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Quote of the Day:
'Victims gradually lose their ability to make independent decisions and exercise informed consent.'
- Dr Margaret Singer



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Rogue Psychotherapists
Four Corners: "Over the Edge"
Sarah Ferguson
April 5, 2010

Source | Video | Research

SARAH FERGUSON, REPORTER: Britelle Humfrey is a primary school teacher in Perth. For five years she was under the influence of an untrained therapist who convinced her she had repressed memories of extreme sexual abuse.

BRITELLE HUMFREY, FORMER CLIENT OF MATTHEW MEINCK: It was initially that my father had raped me when I was a child. Then it was that my mother and my brothers were involved.

(Excerpt from audio regression session between Britelle Humfrey and therapist Matthew Meinck)

   MATTHEW MEINCK, THERAPIST: Where did he rape you? In the vagina?

   SARAH FERGUSON: None of these memories was real; they were prompted by the therapist during intense one-on-one sessions.

   MATTHEW MEINCK: Where's he raping you? In which part of your body? Let the feeling come, bring your attention into your vagina now, feel the hurt that’s in there. Feel how it feels.

(End of excerpt)

SARAH FERGUSON: The therapist eventually convinced Britelle she was herself a paedophile, sexually abusing children.

She wasn't alone. Eleven clients of the same therapist told Four Corners they had false memories of sexual abuse by their families.

(To Paul and Val) Now just explain what you were accused of?

PAUL, FATHER OF CLIENTS OF MATTHEW MEINCK: Of indecently dealing with our children from... some of them from a very young age and some at teenagers, of some terrible sexual accusations, of... in one case, of both of us being involved with one of our daughters.

SARAH FERGUSON: The therapist was Matthew Meinck.

MATTHEW MEINCK (to Sarah Ferguson): There is a serious problem in the world that people in my position may get to see a little bit more of because people come to me, but that serious problem is sexual abuse. There's an awful lot of it going on.

SARAH FERGUSON: Meinck is one of thousands of unregistered psychotherapists and counsellors working across the country, permitted to treat the vulnerable and the mentally ill without training or supervision.

IAN HICKIE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BRAIN & MIND RESEARCH INSTITUTE: We don't allow rogue surgeons to set up in their local garages. We don't allow rogue physicians to just be prescribing medicines anywhere. In the same way, we have to be very clear cut that psychological therapies can do harm.

SARAH FERGUSON: Meinck’s methods are so extreme, we don’t claim he’s is in any way typical.

(Excerpt from audio regression session between Britelle Humfrey and Matthew Meinck)

MATTHEW MEINCK: Where did he rape you - in the vagina or the anus?

(End of excerpt)

SARAH FERGUSON: But he has drawn countless people into his orbit and destroyed lives. Tonight some of those people take the brave decision to speak out, as we confront Matthew Meinck with the consequences of his actions.

SARAH FERGUSON (to Matthew Meinck): I came to see you about what it is you do. One of the...

MATTHEW MEINCK: No, you didn’t come to see me about... hold it. No, stop butting in. You did not come to see me about what it is I do. You came to see me about this concern that you had that the medical profession

MATTHEW MEINCK: Yeah, get outta here. No, bugger off. You have come here under false pretences. You have come here under false pretences.

Come and sit down.

SARAH FERGUSON: I'm happy to sit down.

MATTHEW MEINCK: Come and sit down. I want to have a talk to you. This is disgusting.

SARAH FERGUSON: I think you...

MATTHEW MEINCK: What on earth do you think you're doing? Sit down and we'll have a talk. What have you guys come to see us about?

(End of excerpt)

SARAH FERGUSON: And we ask how a modern day Rasputin like Matthew Meinck can be allowed to push people over the edge.

(On screen text: OVER THE EDGE. Reporter: Sarah Ferguson)

This is a family in recovery from a trauma that would break most people and shatter most marriages.

Michael, who wants to be known only by his first name, was taken over the edge of sanity by bogus therapy sessions in which he was convinced he had molested children.

MICHAEL, FORMER CLIENT OF MATTHEW MEINCK (crying): I said I... I said to Sara that I had raped her child.

JOANNA, FORMER CLIENT OF MATTHEW MEINCK: He confessed to raping children who had stayed at our house. He confessed to molesting and repeatedly raping our own children.

(On screen: footage of home video from Michael and Joanna’s journey across Nullarbor)

MICHAEL: That was a road train. We’re on the Nullarbor Highway; the longest stretch of straight road in the world.

