I have little evidence from The Family upon which I can rely and their failure to deal with these matters leads me to conclude that Mary Malaysia was running Victor Programmes probably in Newcastle, and in Scotland. JL told me that the National Shepherds were receiving calls from different homes about children whom Mary had put on silence restriction and she said, contrary to his assertion that he was without knowledge, that SPM dealt with at least one of these calls. EM's report did not allay my concern that Victor Programmes had been run in other locations. The information is sketchy. CA spoke of corporal punishment being administered in the Oxford home and she spoke of Oxford S paddling A2 with a broom handle which broke so that she then continued with an elastic switch. Oxford S paddled M3 for listening to inappropriate music. In London CA had been beaten for pulling a face on her passport photograph and when sent to Rugby beaten again. In the NAS home at Essex, which I assume is Coggeshall at the end of 1990/91 NT herself was present when a 7 year old child was beaten with a switch cut from a tree. I am driven to conclude that corporal punishment was endemic within the homes in the United Kingdom and that it was excessively and at times brutally applied. Silence restriction was also widely adopted for excessive length of time. Recourse to isolation was exceptional but its implementation was severe and damaging.
Mary Malaysia has been held out to be the scapegoat. She certainly deserves to be roundly condemned and the practices she brought from the Philippines are indeed indefensible. An apology from her has been produced. It was a curious document in that it was not an original and seemed almost to be part of a series. Though dated September 1992 it is apparently a document written in September 1993. It was addressed to the JETTS and Teens and Mary apologised "as one who laid heavy burdens on you and made life unpleasant for (you) during the times you were with me." She acknowledged "a big problem with partiality shown to some of the teenagers". She apologised: "For implementing the five demerits policy for little mistakes you would make and enforcing such a strict silence restriction rule on you all which was not the standard for Victor Programmes. ... I am very sorry for laying on you burdens that were not the Lord's and I would like to ask you to please forgive me for hurting you in this way. ... I pray that you will continue to go on for the Lord in spite of things that you have found confusing and hurt by." Mary was not called to give evidence before me. I know not why not. Her conduct was totally inexcusable.
The attempt to shift the whole blame onto Mary is disingenuous. JD and ED introduced practices from the Philippines into Wantage which I have already deprecated. Corporal punishment was administered at times other than during the course of Victor Programmes. The Victor Programmes were excessively abusive but the responsibility for that lies with the National Shepherds. Heidi is responsible. The Family is responsible. The Family knew perfectly well that things had gone wrong and they sent EM on a fact finding mission. I found her to be a totally unsatisfactory witness. She was not frank with me. She attempted to deceive me. She gave evidence to me on three occasions and I still did not get near the truth from her. If, which I do not accept, she believes even a part of what she presented to me in her report, which is a report which I understood to be remitted to World Services, then I am even more concerned for the children who remain in The Family. She must know that what she there reports is a travesty of the truth. How can she believe the following? "From the accounts of the teens that we talked to, there was little over discipline. From all accounts one boy seemed to have been very difficult and the fact that he was in the programme at a young age was because of the insistence of his exasperated mother who just didn't know what to do with him. In one sense it was commendable for them to consider taking him on given his history, but on the other hand they clearly did not have sufficient experience to cope with him." I ask rhetorically whether the beatings indiscriminately handed out to innumerable children, many of whom were bruised, can possibly be described as constituting "little over discipline". The sympathy she seems to require to be extended to an exasperated mother and the commendable carers at Tewkesbury seems to pay scant regard to a 10 year old boy who was horse cropped by another teenager till he his buttocks were cut and bruised. This wholly lamentable failure to face the truth and to acknowledge the full extent of their deficiencies gives rise to unallayed concern. If, which I doubt, the report presented to me was in fact the report being made to World Services, then how can one expect World Services to correct excesses when fed such anodyne information as EM presented to them? If, as I suspect, there are other internal documents which come closer to setting out the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the unpalatable truth, then why have I not been made privy to those disclosures? This case, being no different from all the others in this Division, is ultimately about trust. This young mother expects me to continue to trust her as she knows - and as The Family know - I have trusted her hitherto despite The Family's infamous history. Trust does not travel down a one way street. Trust must be earned. Trust must be mutual. I shall express my conclusions about this later.
