What happened after a bishop told kids Santa doesn’t exist

The child psychiatrist Dr David Evans gave the children at the Reform Church a demonstration of what he meant by the devil – and was promptly removed from the job

What happened after a bishop told kids Santa doesn’t exist

A child psychiatrist who visited a church in Tasmania last year to give the children there a demonstration of what the devil meant by Father Christmas was officially accused of being a “lingering shadow of evil”, and dismissed as “not worth the oxygen of power”.

The Reverend Gerald Saunderson launched legal action against the Reverend Dr David Evans, alleging that the performance of the child psychiatrist at the Reform Church in the north-west city of Launceston was so badly “disappointing” he could not ignore it.

Saunderson, the vicar of the church, claimed in court that Evans refused to withdraw the performance despite him acting as his intermediary in discussions with Evans.

Responding to those allegations, Evans, who is also chairman of the Australian Psychological Society, said: “I am dismayed to find myself at the centre of a public dispute between the vicar of the Reform Church and a child psychiatrist that has the potential to damage the reputation of the profession.

“It is also important to emphasise that what occurred is not reflective of the standards, ethics and dedication that the APS, as a professional organisation, demands of its members. I sincerely hope that Dr Saunderson and the Reverend Dr Evans can find a way to resolve this without making this matter public, and that the Press Council can grant us a temporary temporary injunction.”

The Press Council had previously ruled the performance of the child psychiatrist was “demeaning, abusive and unfair” to his patient.

Saunderson presented a letter to the court from a former patient, the child actor Hugh Fogarty, alleging that Evans had “called me a liar and blamed me for the [oncoming] apocalypse”.

Evans, who testified that he was concerned that Fogarty was being judged on his performance as a child actor, denied that he had ever deliberately undermined any of the children he treated.

He claimed he had suffered an “abuse of power”.

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