SARAH FERGUSON (voiceover): Twelve years ago this young English couple made the long journey across the Nullarbor Plain. Michael and Joanna were chasing their dream of a better life in Western Australia.

JOANNA (to interviewer): This was, you know, a new start for us. We were just thrilled. It was all our dreams coming true at once; just the two of us in our little van with our baby growing. We were just full of hope and full of excitement for our future.

(To camera) Well, after a long hard drive, we've finally arrived at our destination. Perth, WA. And it's beautiful.

(End of footage)

(On screen: footage of Michael and Joanna and family at the beach)

JOANNA: It's cold that water.

MICHAEL: No, it's alright.


MICHAEL: No, it's not cold. No.


MICHAEL: No, it's warm.

(End of footage)

SARAH FERGUSON: They settled in Perth but things weren’t as easy as they hoped. After their first daughter was born Joanna suffered from post natal depression.

When she had a second child she wanted to find an alternative treatment to the drugs she was originally prescribed. That’s how she came to know Matthew Meinck.

JOANNA (to interviewer): I felt myself spiralling down again after she was born and that was when I met my friend Clare at playgroup and she was friends with Matthew and she'd been doing meditation. And she said ‘Why don't you come along and meet this guy? I think this could be the answer for you’.

SARAH FERGUSON (voiceover): Joanna went to a three day meditation retreat

MICHAEL: When she came back, she was a changed person. She was the person that I'd known before she had children; she was just wonderful.

JOANNA: Thanks to him and the retreat environment I just felt like someone had actually listened to me for once and had a different take and a different insight into what depression is, you know.

(On screen: footage of Matthew Meinck and wife Kate in kitchen)

MATTHEW MEINCK (to Kate): What are we doing for dinner?

KATE MEINCK: Well, Maryanne made curry and we're going to...


KATE MEINCK: Yeah. For us and we're just going to bulk it up a little bit and make a nice salad to go with it.

MATTHEW MEINCK: And that's it?

(End of footage)

SARAH FERGUSON: Matthew Meinck and his wife Kate invited Four Corners to their retreat in a peaceful valley 50 kilometres from Perth.

MATTHEW MEINCK: I've learnt through my own experiences and through working with thousands of people and getting great success this way, is that actually I don't even want to call myself a therapist, but really just a human being that understands that pain is a natural part of life.

BRITELLE HUMFREY: It was really good. I got a lot out of it.; just general feeling better about myself and confidence and all that sort of stuff that, you know, people go to see counsellors for, is what I got initially.

JOANNA: If you imagine you have absolutely no outside stimulus, you're just sitting there, the most you can hear is the wind and the magpies in the trees. So you go inward.

SARAH FERGUSON: Meinck’s brochures show that his clients each pay more than a thousand dollars for a one week retreat. Over time the people we’ve spoken to paid tens of thousands of dollars - always in cash - to get help from a man who freely admits he has no training or qualifications.

MATTHEW MEINCK: No, I've got no qualifications whatsoever. Yeah.

SARAH FERGUSON: Does that mean that you shouldn't be doing what you're doing? Are you safe to be doing what you're doing?

MATTHEW MEINCK: No, I always had an aversion to qualifications.

SARAH FERGUSON: Over time boundaries between client and therapist evaporated. He became a regular at birthdays, other social occasions and even holidays, and his influence over some of them grew.

JOANNA: I don't think anyone in that circle with him was not in awe of him.

MICHAEL: I thought that he had something unique to offer and he was always talking about how unique what he was doing was.

(On screen: footage of Michael and Joanna at home with their children)

SARAH FERGUSON: For Michael and Joanna the relationship with Meinck evolved over years as they took it in turns to attend his retreats separately.

Joanna was on one of those retreats when the therapist’s own wife Kate Meinck first shared her own so called memories with the group.

JOANNA: Kate brought up the fact that she had had a memory while she was sitting of (BEEP) raping her when she was a little girl. She said she was about two or three.

(End of footage)

BRITELLE HUMFREY: You know that that sort of stuff does go on but the fact that it could happen to somebody that I know and that they had completely forgotten about it - had absolutely no recollection at all - was, yeah, incredible.

JOANNA: She said she felt like the top of her head split off and she was just watching this happen to her and she felt split; she felt divided from her body. And Matthew was like ‘Yeah, that’s what it is; it's a split. That’s how you cope with this sort of thing; you split’.

