commentary by Patrick H. Moore
All Things Crime Blog is now 14 months old. During this time, I’ve wrestled with countless crime stories and have discovered that the crimes that most upset me are crimes against children of any type, including the bullying crimes with which kids torture one another. Children are largely helpless to combat physical, sexual and other forms of abuse that are foisted upon them by parents, relatives, other adults and other more domineering children.
We recently witnessed the Miranda Barbour case in which it is clear that her troubles (and thus the troubles she foisted upon others including the shocking Craigslist murder) began when she was repeatedly molested by a depraved relative for a long period of time when she was still a very little girl.
It is a fact that the vast majority of sexual abuse of children occurs within the immediate or extended family.
Now we have a case of shocking depravity that comes to us from New South Wales in Australia. This is possibly the most appalling case of child abuse in Australian history and is certainly among the worst accounts of incest ever made public.
This information is provided by news.com.au. The story originally broke in December of last year:
IT is a case of shocking depravity which came to rest in the hills surrounding a picturesque farming community nestled in a valley southwest of Sydney.
The NSW Children’s Court has taken the rare step of publishing its judgment of actions taken to remove children from the Colt family (a court-appointed pseudonym to protect identification of minors).
Moving state to state, possibly to evade detection, the scandal only came to light when authorities were alerted there were children living in the hills who didn’t attend school.
Based on the tip, sometime in December, officers from the NSW Police and Community Services went out to investigate a settlement 30km out of the town tucked between large established farms and untamed scrub The Colt’s choice of habitat would have been marginal in the best of circumstances, but what the investigators found there shocked them profoundly.
40 adults and children were living in two filthy caravans in two sheds and tents. There was no running water and no proper way of eliminating sewage. The stoves and cooking facilities were dirt-caked and the refrigerator was full of rotten vegetables. A kangaroo was sleeping on one of the children’s beds.
Tie me kangaroo down, Sport!
Wires were exposed, bags of rubbish and chainsaws were strewn about.
Unwashed children in filthy clothes with fungal infections on their feet.
The children were shy and avoided eye contact.
Their words, when they spoke, were largely unintelligible.
Some had odd features, a syndrome called “homozygosity” caused by identical gene patterns of both parents.
Although it was some time before the investigators and welfare workers fully realized that the damaged children were the result of four generations of incest, as the realization slowly set in that a social time bomb was exploding before their eyes, experienced public servants recoiled in horror.
As one police officer later reportedly told her colleagues, she would never get over it.
Over coming days and weeks, the enormity of what they had uncovered dawned on them.
There were five family groups apparently headed by three sisters including Betty Colt and two of Betty’s daughters. Betty slept every night with her brother Charlie.
- Betty’s son Bobby Colt, 15, could not walk normally, suffered from severe psoriasis and – like many of the children — was in need of urgent dental work. His intellect had not developed beyond the kindergarten level. He could not be understood when speaking and wet and soiled his bed.
- Betty’s 14-year-old son Billy was too thin. His growth was stunted and he had hearing and sight problems. He could barely read or count.
- Kimberly Colt, 14, a granddaughter could not use toilet paper or comb her hair. She had urgent dental problems, hearing, speech and sight issues and was unable to read or write. She threatened to cut off a caseworker’s fingers.
And so it went…
The caseworkers made several visits to the settlement and finally removed 12 children on July 18, 2012.
Once taken into care, the children underwent therapy sessions and told harrowing tales, many of which described adult-child sex and child-on-child sex.
On one occasion, three brothers aged 14 years and under tied their sister, 8, and niece, 13, naked to a tree.
The accounts of incestuous underage sex filled pages of court documents.
Mouth swabs revealed that five of the Colt children had parents who were “closely related” and another five had parents who were “related”.
Slowly the details came out, some of it disclosed by some of the parents.
Betty’s parents had been brother and sister.
She had 13 children, some of whom were probably fathered by her father, Tim, and her brother, Charlie.
Betty’s sister Martha’s children may also have been fathered by Tim.
And so it went…
Some of the children are now in foster families, others are in treatment programs. These children are allowed some contact with their parents and siblings and have reportedly made some progress with schooling and hygiene.
The mothers have taken varying degrees of responsibility for the neglect, incest and intra-familial sexual abuse which allegedly took place.
Betty Colt, however, appears to be in denial. Her lawyer has disputed the court’s findings and she has supervised contact with her children.
The Children’s Court ruled she is not willing “to disentangle herself from her family” and “is incapable of addressing her own traumatic history”.
* * * * *
…poor suffering children… …poor suffering humanity…
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