Mayumarri notes

Liz Mullinar's allegations about her father.

  • Liz Mullinar's father – one of the subjects of her claimed recovered memories of abuse – was a notable and highly respected figure in the UK, the Reverend Stephan Hopkinson. His obituary in The Telegraph described him as ' of the Church of England's most remarkable priests, combining outstanding pastoral gifts with unusual skill as a communicator, an acute mind and astonishing mental and physical stamina...'

  • Mullinar has made much in the Australian media over the years of how she finally obtained a 'confession' from her father. But her one-sided account of 'confronting' the seriously ailing 95-year-old Stephan Hopkinson in an English nursing home – makes for disturbing reading. Her account forms part of an article entitled Confronting Your Perpetrator – from which no fair-minded person could conclude he made any kind of confession at all. It was quite evident that by that time Rev. Hopkinson's physical health, mental condition and memory had deteriorated considerably. His answers at times suggested he barely knew what was taking place. Rather, Mullinar's somewhat bullying inquisition suggests it was the typical 'presumption of guilt' approach taken by people accusing parents after having submitted themselves to what are now largely discredited memory recovery techniques (Brandon et al., 1997 [PDF]). In a slightly different account published in the ASCA newsletter in 2003 [PDF], Mullinar goes as far as to prop up this presumption of guilt with her own quasi-medical diagnosis: "...He had a physical reaction to my visit (vomiting for the rest of the day) so that was validating to me...."

  • Setting aside kangaroo court scenarios such as Mullinar's – it should be noted that even within the established welfare and justice systems, false confessions are surprisingly common. The circumstances of Mullinar's confrontation with her father could easily fit the description outlined in one academic study, which suggests that a person who is "...vulnerable and confused (internal factors) and who is given false evidence by a deceptive interrogator (external factors) may confess to the act, internalize the confession, and confabulate details consistent with the newly created belief..." (Kassin & Kiechel, 1996 [PDF])

  • There is evidence of a certain revisionism in Mullinar's overall approach. In an interview on the ABC, journalist Fran Kelly asked Mullinar: "How has your family dealt with it in the longer term? Do they believe you?" Mullinar cleverly avoids answering this question with a somewhat circuitous response. Indeed, she has indicated elsewhere that there was a serious rift – with other family members and siblings not giving any credence to her claims.

  • Mullinar was one of six children. Anyone raised in a large family will know it's difficult for adults to 'remove' one child from the family circle without the others asking questions. If a child is returned to the family group having endured something unpleasant – a visit to the dentist, for example – the others will certainly notice. Children are observant. If Reverend Hopkinson had indeed been involved in what The Untouchables describes as '...a pedophile network involved in torture and satanism...', then it is puzzling that none of her five siblings have supported Mullinar's claims by furnishing supporting evidence. On the contrary, there are indications at least some of her brothers and sisters don't believe her claims.

  • According the ABC, Mullinar claims she was raped 'as a baby'. Like many women who have subjected themselves to so-called memory recovery techniques, she blithely makes such statements without really considering the implications. It should be noted that in South Africa, where infant rape has regrettably been sometimes practiced in line with certain traditional beliefs, a number of studies have shown that it leads to horrific permanent physical injuries – with the infant requiring extensive surgery or even dying shortly after the event. (Child-rape epidemic in South Africa Anthony C. LoBaido WND 12/26/2001)

  • Mullinar has never provided any medical evidence to support claims of extreme physical trauma in early childhood. Indeed, she grew into adulthood with her reproductive functions in sufficiently good order to enable the conception and birth of two children. 

  • As a 'campaigner for justice', Mullinar has shown herself to be quick off the mark with presumptions of guilt. In 2003, during a controversy in Australia over 40-year-old rape allegations against then Governor-General Peter Hollingworth – another Anglican minister – Mullinar declared he should resign simply because he'd been accused: "People do not make allegations of this nature lightly." However, there are a number of indicators suggesting his innocence – for example, Hollingworth was not posted in Bendigo at the time the rape allegedly occurred. A civil case was eventually dismissed in the Victorian Supreme Court.

    NB: It should be noted that for people familiar with the dismissal of this civil case, there remains a certain degree of controversy, as its dismissal occurred after the death of the key witness. It also has to be said that Hollingworth's oversight of certain other individuals could have been more vigilant during his tenure. However this criticism could be levelled at many others in both religious and secular organisations over the decades.

  • The gloating self-righteousness of Mullinar's Confronting Your Perpetrator turns the stomach. In May 2011 the article was deleted without explanation from the Heal For Life website. This extract illustrates the point. 

Recovered memories and the unethical use of hypnosis – page 2 >>

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An overview of the broader issues around the practice of psychotherapy and the manipulation of memory can be found at the Memory & Justice website.
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