MATTHEW MEINCK: There's like a a dual personality. You know, where one one part is a traumatised person and the other part is a person they... that the personality that the person uses in day to day life.

IAN HICKIE: There's great doubt that there is anything of the nature of repressed memories. The idea that memories are there that you do not about that can be legitimately raised this way is highly doubtful.

Most respectable psychology and psychiatry these days would say it's not true, and it's not an idea that should be pursued.

SARAH FERGUSON: Matthew Meinck’s theories on recovered memories would be tested in further retreats as others in the group began to experience their own regressions.

MICHAEL: Pretty much everyone had come up with some story about child abuse when they were younger or some physical abuse that had occurred to them. So I kind of felt a bit odd, you know, that such a thing hadn’t come up for me.

SARAH FERGUSON: Michael was singled out for special attention...

MATTHEW MEINCK: I'd known this man for a number of years and in fact he was a part of a circle of people who had gradually come to me one after the other because they were a group of friends.

MICHAEL: He kind of gave me the impression I was a bit broken. He told me I was a special case and I was difficult.

SARAH FERGUSON: During an intense one-on-one session Meinck led Michael to believe he was not just a victim, but a perpetrator.

MICHAEL: It was such an intense interrogation, you know. He was so intent in staring me down and being very aggressive, and I kind of broke. I just wanted to give him what he wanted.

SARAH FERGUSON: Michael’s false memory involved another man on the retreat.

MICHAEL: I confabulated this story that I had been held at knife point by Peter in the little railway carriages that people sleep in and then had taken me up to the main place and that been party to some vicious rapes and Peter had been disgusting and done some nasty things and that I'd been party to that too, but I'd done it under duress.

SARAH FERGUSON: On the face of it Michael had confessed to taking part in a heinous sexual assault, but there was no attempt to bring in the police.

MATTHEW MEINCK: I would never encourage actually any of my clients to go to the police or go to any authority on the topic because of the trauma they would go through.

That might not be acceptable to society, but I'm interested in the people I work with getting well. I'm not a policeman, yeah.

SARAH FERGUSON: Firmly believing now that he was an unconscious rapist, Michael paid to go back for another retreat.

MICHAEL: I think Matthew asked the question, you know, 'So of all the people round here who have you raped then Michael?’

SARAH FERGUSON: So you admitted to raping some of the women in the room?


SARAH FERGUSON: And then also not just the adults?


SARAH FERGUSON: So what did you say about the children?

MICHAEL (crying): I said I... I said to Sara that I had raped her child. And Sara believed that Peter had been raping her child and that she had been raping her child and that... and that um... so she was really angry; rightly so.

And I felt that she should be angry, and I remember being, you know, she came up and clocked me round the head with a water bottle um in her anger, and I felt that I was just.. felt like I was totally worthless and useless and didn't deserve to even be alive.

IAN HICKIE: We're all suggestible to some degree, but when you're distressed, when you're not so well, when you're fragile, you are very open to then having memories implanted; having the past reconstructed in ways that never occurred.

(Excerpt from audio regression session between Britelle Humfrey and Matthew Meinck)

MATTHEW MEINCK: I want the body to let some of the hurt out of this memory so we can go deeper. Let the resistance go, let it out now.

What exactly does your dad do then? You’re on all fours, he lifts your nightie up above your hips, then what does he do? Where does he rape you?

BRITELLE HUMFREY: I don’t like saying it.

MATTHEW MEINCK: Alright, where does your father rape you? Tell me what your father's doing.

SARAH FERGUSON (voiceover): Primary school teacher Britelle Humfrey was convinced by Meinck that she had been raped by her father and her brothers.

MATTHEW MEINCK: I want the body to bring forward the most easily accessible memory you have of Daran being involved with you sexually.

SARAH FERGUSON (voiceover): As well as the retreats, Meinck also conducted individual sessions at his treating rooms in Perth. With his consent Britelle recorded some of those sessions.

BRITELLE HUMFREY (to interviewer): I would lie down on a cushion and he would sit at my head and... almost like a hypnosis.

MATTHEW MEINCK: Deep in your groin and inside your vagina, all around your bum, inside your bum.

SARAH FERGUSON (voiceover): In this two hour session Meinck prompts Britelle for memories of a supposed rape by her father and brother, watched by her mother.

MATTHEW MEINCK: Is this the first time Daran has seen your father do this to you?


MATTHEW MEINCK: And your mother, you said, is standing at the door looking, is she?


