Bikie war at Melbourne prison as 300 armed inmates tear down fences separating rival gangs during riot over a smoking ban

Featured


 – and fears grow over notorious tattooed enforcer locked in isolation

  • At least 60 prisoners at Melbourne’s Metropolitan Remand Centre rioting
  • Rioters seen covering their faces, bashing doors and carrying large sticks
  • Unrest believed to be protest against ban on smoking set to be introduced
  • Notorious Australian bikie enforcer Toby Mitchell being held at the prison 
  • Corrections Commissioner said the ‘perimeter of the prison is secure’ 
  • There have been reports of up to 100 inmates still rioting inside the prison 
  • Up to two fires are reportedly burning inside of the building 

Prison riot: Corrections Victoria regains control of Melbourne Remand Centre after police storm facility

Updated 48 minutes ago

Corrections Victoria has regained control of the Metropolitan Remand Centre in Melbourne’s west, after a 15-hour riot that started around noon yesterday ended overnight.

Heavily armed police carrying shields stormed the maximum security prison around 3:00am in a bid to quell the rioting prisoners.

In a statement, Corrections Victoria said it was a difficult operation conducted under the cover of darkness to protect prison staff, Victoria Police and prisoners.

I think it’s fair to say that I am deeply relieved that no-one was seriously hurt

Wade Noonan, Victorian Corrections Minister

Several prisoners were hurt in the riot and were treated by medical staff.

A wall was knocked down, fires were lit and windows were smashed during the violence, involving up to 300 inmates, some of who covered their faces and carried sticks.

The riot is widely believed to have been sparked by the imposition of a smoking ban which came into effect today at the remand centre at Ravenhall.

Two staff members suffered minor injuries but “these were not as a direct result of interaction with prisoners” the department said in a statement.

This morning five fire trucks returned to the centre after a fire alarm was triggered due to a minor fire at the premises.

A statement from the Justice Department said there was no risk to prisoner or staff safety.

Two ambulances were also seen going into the centre and Ambulance Victoria said one man was being treated for chest pain.

Ambulance officials could not say if it was it a prison staff member or an inmate.

About 200 staff were evacuated from the facility and all of the state’s prisons went into lockdown as a precaution.

A large number of prisoners were transferred to other facilities as authorities assessed the damage to the prison.

Corrections Victoria will hold an internal review to the handling of the riot and Victoria Police is also investigating.

Victorian Corrections Minister Wade Noonan called the incident “unacceptable” and “dangerous”.

“This behaviour will not be tolerated,” he said.

“I want to assure the Victorian people that there will be a thorough investigation into what caused this riot, how this major security breach happened and the response to it.

“This criminal behaviour will not be tolerated.

“I think it’s fair to say that I am deeply relieved that no-one was seriously hurt and this is in no small part due to the efforts of our brave men and women in Corrections Victoria and Victoria Police.”

Corrections Commissioner Jan Shuard said all prisons across the state would remain in lockdown for the time being.

She said the smoking ban probably was the reason for the riot but that the ban would still be enforced from today.

Ms Shuard could not put a dollar figure on the amount of damage inside the centre but said prison cells, windows and units were damaged.

She said work had already begun to assess the damage and make repairs.

All 802 prisoners were accounted for.

Ms Shuard said most prisoners returned to their cells on instructions from police and corrections officials.

Police used capsicum spray to subdue those refusing to cooperate.

“I would say by the time we got to the end of the exercise there was around 50 prisoners out and about that we had to bring back under control but that took a long time,” Ms Shuard said.

“The numbers decreased as the day went on.”

Most prisoners returned to cells voluntarily

Ms Shuard said they were enacting a prison recovery plan to fix the damage and secure the prisoners in their cells.

“So we’ll go to a restricted regime for a period of time and then when we assess its safe to do so we will start moving back to a normal regime but it’ll take a while,” she said.

“Those people that might be involved in these incidents don’t get the same freedom of movement that they would’ve had previously.

Every Victorian should be in no doubt that those who have acted in a criminal way will feel the full force of the law.

Daniel Andrews, Victorian Premier

“There are very restricted regimes for people that cause disruption to the prison system.”

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane said police took their time, planned the operation to regain control of the prison and then executed that plan.

“It took several hours to give the prisoners who didn’t want to be involved in any confrontation with police and corrections staff an opportunity to return to their cells.

“The vast majority of prisoners on the night returned to their cells and as they were confronted during the evening the remaining prisoners surrendered and were accounted for.”

Assistant Commissioner Leane said some of the inmates involved would probably face new criminal charges.

“I think there’s quite a few of them [who] will be thinking that they may be doing some more time than they weren’t planning on doing, yes,” he said.

Ms Shuard also promised a wide-ranging review of the handling of the incident.

“If criminal acts have occurred within our prison that would be a matter for Victoria Police to pursue any charges,” she said.

Mr Noonan praised prison staff, police and emergency workers for their “bravery in a difficult and dangerous situation”.

“I want to assure the Victorian people there will be a thorough investigation into what caused this riot, how this major security breach happened and the response to it,” he said in a statement.

