AS READERS of this little blog will have noticed, many serious topics are treated with a measure of levity, an approach the former Mrs Bunyip dismissed as the symptom of a greying and perpetual immaturity. Well, she would approve of what follows because a six-year-old boy brought into being to satisfy a gay male couple’s happy-family fantasies is a very serious matter indeed. As the Fairfax comics reveal this morning beneath David Marr’s byline, the lad is now in protective custody in Los Angeles while his adoptive father and father are investigated for their intimate connections to members of a child-porn syndicate. The story is shocking, even on the strength of the Fairfax paper’s nuanced headlines and the details that quality journalist Marr, who is rather keen on the gay business, has somehow neglected to include in his copy, at least as it has been published.
“Boy taken from gay parents” announces the lead story on the Phage’s home page. If skimming readers gain the impression that the couple are victims of intolerance and homophobia, one guesses there would be few objections in Fairfax newsrooms. “Kid seized in porn probe” would have given a much better indication of what Marr reveals, but as the reporting of straights facts is so often these days framed as a manifestation of prejudice and intolerance, succinct accuracy probably didn’t have a chance.
That is a minor quibble, however. More disturbing, although not at first glance, are these lines from the former Media Watch host’s account:
The men blame their predicament on innocent visits to three men in the US, New Zealand and Germany, who, to their complete surprise, turned out to be collectors and producers of child pornography. All three were arrested last year.The key figure was a lawyer, Edward de Sear, 64, an old friend of the boy's father, who was arrested in New Jersey and charged with distributing child pornography on the internet.
To their complete surprise!
What is a complete surprise is that Marr ia prepared to accept that they found it a complete surprise. In an omission that would have drawn his scorn during the Media Watch days, Marr neglects to mention that Edward de Sear’s home in Saddle River, New Jersey, was raided by American authorities on July 14 last year. The child was not taken into protective custody until October, which is the better part of three full months. Had Marr provided a chronology, his readers might have been inclined to wonder how the Australian couple could have remained entirely ignorant of the “old friend’s” travails, especially as two other members of their circle were being visited by police during that same period.
Marr’s softly-softly tone also overlooks some other, quite interesting angles. While he mentions that the Australian couple’s associates are being busted and probed, he makes no mention that de Sear is – or was -- a partner in the globe-girdling law firm Allen & Overy, which recently launched an Australian outpost by poaching a posse of top-shelf legal talent from Clayton Utz, Big Tobacco’s chief Australian defender. That information has no direct relevance to the abuse story, but it would still have been interesting to know.
As to de Sear’s alleged offences, Marr does summarise them, and while his precise is deeply disturbing, it is as nothing in comparison with the complaint filed against de Sear in New Jersey. That document can be found here. Be warned, it is stomach-turning. Perhaps that is why the Silly neglected to provide a link.
All the same, with the Australian couple claiming “to be victims of prejudice in Australia and the US against gay fathers”, as Marr states very early in his report, and “canvassing support for their cause in Cairns and the gay press”, the indictment’s grim details will be worth bearing in mind over the strident clamour for gay justice we are certain to hear in months to come.
(*apologies to author Edmund White)