(End of excerpt)

SARAH FERGUSON: We asked forensic psychiatrist Dr Michael Diamond to analyse the recordings.

DR MICHAEL DIAMOND, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: These are the techniques... they're primitive brainwashing techniques really.

SARAH FERGUSON: For 20 years Diamond has provided expert testimony to courts and police.

DR MICHAEL DIAMOND: He's using techniques that are aimed at building dependency, compliance, suggestibility; in common term, mind control.

BRITELLE HUMFREY: A lot of the time I worried about what it was I was supposed to say and what he wanted to hear and was I saying the right thing?

SARAH FERGUSON (to Matthew Meinck): Do you put people in a position where they make things up in order to please you or satisfy you?

MATTHEW MEINCK: Oh, no. no. I'm... when people... I mean, well there would be no point in doing that to start with, cause I'm not really interested in people pleasing me or satisfying me. There's not really so much a prompting in the sense of verbal prompting.

(Excerpt from audio regression session between Britelle Humfrey and therapist Matthew Meinck)

MATTHEW MEINCK: Does he orgasm or does he stop before? Mmm. And then what happens? When your father's finished at that point, what does he do then? what happens then?

(End of excerpt)

DR MICHAEL DIAMOND: We know that memory is a notoriously unreliable part of one’s brain function, and this is on the more extreme end of the spectrum.

This is not the response of somebody who’s actually remembering an experience of that magnitude and trauma. It’s a compliant person agreeing with what is being put to them.

SARAH FERGUSON: Well, if shocked by the insistent, probing and graphic nature of Meinck’s so-called therapy, imagine now the impact on the families of his clients.

The people undergoing the treatment weren’t the only victims. Whole families were drawn into this madness by false allegations of sexual assault.

Britelle Humphrey’s family was shattered.

CARLINE HUMFREY, BRITELLE'S MOTHER: I don't think we're nearly... we're a family anymore. It's a big strain on everybody I think um yeah it has been, yeah huge.

SARAH FERGUSON: Britelle and her younger brothers, Ryan, Daran and Phillip grew up together on this property outside Perth. Two years ago Ryan came home to tell his parents that Britelle had accused her father of sexual assault.

DENNIS HUMFREY, BRITELLE'S FATHER: It sounded a bit formal and he had that worried look on his face, which I haven't seen, and I thought oh, what's going on here? And he said that Britelle says that I'd raped her.

CARLINE HUMFREY: There was somebody else apparently had um raped her when she was little and then Dennis from five to 15 and I knew all about it. That was the start of it.

BRITELLE HUMFREY: Then it was that my mother and my brothers were involved. Then the next step was that my extended family had been involved and had all been raping me when I was a child.

And then it progressed to believing that not just family but pretty much everybody... anybody that I was alone with would um hurt me in some way.

SARAH FERGUSON: Britelle cut herself off from her family and drew closer to Meinck and his group.

CARLINE HUMFREY: I had the odd email that was sometimes abusive. Other times it would just be I'd send her an email and get nothing back. But it was for about two and a half years that we were very much on the outer, yeah.

SARAH FERGUSON: (to Matthew Meinck): Do you encourage them to distance themselves from their families in order to recover or heal?

MATTHEW MEINCK: In some cases I would, yeah.

SARAH FERGUSON: In this session Meinck urges Britelle to sever her ties with her family.

(Excerpt from audio regression session between Britelle Humfrey and therapist Matthew Meinck)

MATTHEW MEINCK: You need to get these fucking people out of your life. You need to get your family out of your life so you can deal with this.

I think you’ll find that once you’ve settled all that down and get that restraining order in place and those c**ts off your back and settle down again and quieten down again, I think you’ll find things will start moving.

(End of excerpt)

IAN HICKIE: That kind of powerful talk, powerful figure, insistive language is the sort of situation you see in cult-like leaders; in people who will not raise the possibility of any dissent, of any disagreement, or that it can't be exactly how they say it to be.

SARAH FERGUSON: Two years ago Britelle cut off all contact with Meinck. She now understands that all the recovered memories were false.

(To Britelle) How would you describe the state of mind that you were in at that time?

BRITELLE HUMFREY: Oh, I don't know if words could describe it; just completely blind and completely under his spell.

(On screen: footage of Kathleen Kusinski and partner Ben Blake at home)

SARAH FERGUSON: Other families suffered in the same way. Kathleen Kusinski and her partner Ben are trying to maintain a normal life in the face of shocking allegations made against them by Kathleen’s daughter, another one of Matthew Meinck’s followers.