It is, therefore, important to make certain preliminary findings in this regard. I deal with EM's evidence in more detail. She swore an Affidavit in these proceedings in February 1994. She referred to the Victor Programmes which she and her husband had been running. She made reference to corporal punishment with a paddle "that is a ladle used for cooking rice", "between 4-6 stokes over a covered bottom". She asserted, "I do not believe it was administered harshly or cruelly." She referred to the Discipleship Training Revolution as having introduced "uniform minimum standards for all children." She acknowledged that Victor Programmes had been copied throughout the World, but, and significantly, she did not refer to the programmes conducted in this country even though she must have known that it was an issue in the case. She explained that silence restriction was intended to be that half hour period of silence in the morning after getting up, the one hour rest period during the day, and half an hour in the evening, it never being intended as a method of punishment. She acknowledged, "I have heard instances where some teenagers were placed on silence restriction for up to 4 weeks." She did not go further and admit that they were instances which had occurred in this country when again she must have known that was an issue in the case. Her Affidavit was wholly silent about the difficulties that the teenagers had been encountering in this country and which she had been sent to investigate. Is this not a perfect example of "Deceivers Yet True"? Indeed, when cross examined, EM asserted that it was permissible to lie to the system where the life and well being of the children was at stake, for example as it was in Argentina. She might have added "and in the United Kingdom!" In my note of her evidence in chief she explained that she had come to Europe because of the concern of World Services about the number of teenagers that were leaving the movement. She said that she had never seen so many teens leaving and so she thought The Family must be doing something wrong and she therefore visited all the homes in Europe. She also admitted that she had visited four homes in this country and that she had held a meeting for the teens to attend; that seventy did so in Nottingham; that it was acknowledged that there were problems and that they had an open forum session but that there were still problems in this country. She explained that the reason for the difficulties were that the children were subject to "diverse worldliness" in that they dabbled with heavy rock music, drink and violence and so the solution perceived to be necessary was "to bring back the standards we would expect in Family homes." She acknowledged the Victor Programme in Wales (Tewkesbury) and that Heidi, David, JL and SPM thought it better to set up training in individual homes. She was firmly cross examined on behalf of the Official Solicitor. It was interesting to read again comments I wrote in the margin of my notebook about the manner in which she gave evidence. Among the several things I noted were, for example, "nice lady but blind to the consequence of her acts"; "nervous, clenching and unclenching her fists and very tense"; "she is being defensive and is lying", "evading the truth" (when she sought to deny the authenticity of the picture in the Child Discipline letter where the adult holds a stick as I have already described). Thereafter my notes become variations on the theme of "evasive", "very evasive", "lies!", "not frank", "clear evidence of cover up". She was, therefore, an exasperating witness because she is an essentially sincere lady who simply cannot believe that her genuine actions taken with the best will in the world for the benefit of the teens with whom she has been so involved have nonetheless had wholly harmful consequences. Of the UK Victor Programme she said this:- "The person asked to carry out the programme here didn't know enough to practice it effectively, so the leadership terminated it. People made mistakes and so it was thought better not to have another." On the issue of separating parents from children she said this:- "NT must therefore understand that if ever she were persistently to murmur against the leadership, then I, after anxious prayer and as a last resort, would feel constrained temporarily to remove S from her to gain the victory." Further cross examined about the Victor Programmes here she admitted that possibly she was wrong because she knew of a "new model programme" being run by Mary Malaysia at Rugby. She spoke of Tony, Zack Attack, and said of him:- "He did get a beautiful victory. If you could see him you would see the miracle of the way the Lord worked in his life. It took extreme measures but if you read the tale of murmurers in the Sinai Desert who were destroyed, the Lord had mercy on Tony. You could see the victory in his expression." On hearing that I made the comment, "Frightening evidence," because her complacency had robbed her of insight into why his spirit had been broken.
She gave evidence for 3 to 4 days and at the end of which she identified mistakes she found had been made as follows: That Mary Malaysia had little experience with teenagers and had not any realisation of the sobering responsibilities she carried. Her feeling was that she was "partial" in her association with the teens. The treatment might have been harsh in some case, in that possibly MS had been beaten, that F1 (16) no longer had animosity from a few unfair paddlings and that CA who had left The Family, was partial but had not herself been paddled. Some of the teens F1, CA and M2 had said that silence restriction had been unfair and extreme. She knew much more than she was willing to disclose. Even now I doubt whether I heard the whole truth from her.