When is it OK to steal children?

How Meryl Dorey exploited a members’ family to steal $12,000 from donors

An excellent question and I’m glad you asked.

It has been posed before of course. By the same person who opined, and in circumstances similar to that which elicited, “Court orders rape of a child” after a mother was ordered in the Family court to vaccinate her daughter. Although continuing on with, “Think this is an exaggeration? This is assault without consent and with full penetration too…”, Meryl Dorey AVN president did attempt to explain herself. Or rather, offer a kind of acknowledgement of her members who were not up with the gravity of assault by vaccination and thus took offence.

I don’t won’t to hype this up as it was pretty gross. Yet it undermines the straight faced denials of being antivaccination. Indeed, of being “for informed choice”. It brings in an emotional element impervious to the very rational compromise that defines advocacy in a democracy. It moves it to the extremes of activism. The type of placard waving, spittle flying abuse of the status quo that doesn’t help anyone. And if actions speak louder than words, the August 2008 debacle that Dorey initially wrote about under When is it OK to steal children?, long ago destroyed any semblance of bipartisan credibility.

This is when the AVN usurped the actions of a family hiding an HBV positive mother, husband, newborn and 3 year old from DoCS, police and NSW health to avoid the standard HBV vaccine regimen to protect the newborn. DoCS had taken out a Supreme Court order to ensure vaccination of the neonate – but not the 3 year old. The parents kept it up long enough to ensure the six day window of opportunity for protection had expired. Then the AVN abandoned the parents to the law and the father to a possible jail sentence – only prevented by DoCS in view of family cohesion. Dorey went on to milk her members for money via a Fighting Fund which she began within 48 hours after the birth, rising to a Donation Challenge with $500 being the magic figure. With a long history of misappropriating funds, this would be easy.

Almost $12,000 was raised. The parents received none of this money. Members were coaxed along as if they were receiving funds and later congratulated for “your help” in securing a victory for the family. They were housed with a sympathiser or living in a motel and met their own costs. Dorey’s trick was to plead about more families sure to face this on a regular basis.

In fact she boasted of inside information (from the father she exploited no less) that it occurred regularly. The AVN was financially in need and had to stay open. The NSW Attorney General might pursue the family (wrong). The AVN were to lobby parliamentarians on behalf of members, over this very type of threat (still waiting).

According to NSW Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing in a letter to Mr. Ken McLeod on October 18th, 2010, we can read on page two;

During the course of the inquiry evidence of possible breaches of the Charitable Trusts Act 1993 was detected in relation to the following specific purpose appeals conducted by AVN:

 Fighting Fund – to support a homeless family, allegedly seeking to avoid a court order to immunise a child with legal and living expenses. The appeal ran for a short time in 2008 and raised $11,810. None of the funds were spent on this purpose.

A similar case in QLD in which a 9 week premature baby was “vaccine injured” by the HBV vaccine (inexplicably leading to all three children being removed by DoCS) was set to cost the AVN $30,000. Apparently – as Meryl Dorey relays it – this family wished to refuse vaccination and so DoCS had deemed this worthy of removing all children. This resulted in “a challenge being set” by an anonymous donor and the infamous $500 Donation Challenge was born. All this just fades away as new scams arise. No accounts follow, no reports of progress, no follow up on expenditure.

This case began when a hepatitis B positive woman of Chinese heritage, married to a member of The Australian Vaccination Network gave birth to a boy in Sydney on August 19, 2008. NSW Health HBV policy directive January 27, 2005 states in part;

•    All pregnant women are to be offered screening for hepatitis B, surface antigen (HBsAg) and should be provided with verbal and written information about hepatitis B and the hepatitis B immunisation program. The health interpreter service is to be used whenever necessary.
•    Neonates born to HBsAg positive mothers are to be offered, hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) within 12 hours of birth and a total of four doses of hepatitis B vaccine to be administered at birth, two, four and six months of age.
•    All other neonates are to be offered a total of four doses of hepatitis B vaccine at birth, two, four and six months of age. The birth dose is to be administered using a monovalent thiomersal free vaccine, and offered within 7 days of birth. The subsequent 3 doses may be given in a combination vaccine as part of the routine Australian Standard Vaccination Schedule (ASVS).

First up, let me stress staff don’t bully, harass or intimidate parents. Dorey has made much of this fallacy, yet back in 2009 when investigating the veracity of another attempt to raise money to “steal babies” I was reassured by the head policy analyst of NSW Health and many senior hospital staff (who remembered this very case) that was a rather shocking, offensive and false accusation. The policy exists for staff – not as a directive for patient outcome. To this we can add that HBV is a notifiable disease, and the circumstances would have likely been submitted as a matter of course.

NSW Health state in Hepatitis B Control Guidelines;

Public health priority: High for newly acquired cases, routine for unspecified cases. PHU response time; Investigate confirm newly acquired cases and all other confirmed cases within 3 working days. Enter confirmed newly acquired unspecified cases on NDD (Notifiable Diseases Database) with 5 working days. Case management; Investigate likely source of newly acquired cases. Contact management. Ensure that contacts of newly acquired cases are offered post-exposure prophylaxis.

