A senior Salvation Army officer whose husband admitted abusing a child says he went to police but she cannot recall any details.
A woman whose Salvation Army officer husband went to police to turn himself in for sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl says she cannot recall details of the event and denies trying to intimidate an officer.
Kerry Haggar, a lieutenant colonel in the Salvation Army whose husband Colin has been subject of an inquiry into the army’s handling of abuse complaints said on Monday she could only recall that her husband had gone to police to report “he had inappropriately touched a child”.
The royal commission into child sex abuse hearing started two weeks ago and has heard that Colin Haggar admitted abusing the girl in a central western NSW town in 1989.
James Condon, who is now the man in charge of the army’s eastern region, gave evidence last week that he accompanied Mr Haggar when he went to police in 1990 to report the offence.
Mr Condon, who was a captain at the time, could also not recall details but said police had told Mr Haggar no action could be taken without the victim making a complaint.
John Agius SC counsel for the state asked Mrs Haggar on Monday if she could recall to which police station her husband and Mr Condon had gone.
Mrs Haggar said she could not recall.
Mr Agius: “How often does your husband tell you he is going to a police station to report a sexual assault on a child?”
Mrs Haggar: “He only ever told me once.”
She said it was an extremely distressing time in their lives.
The couple had been dismissed from the army after Mr Haggar’s confession but were re-admitted in 1993.
They rose through the ranks, both becoming lieutenant colonels. Colin Haggar was recently demoted and forced to retire.
Mrs Haggar has been stood down from her post on the army executive.
On Monday Mrs Haggar denied she intended to intimidate Captain Michelle White who had blown the whistle on her husband by reporting to child protection authorities he was still in active service.
Mrs Haggar sent a personal Facebook email to Ms White accusing her of causing “devastation and incredible pain to many innocent people” through her actions.
“In attempting to protect families you have caused irreparable damage to mine,” the email said.
On Monday Ms Haggar said she now realises sending the email was wrong and apologised to Ms White.
“I did not intend to intimidate,” she said.
“I had spent a sleepless night. My husband had been splashed all over the media. I was frustrated and incredibly distressed.”
John Greville, a former NSW detective who has been contracted by the Salvation Army’s Professional Standards Office to investigate historical allegations of abuse, said on Monday he had doubts as to whether the matter was ever reported to police.
Mr Greville has not yet concluded an internal investigation but said he could find no evidence that a proper investigation had ever been conducted within the Salvation Army.
“I found no evidence of any questions being asked of officer Haggar, or the victim or the victim’s family.”
He had recently interviewed JI the girl who had been abused and her mother JH.
Mr Greville told the commission JI had not disclosed the full nature of the allegations until he spoke to her – that is that she had been abused three times by Colin Haggar.