As a result of testimony to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearings in relation to the Ballarat area a heap of questions were unavoidable. As a person who grew up there at exactly the time that some of the worst offenders were at the heights of their protected lifestyles, the number one question is and will always be, how did they cover it up? How on earth did so many crimes occur with nobody seeming to do anything about it? As a result of those questions I went looking for some books / stories to try to understand, and UNHOLY TRINITY was one of the books recommended.
Denis Ryan knew only too well, some of what John Day was up to in Mildura. He had increasing numbers of witness statements, he certainly had enough evidence to lay charges, and he had some powerful local people in opposition to him. The trinity that included John Day, the local Police Chief and the Clerk of Courts wielded influence, power and control in a manner that was positively breathtaking. Mind you, the years and years of "special treatment" for priests by the police force was already appalling.
I started reading this book to try to get some insight into how it was that Day, Ridsdale and their ilk managed to continue to offend in small towns and communities and came away from this book with a much clearer understanding. Ryan tells his story calmly and with dignity. This is a man who doesn't come across as somebody with a personal axe to grind, or a desire for self-aggrandisement or fame. This is also a man with the internal gumption to yank his son off the altar and away from Day in the middle of Mass. Not a man who took his job lightly, or bowed to pressure. What he knew and what he tried to do ultimately lost him his wife, and a big chunk of his personal life.
Thankfully his writing of this book has also cast some light into some appalling corners of life, clearly showing that the cover-up was wide ranging, far-reaching and ruthless. Let's hope that the Royal Commission takes the same approach.