HBV is a public health risk. It must be reported and entered on a database. Case management includes tracking down the source of infection. Clearly this neonates welfare was paramount and perhaps an issue for health professionals before his birth. The HBV policy directive also stipulates that the Hospital Coordinator ensures parents and health care providers are made aware of the vaccination programme. Which means benefits and risks. HBV can be asymptomatic in pregnant mothers with high viral load, hence strong likelihood of transferring the virus. We may assume hospital staff were aware of this mothers status in this regard. Later news reports suggest this is the case.

Citing baseless concerns about aluminium (aluminum) in the vaccines causing more damage than hepatitis B the parents refused. Here’s where the danger of AVN misinformation kicks in. Aluminium is the most common metal in nature. Over our lifetime we accumulate between 50 – 100mg. During the first six months of life babies do receive about 4mg from vaccines in the form of an aluminium salt. There are various aluminium salts and HBV vaccine usually contains aluminium phosphate. Aluminium acts as an adjuvant – to promote immune response, concomitantly allow less antigen per dose and decrease toxicity of antigens. It’s worth noting that babies receive 10mg from breast feeding, 40mg from formula and 120mg from soy based formula over the same six month period.

All but 1% is eliminated. Elimination rates have been gauged at 50% in 24 hours, 85% in two weeks and 96% in about three years. Exposure via vaccines is significantly less than through food. Other medications and particularly antacids also present more aluminium. Over around 70 years numerous studies have found it to be safe. One of it’s tricks as an adjuvant is to keep antigens near the injection site to be more readily accessed by immune cells. This may cause irritation. There may be redness and at worst a nodule may form due to the aluminium. In view of hepatic damage, cancer, cirrhosis and towering lifestyle challenges from hepatitis, the risk/benefit is clear. [Source]

Naming the parents “Stephen and Cassandra” Dorey wrote on August 21st;

A NSW couple are tonight in hiding after hospital doctors and the Department of Community Services took out a court order insisting that their baby, who is now only 48 hours old, be vaccinated against Hep B.

Steven and Cassandra are the proud parents of baby Jonathan, born in Sydney on Tuesday this week. Cassandra had tested positive for Hep B several years ago and so, before leaving hospital with their newborn, she was advised to give the baby a Hep B vaccination. Having done her research, she believed that her child was at greater risk from the vaccine than from Hep B. She refused the shot as did her husband. After all, vaccination is not compulsory in Australia.

Because of this refusal, Cassandra and Steven were informed by hospital staff that they were not allowed to leave the hospital until the child was vaccinated. Refusal to do so would result in their arrest and a loss of custody. Due to these threats, they agreed to make an appointment at their GP on Thursday afternoon to have the shot administered. DOCs was called in to witness the vaccination and they were sent home with a warning that they had better show up for the shot. […]

The parents are now in hiding…

On August 23rd, the SMH reported;

A SYDNEY couple was on the run with their two-day-old baby last night after the Department of Community Services took out a Supreme Court order to have the boy vaccinated against hepatitis B. […..]

Professor Isaacs said the baby had a 5 to 40 per cent chance of contracting hepatitis B from its mother and “about 30 per cent of people with hepatitis B will develop cancer or cirrhosis and die young … I don’t understand why these people are willing to sacrifice their child for a warped idea when the benefits far outweigh the risks.”

LIVING WISDOM August 22nd 2008

It’s nice that the ABC refer to the AVN as an “anti-vacccination group” – twice – which Meryl denies constantly. Disturbingly as time went by Dorey’s ignorance about hepatitis B infection, viral load, symptoms, seroconversion, vaccine ingredients – in fact all the nuances she should know of became plain. Making much of the non compulsory nature of vaccination, Dorey also writes the next day under that image of antivaccination conspiracy horror we all know and love, Family forced into hiding because of vaccination;

Whilst it is true that the mother tested positive to Hep B several years ago, to say that she suffers from Hepatitis B is wrong. She has no symptoms of disease as most people who are exposed to this and develop antibodies to it don’t have any symptoms nor will there be any long-term problems as a result of their antibody status. The lack of knowledge about this status is shocking!

Yes the lack of knowledge is astounding. But on Dorey’s part. The above statement is shifting focus onto whether or not the mother is “suffering” as if this can qualify the scale of risk to the newborn. In fact it’s arguable, but not certain, that testing had revealed that this mother was presenting with high HBV DNA levels and/or was HBeAg-positive (indicating virus replication) whilst also being entirely asymptomatic.

Either way DoCS argued the the likelihood of neonate infection was high. Evidence supports action against hep B baby’s parents;

The Department of Community Services (DOCS) says it has compelling medical evidence to support the action being taken against a Sydney couple refusing to vaccinate their baby boy.

A court order forcing the parents to immunise their son against hepatitis B has been extended in the Supreme Court today.

DOCS spokeswoman Annette Gallard says it is highly likely the child will contract the illness from his mother if he is not vaccinated soon.