Stormie was 26 when she became involved with Meinck five years ago. Her family found they were powerless to intervene.

BEN BLAKE, PARTNER OF KATHLEEN KUSINSKI: I went to people I know in the medical professional and the psychology profession alike, and I kept coming up with a blank. And you now, I tried to say what can we do and there was nothing legal that we had disposable to us.

(End of footage)

SARAH FERGUSON: Stormie has a mental illness. She was diagnosed with clinical depression at the age of 15.

(To Matthew Meinck) Can you treat people who have recognised diagnosed mental illness?

MATTHEW MEINCK: My approach is very different, okay. So my approach is very different in the sense that what people have been conditioned into calling illness to me is a completely natural response to an event in your life. It's not wrong, it's not inappropriate; it's not even an illness, okay?

KATHLEEN KUSINSKI, MOTHER OF CLIENT OF MATTHEW MEINCK: I think he's had the most devastating effect on her life. I would say he's probably really ruined her life.

SARAH FERGUSON: After attending Meinck’s counselling, Stormie told her mother she had been sexually assaulted.

KATHLEEN KUSINSKI: She started to tell me about multiple rapes by a bikie gang in the north of the State; a clubhouse and then on a fishing boat by a whole group of people.

SARAH FERGUSON: Over time Stormie also accused her stepfather and father of rape. The last time she saw her mother - two years ago - Stormie made a final accusation against her.

KATHLEEN KUSINSKI: It seemed so final because that was when she'd accused me of raping her and also of her raping me years before. I really felt that... I'd sort of mourned for because I could just see a real finality in what she was saying.

MATTHEW MEINCK: If their parents have got a problem with what they're bringing up, that's their parents’ problem. If they want help with that I'll talk to them, yeah? It's not my responsibility. This is not something that I can do anything about.

SARAH FERGUSON: Such is the seriousness of the allegations arising from the so called memories induced by Matthew Meinck, it was inevitable that some of them would be investigated by police.

Detective Senior Constable Steve Daymond is based in Albany, 400 kilometres south of Perth. In 2007 he investigated allegations from three siblings that their parents had abused them as children. All three were clients of Meinck.

STEVE DAYMOND, WA POLICE: The allegations themselves were quite disturbing.

SARAH FERGUSON: All the allegations arose from repressed memory sessions with Matthew Meinck.

STEVE DAYMOND: They were extreme in as much as the use of the animals to facilitate the offences and firearms were also used as implements in these offences and the physical violence that was used against the victims.

SARAH FERGUSON: The accused parents were Val and Paul. They run a sheep and grain property in the south of WA. Over a period of three years they had lost contact with three of their children, their daughter in law and their grandchildren.

In November 2007 detectives from Albany came to the property.

VAL, MOTHER OF CLIENTS OF MATTHEW MEINCK: Two policemen rocked up at our door and they said we want you to go to the police station and listen to these accusations.

SARAH FERGUSON: Val and Paul drove to the local police station. Even now they find it hard to put into words the nature of the allegations made against them by their children.

(to Val and Paul): I understand the accusations were all of a sexual nature. What exactly were you being accused of?

PAUL: Of indecently dealing with our children from... some of them from a very young age and some at teenagers, of some terrible accusations, of... in one case, of both of us being involved with one of our daughters.

VAL: They were hideous. The things that had happened were on places on the farm... they were old, they were dirty and the shearing shed was... and nothing could even have happened in there because there's rubbish everywhere and I thought 'My god, what are they trying to do to us?'

PAUL: One of the last ones I remember was I was supposed to have had six live mice put on her bare body and doing indecent things with some of them to... on her.

STEVE DAYMOND: Some were very graphic. They involved such things as firearms being used inserted into one of the victims as part of the sexual assault.

PAUL: Things like pulling the trigger going click, click, click.

VAL: Sick.

PAUL: Absolutely terrible.

SARAH FERGUSON: Police investigated the allegations against Val and Paul over 12 months. They found no evidence and the case was dropped.

STEVE DAYMOND: I was very confident with the end result of the investigation. There was no corroborating evidence in relation to this matter.

SARAH FERGUSON: Val and Paul still have two children involved with Meinck. One son and his partner have broken away. They didn’t want to appear on camera, but told Four Corners Meinck had manipulated them.

