed all symptoms of ritual abuse outlined in a book by an American therapist. A TV3 news item said last night that the child's mother had read the book, "Ritual Child Abuse - Discovery, Diagnosis, and Treatment", by Pamela Hudson, a California mental health worker. In August 1992, the mother wrote to the police asking that Ms Hudson be called in to help with the inquiry. The defence in the trial of the four women alleged that parents had contaminated evidence given by the child complainants

1995-0320 - Evening Post - A case for justice
The stain of being associated with child molestation has been partly mollified by the Employment Court decision compensating 13 Christchurch City Council crèche workers. The workers, all associates of jailed molester Peter Ellis, will share $1 million awarded against the council for procedural unfairness during the closure of its civic crèche in 1992. The decision by Judge Tom Goddard has the effect of drawing together threads of public disquiet and in a wider context should be seen as a cautionary benchmark for anyone contemplating hasty witch-hunts or sackings when there are no proofs of wickedness

1995-0318 - WYSIWYG News - Crèche Workers Win Compensation
Edited by Brian Harmer,  “Christchurch Crèche Workers win $1 million compensation”

1995-0318 - Evening Post - Childcare probe may be beyond Authority
Police Complaints Authority Sir John Jeffries says he may not have jurisdiction to investigate the Christchurch Civic Childcare Centre case. The Authority has been called on to examine aspects of the police investigation on the case

1995-0318 - Dominion - Payout decision 'hard for Ellis'
Convicted child molester Peter Ellis would be hit hard by the success of the Christchurch childcare workers in winning compensation for wrongful dismissal, his mother Lesley Ellis said last night. "I'm glad for the women but I'm also very sad. This will hit Peter very hard." The women had suffered a lot and deserved everything they got, but he was the one in jail. "They're certainly better off than he is."

1995-0318 - Dominion - Council blamed for sacked staff's woes
by Alan Samson - Sacked Christchurch City Council crèche workers were branded as child molesters because the council handled the situation poorly, Judge Tom Goddard says in his judgment. No amount of money could compensate the workers, dismissed in 1992 amid child abuse allegations, for all the horrendous consequences of their dismissals, Judge Goddard, the chief judge of the Employment Court, says

1995-0317 - Dominion - Ellis first to be arrested
The first arrest by police investigating the series of sometimes bizarre allegations of sexual abuse by workers at the Christchurch civic crèche was of Peter Ellis in March 1992.

1995-0317 - Dominion - Call for public inquiry
by Alan Samson - Victoria University sociology professor Mike Hill said last night that it was time for a public inquiry into the Christchurch Civic Childcare Centre affair. He said the decision of Judge Tom Goddard cast doubt on whether the alleged incidents at the crèche happened. Former childcare worker Peter Ellis is serving a 10-year jail sentence after being convicted of indecency offences. "The implication is that the allegations made were sufficiently bizarre not to be believed in any action for dismissal," Dr Hill said

1995-0301 - The Press - Memories triggered by events
Crown psychiatrist Karen Zelas claimed that victims use "dissociation and denial" to protect themselves

1995-0203 - Evening Post - Worker says Ellis treated more fairly than others        
Convicted child molester Peter Ellis's dismissal from the Christchurch Civic Child Care Centre was more humane than treatment received by other innocent staff, a former worker says. Five former crèche workers gave evidence in the Christchurch Employment Court yesterday