False abuse claim robs woman of dying dad By JARROD BOOKER
Katrina Meaclem missed out on precious time with her dying father because of false sexual abuse allegations. Sixteen years after her father’s death, Meaclem, 29, cannot forgive Dr Diane Espie, who examined her and added considerable weight to existing claims that she had been abused by her father. Without the diagnosis by Espie when she was 12, Meaclem believes she may have been allowed to return to live with her parents. “I was daddy’s girl. (But) we had to sneak around just to spend some quality time with him,” Meaclem said. “I think the most time I spent with (my father) was when he ended up in hospital.” Her father spent six weeks in hospital before he died. Espie is under scrutiny for her examination of several young girls at Christchurch’s Glenelg Health Camp.
ACT MP Deborah Coddington said Espie’s examinations and claims against the fathers of her patients amounted to a “dreadful scandal”. “Dr Espie, without the parents’ permission and with no other adult present, repeatedly examined these little girls in a way that can only be described as sexual abuse,” Coddington said under parliamentary privilege. Coddington is now seeking an inquiry into examinations that took place at Glenelg Health Camp. Meaclem’s father was never charged by police over sexual abuse allegations, but she and her two younger sisters were put into foster care. She was examined at Glenelg Health Camp in 1987.
“I remember being taken up to this room which was upstairs and told to lay on the bed because I was going to be examined for sexual abuse. At that time I didn’t know how to act or what to do, I just went with the flow,” Meaclem said. “She wasn’t gentle – I remember that. (Espie) said I had to get it done. “I wasn’t allowed anyone in the room with me.”
Espie’s notes said her examination of Meaclem was “strongly suggestive of sexual interference, possibly on a recurrent basis”. Her report said Meaclem “obviously had a lot on her mind, was hiding a lot and suppressing a lot of feelings”. “My recommendation is that Katrina receive ongoing support/counselling to assist her to verbalise her feelings, particularly relating to home and family,” Espie wrote.
Meaclem said she could not have made it more clear that she had not suffered abuse. “(Espie) said we know it’s been done. She was pretty determined that it happened. “I know 100 per cent that my father didn’t touch me. I never let people push that into my head.”
Meaclem would like compensation for her and others examined by Espie. “Money is not going to clear anything up, or anything like that. But it might bring some people a little bit of happiness.”
Espie, who is no longer registered to practise in New Zealand, could not be reached by The Press for comment