STEVE DAYMOND: They withdrew their complaints and further to that they gave me statements saying they no longer trusted their own memories; they no longer trusted Matthew’s techniques and they were sceptical of what Matthew was doing to put these memories in their heads, or to obtain these memories, I should say.

SARAH FERGUSON: As Paul and Val’s son tried to extricate himself from Meinck’s control, he received this message on his telephone.

(Excerpt of telephone message left my Matthew Meinck)

MATTHEW MEINCK: It’s now come out when you were staying on that retreat you also raped (BEEP). Now (BEEP) is someone completely different, so I don’t know how the fuck I’m going to keep this under control but I’m doing it.

You raped (BEEP) and Britelle went in to see what the banging was and somehow you got her to get involved as well.

So the only person left in that carriage is (BEEP) so I wonder what you’ve been doing with your sister as well. Anyway, I just thought I'd let you know that you’d better start fucking remembering this shit mate. You are one dangerous motherfucker.

SARAH FERGUSON: By this time, the behaviour in Meinck’s inner circle had reached a kind of frenzy. Meinck’s regressions became more pornographic as he drove his subjects to recall details of assaults on each other.

(Excerpt from audio regression session between Britelle Humfrey and therapist Matthew Meinck)

MATTHEW MEINCK: This is horrific. There's fucking wild animals attacking you. He’s raping you.

(Britelle is crying)

She fucking hurt you, she fucking attacked you. Her fucking boyfriend’s a fucking rapist! She’s a fucking rapist. What did she do? Where’d she bite ya?

Like a dog, like a dog, like a dog? You’re the one being raped, you’re the one being attacked by the bitch!

(End of excerpt)

SARAH FERGUSON: Meinck had opened the door to a flood of recent memories within the group.

CLARE, FORMER CLIENT OF MATTHEW MEINCK: Like they'd been gang raped by people. They'd been raped by different objects or date raped and then it was like women were raping each other and then people... you know, it was coming out that people had been raped on retreat without knowing it, and it was this theory of this split that he came up with.

BRITELLE HUMFREY: If it was a guy then he had been molesting dogs; all that sort of thing. Or if it was a girl it would be somebody getting a dog or a chicken or an animal to do stuff to them; to the girl.

SARAH FERGUSON: They began accusing each other of sexual crimes so horrific that some of those caught up in events at the time do not want to be identified.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN, FORMER CLIENT OF MATTHEW MEINCK: Men raping women and then men raping men.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN, FORMER CLIENT OF MATTHEW MEINCK: You come out of regression thinking 'Oh my God, I was gang raped'.

How the hell does your body respond to that? It goes into shock. I could hardly breathe, I was shaking, I was sick, I could hardly speak. I was completely crippled as a person.

MATTHEW MEINCK (to Sarah Ferguson): I don't really think most... I think most of that's made up.

SARAH FERGUSON: Well, these are the allegations.


SARAH FERGUSON: So if they're made up, that's what I need to ask you about, because if it's not true, you need to be able to respond to them. So...

MATTHEW MEINCK: Not really, I've got no need to respond to them. It's just not true.

SARAH FERGUSON: So then let me ask... Is it not true that you have prompted people to have false memories of rape and incest?

MATTHEW MEINCK: It's not true at all. Why would I do that? What would be the purpose or the benefit to me of doing that?

I'm not dealing with these people anymore. A couple of those people I haven't dealt with for years. I didn't have anything to do with them for my own reasons; professional reasons.

SARAH FERGUSON: Now, some of those people claim that you've destroyed their family life.

MATTHEW MEINCK: Yeah, I'm not going down that track.

SARAH FERGUSON: You've led them to have...

MATTHEW MEINCK: No, I haven't done that. This is not true...

SARAH FERGUSON: Absurd memories that didn't take place; that destroyed their family life.

MATTHEW MEINCK: I'm not going down that track. I'm not interested in going down this track. If you want to... you've come up... have you come here with false pretences?

SARAH FERGUSON: Certainly not.

MATTHEW MEINCK: Because if you have, this is stopping.

SARAH FERGUSON (voiceover): According to the accounts we’ve been given, Kate Meinck, Matthew’s wife, was the first to claim she had been raped by one of the group.

BRITELLE HUMFREY: Kate had remembered when Matt had been out at work or whatever that Pete would rape her or take her up the back in the bush and rape her there.

So she told Pete these things and Pete wasn't... wasn't disbelieving, but obviously was pretty... didn't understand where all this was coming from and didn’t believe that of himself.