In all updates and gushing thank you blurbs, Dorey asks for donations. It was an ideal saga to groom members on an emotional level which is made clear by the many lies perpetrated. Like a rogue internet scam the real aim here is to make money. From Legal Update September 5th;

We are desperate to help these families as I’m sure many of you are too….. We are stretched beyond belief at this point in time and really need your assistance more than ever so please – if you have an extra few dollars there that you think you can spare, visit our web site and donate.

It contained an email that is almost too good to be true;

Dear Meryl

After the newsletter today I would like to donate more to the fighting fund. Can you let people know that if a further 10 people donate $500 each (or more) for this critical issue I will donate a further $500. Annonymously.

It could be any family in this position – if we act now it won’t be all unvaccinated families.
Thanks again for your untiring work and generosity of spirit

Kind regards
Name withheld upon request

September 2008, Update on Stephen and Cassandara;

…until we get legislation enacted in NSW specifically protecting the rights of parents to freely choose whether or not they want to vaccinate their children, this sort of discrimination will continue to occur and helpless, uninformed families will continue to buckle to the pressure to vaccinate their vulnerable children.

What will it take?

At this point, the AVN has been literally run ragged over this last 4 weeks. We have completely expended our very meagre resources and are in a very tenuous position indeed. Whilst we have raised funds to help Stephen and the other family in Ipswich (whose case is proceeding thanks to your help!) that we discussed in the last E-Newsletter, we ourselves have been left ragged and completely unfunded as a result.

Still later on September 25th, 2008 is Thank you doesn’t even come close. Something we’ve all heard before is the promise of missing magazines. But in bold is a clear breach of the Charitable fundraising act 1991;

Unfortunately, the AVN itself is not in such a good position. We have spent a lot of time and resources helping these families and it has taken a toll on both the AVN’s finances and on the production of our next issue of Living Wisdom magazine which many of you will have realised by now is running behind schedule […]

…many other families who either now or in the future may face a similar situation. We also know that many of you have been thinking – and rightly so – that if this sort of discrimination could happen to these families, it could happen to any one of us as well.

With this in mind, it is vital that the AVN stay open for business and in a strong enough position to help any other families faced with something like this.  Currently the AVN is facing the serious prospect of having to close because of financial constraints. We therefore ask that if you have donated funds to our legal Fighting Fund in recent times, you consider allowing us to use a portion of that donation for our day to day running expenses and to pay some outstanding debts.

If you have made such a donation to the Fighting Fund and would rather it remains there to be used only to pay the legal expenses of families fighting this discrimination, please let us know either by telephoning or email. If you did make a donation but we haven’t heard from you by 7th October 2008 about this matter, we will assume that you have no objection to the AVN utilising your contribution for the administrative and operational purposes of the AVN and the Living Wisdom magazine.

Of course, no follow up of just how much money was nicked because the AVN “assume you have no objection” was ever published. Not until the OLGR informed Ken McLeod that it was 100%. The above also claims “… thanks to your help one of these cases has been settled with a positive outcome”. Well, that’s a complete falsehood. No money went anywhere. The couple remained in hiding for about four weeks. Eventually they fronted the Supreme Court and with the help of DoCS (who did not press any charges), were able to return home without the father needing to serve the prison sentence the judge dearly wanted to give him.

As for the impending forced vaccination of so many others that Dorey needed money to prevent, they simply vanish. There’s no AVN record of the couples three year old being vaccinated nor any “victory” preventing this. Perhaps she was, perhaps not. The family disappears from AVN circles, hopefully settling into sound advice.

Within four weeks Dorey shifts her attack on the HBV vaccine from forced vaccination of babies to making up stories of health workers who had no choice.They were being forced into vaccination and contacting her as a result. They had “life threatening” reactions.

These workers were eventually diagnosed with Lupus Panniculitis, Dorey tells us. Plainly she is inventing claims of evil hospitals and staff hiding the truth from these poor people. Who, of course, can only be helped by Dorey, Google and the ever-rolling donation machine. This time members are offered “Pain Free Funding”, as Dorey asks for their maternity immunisation allowance and to be nominated at Ritchies supermarkets.

It’s a sickening scam given the AVN is not responsible for any legislative structure and couldn’t lobby the entrance to a hotel;

A couple of our members have recently donated part of their Maternity Immunisation Allowance to us. They said that without the AVN’s lobbying Parliament to get legislation put through to ensure their rights to government entitlements, they wouldn’t have this money or the Childcare Allowance anyway so they felt that we deserved part of it for our support of them. We thought this was a great idea! If you are in a position to give us a portion of your Maternity Allowance, we would be very grateful – just one more idea that hopefully won’t put too big a hole in anyone’s pocket.

If you’re familiar with the AVN you can see what went on here with the HBV family. The archives are here in which you’ll find no further mention of how donations were managed or who won these dubious prize offers.

A year later, Meryl Dorey would try awakening the scam again. This time seemingly inventing the entire charade.


7 thoughts on “When is it OK to steal children?

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