SARAH FERGUSON: Peter is the Meincks’ accountant. He told Four Corners Meinck had only ever helped him. He denied any knowledge of the brutal scene that followed at the retreat ground.

According to those present, Meinck took Peter upstairs in the retreat building to force him to confess to rapes he did not commit.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What happened to Peter that day was the most horrific thing I have ever seen.

BRITELLE HUMFREY: I have a very, very clear imagine of my... in my head of Matt on top of Pete and Pete lying on his back and just so vulnerable and Matt just absolutely pummelling him and this look in Matt's face of just... it was just an animalistic look. It was really, really horrifying.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Matthew punched him, kicked him, smashed him against the wall, pinned him on the ground and bent his neck. It was all very physical, very rough.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He was telling the girls 'Come on girls, you get into him. He's raped you. Come on.’

(Excerpt from audio regression session between Britelle Humfrey and therapist Matthew Meinck)

MATTHEW MEINCK: Yes, he admitted to the fact he used comfort to get the girls. He made that very, very clear when he was admitting to the rapes. There was a lot going on but I was in his face the whole day.

(End of excerpt)

SARAH FERGUSON (to Matthew Meinck): There is one further accusation against you - that you violently assaulted a friend of yours, someone who was here on one of the retreats, in order to force him to confess to having raped people here, including your wife. Did you do that?


SARAH FERGUSON: So their accounts are wrong, invented? How do you account for people giving a detailed description of an assault with a number of people present?

MATTHEW MEINCK: This is where, you know, you're talking about people who's... some of the people I deal with, their life is perpetually full of extreme violence, yeah. This is normal day to day life for them, yeah?

SARAH FERGUSON (voiceover): Meinck’s powers of persuasion had convinced members of the group they’d unconsciously turned into multiple rapists and sadists.

His next step took them even lower. He convinced a number of them that they were also paedophiles.

BRITELLE HUMFREY: That took an amazing amount of convincing from Matt. That's actually the one thing that I remember him openly saying to me that 'This did happen and you have to remember it'. You have to remember what you did to those kids. What did you do to those kids?' I remember him saying those exact words.

MICHAEL: It's just repulsive. It’s repulsive.

SARAH FERGUSON: It was the false memory of molesting children that finally drove Michael to insanity.

JOANNA: Matthew said to Michael, 'Okay, tell Joanna what you've done'. And he proceeded to tell me, you know, terrible things that he'd supposedly done to children who we looked after routinely and to our own children.

Molesting children who'd stayed at our houses; raping them, threatening them at knifepoint.

IAN HICKIE: People's lives can be put at risk. It's a very important point to make. If you're already vulnerable, these treatments make you worse, you can become actively suicidal. You can lose contact with reality.

Michael drove around Perth for three days, pursued by voices in his head, convinced the police were chasing him.

MICHAEL: It was the driving more than anything. The driving, I would feel like the car behind me was driver was talking to and then I'd feel I was being followed, and then the radio would be telling me messages.

SARAH FERGUSON: He rolled in a pool of petrol at a Perth service station and jumped into the Swan River at night to throw the pursuers off his scent.

MICHAEL: I was convinced that in Joanna's madness that she had killed the children and put them in my boot and I'd been driving around a car with my dead children in the boot.

SARAH FERGUSON: By this time Joanna was at her wit’s end; she went to the police.

JOANNA: I walked in and I said I need to report my husband. It's possible he’s raped my children and he’s on the run.

MICHAEL: The culmination of it was I ended up in a ah in a vacant lot in Cockburn Gateway... in a kind of a sandy vacant lot next to a shopping centre.

ANTHONY PYMM, WA POLICE: Members of the public had gone to assist him; however he’s become aggressive and abusive to these people.

SARAH FERGUSON: Police officer Anthony Pymm arrived to find Michael deeply distressed and locked inside his car.

ANTHONY PYMM: His eyes were bloodshot. he appeared very tired, very weak. It looked like he’d been driving around for days without any sleep. His clothes were dirty, wrinkled. He was unshaven.

Although being very weak and very tired at times he still had enough energy to become aggressive and constantly telling us to leave him alone and that he wanted to end his life.

SARAH FERGUSON: Michael was admitted to the Graylands psychiatric hospital as an involuntary patient. His treating doctor noted he was at risk of harming himself.

Michael was unaware at this stage that the police had found a diary in his car where he listed all the children he was supposed to have molested.

ANTHONY PYMM: The allegations from the diary were referred to the child abuse squad, which they’ve obviously conducted their investigation into the matter.

They had spoken to all the people named in this diary. They were interviewed and none of the allegations were true, so he was never charged with any offence based on the fact that the victims had said it didn’t happen.

MATTHEW MEINCK (to Sarah Ferguson): These are clients... I'm not... I can't... I'm not gonna talk about people that have come to me and exposed things to me between me and them. I'm not gonna talk about in on...

SARAH FERGUSON: But that's okay because they've exposed them to us. They...

MATTHEW MEINCK: I don't care. They haven't exposed it to people out there - the public - so I'm not doing it.

SARAH FERGUSON: I think they will expose them to the public. They're quite happy to talk...


SARAH FERGUSON: They're quite happy to talk about what's happened to them...

MATTHEW MEINCK: No, I'm sorry. This interview is finishing unless you get back to what you told me you'd come to see me about.

SARAH FERGUSON: I mean one...

MATTHEW MEINCK: What you came to see me about... well, you said the medical profession are trying to take control of....

SARAH FERGUSON: I came to see you about what it is you do.

MATTHEW MEINCK: No, you didn't come to see me about... hold it. No, stop butting in. You did not come to see me about what it is I do. You came to see me...

SARAH FERGUSON (voiceover): At this point in the interview Meinck’s wife Kate unplugged the lights and tried to take the interview tape we'd already shot.

MATTHEW MEINCK: No, bugger off. Yeah, get out of here.

KATE MEINCK: Go, give me your tape.

MATTHEW MEINCK: You are dishonest.

CAMERAMAN: Please don't take my tape out.

MATTHEW MEINCK: No, bugger off. You have come here under false pretences. You've come here under false pretences.

SARAH FERGUSON (voiceover): There is no protection in Australia against self proclaimed therapists like Matthew Meinck.

IAN HICKIE: Well sadly, the Australian public's quite vulnerable at the moment, cause what we have is a really good thing going on - more people seeking help.

But at another level, a really bad thing; a real lack of national standards and a real lack of information about who really has good training, who can be trusted and those who simply say, I'm a counsellor.

SARAH FERGUSON: In the meantime the victims of the Meinck’s counselling are left to repair themselves and their shattered families.

JOANNA: I feel... I feel ashamed and stupid for ever believing for one minute that any of those things could've happened. There is... there is a part of me that will always be broken because of that.

KATHLEEN KUSINSKI: I think there should be a law against it. I personally would like to see Matthew in jail. I think that's what he deserves, but I don't know where the law stands on that and I don't think there's anything we can do.

CLARE: He can just get away with it and just keep doing this. You know, he’s doing regressions on children, he’s convincing people they’ve done things they haven’t and he’s still operating.

SARAH FERGUSON: Meinck had admitted in the interview that he’d done counselling sessions with children and he would like to do more.

MATTHEW MEINCK: (laughs) I giggle because I think I don't work a lot with children mainly because of the politics involved, yeah?

SARAH FERGUSON: I mean, you'd like to be able to do more if you were free to?

MATTHEW MEINCK: Oh yeah, because there's a lot of people... some people have brought their children to see me over the years and I find them a lot easier to heal; a lot easier to help.

(Excerpt of phone message from Matthew Meinck to Britelle Humfrey)

BRITELLE HUMFREY: Britelle, this is Matthew. Could you please return my call and stop fucking around. I let you do the retreat with credit, but I’m not letting you spin out while you owe me money. I’ll help you if you want me to help you but don’t fuck me around.

SARAH FERGUSON: Matthew Meinck’s next retreat starts in May.

MATTHEW MEINCK: This is bullshit. I know you’re having a hard time but you’re treating me fucking badly.

(End of excerpt)END OF TRANSCRIPT


Disclaimer:This news page is about groups, organizations or movements, which may have been called "cults" and/or "cult-like" in some way, shape or form. But not all groups called either "cults" or "cult-like" are harmful. Instead, they may be benign and generally defined as simply people intensely devoted to a person, place or thing. Therefore, the discussion or mention of a group, organization or person on this page, is not necessarily meant pejoratively. Readers are encouraged to read widely on a topic before forming an opinion. Never accept information from a single source at face value. This website only holds a small amount of information and should not be relied on as a complete source. For example, if you find older information, this should be weighed up against newer information as circumstances can change.
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