Premier angry about riot, promises independent inquiry

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said what happened at the remand centre was “completely unacceptable” and that criminal behaviour would be investigated and prosecuted.

“We’ll investigate what went on and how it was allowed to happen,” he said.

“The circumstances around this will be fully and frankly investigated with independent oversight.

“We’ve got to learn from this and ensure that everything that can be done to avoid it ever happening again is done.”

Mr Andrews said “very significant damage was done” that will come at “considerable cost” to the Victorian taxpayer.

“Every Victorian should be in no doubt that those who have acted in a criminal way will feel the full force of the law,” he said.

Fiona Patten, the leader of the Australian Sex Party, urged the Government to overturn the smoking ban.

“It’s naive to think that when you erode the rights of an individual who has precious little freedom in the first place, they are going to just sit back and take it,” she said.

“Obviously they are going to feel further marginalised and this is exactly what has led to the trouble at the Ravenhall Maximum security facility.”

But the Premier promptly rejected that idea.

“It will not be changed. You don’t reward that sort of appalling behaviour by bringing about policy changes,” he said.

Heavily-armed police have stormed a maximum security prison after 300 criminals began rioting over a smoking ban.

Officers wearing vests, helmets and carrying shotguns charged the prison about 3:20pm in an effort to retake control, after riots broke out around 12.20pm on Tuesday. A police drone also hovered above the centre.

Inside the prison, water cannons were used to control prisoners, which included rival bikie gangs locked in a bitter war, according to Channel Seven.  

Dozens of riot police stormed the centre and continued into the night with heavily armed police monitoring the entrance at 11pm,The Herald Sun have reported.

Fires burned well into the evening inside the maximum security prison complex.

On the loose: About 300 criminals are rioting and guards have been overrun at a Melbourne prison, with more than 100 officers trying to stop 

On the loose: About 300 criminals are rioting and guards have been overrun at a Melbourne prison, with more than 100 officers trying to stop 

Dozens of riot police stormed the centre and continued well into the night with heavily armed police monitoring the entrance at 11pm

Dozens of riot police stormed the centre and continued well into the night with heavily armed police monitoring the entrance at 11pm

Corrections Commissioner Jan Shuard said ‘the perimeter of the prison is secure.’

Cheering and shouting was reportedly heard from inside the prison walls at 9.15pm.

‘We have worked very closely with our staff across the state in the implementation of this smoking ban and they have been a part of the process,’ she said.

‘This is very disappointing that this occurred today, we have done an enourmous amount of work to prepare for this, we obviously have contingency plans for all events within our prisons.’

Up to two fires are burning inside of the building and 100 inmates are yet to surrender.

Two loud bangs were heard from inside the prison around 6pm but it is unknown what was the cause, The Australian have reported.

Other reports say riot police are used tear gas inside the prison and a group of about 15 criminals forced their way into the control room in the late afternoon, according to The Age.  

Emergency services remain at the location including fire fighters and Victoria Police special operations armed with shields and helmets.

Footage by helicopters above the Metropolitan Remand Centre at Ravenhill in Melbourne’s west, shows people covering their faces, bashing doors and carrying large sticks and bats. Black smoke was also seen in the sky above the centre.

Port Phillip Prison, a mere four kilometres away, was also put into lock down following a fire at their facility, but it has since been contained.

Going in: Heavily-armed police have stormed a maximum security prison after 300 criminals began rioting over a smoking ban

Fight back: Officers wearing vests, helmets and carrying shotguns charged the prison in an effort to retake control

Cheering and shouting was reportedly heard from inside the prison walls at 9.15pm

Emergency services remain at the location including fire fighters and Victoria Police special operations armed with shields

Smoke can be seen rising from inside the prison's perimeters and up to 100 prisoners are yet to surrender

Notorious Australian bikie, former enforcer Toby Mitchell, is being held in isolation inside the facility

Notorious Australian bikie, former enforcer Toby Mitchell, is being held in isolation inside the facility

Notorious Australian bikie, former enforcer Toby Mitchell, is being held in isolation inside the facility. Mitchell, an infamous member of the Bandidos gang, has survived two shootings – one in which he was shot five times in the back.

‘Police are currently responding to a disturbance at a correctional facility on Middle Road Ravenhall just before 12.30pm,’ a Victoria Police statement read.

‘We will thoroughly review how this came about, how we responded to it and what we might need to do in the future,’

Police workers from the Critical Incident Response Team are seen outside Ravenhall Prison

Pushing back: Riot police at the Ravenhall Prison in Melbourne

Dangerous situation: Critical Incident Response team members patrol outside the centre

Dark: Smoke billows from the Ravenhall prison into the sky

‘Staff have been evacuated as a precaution. The inmates remain contained within the grounds and a number of police units are currently on scene including the Air wing.’ 

Prisoners are also reportedly lighting fires and destroying other property. 

The centre has beds to house 723 people. 

Corrections Victoria released a statement on Tuesday afternoon saying prisoners breached the ‘secure inner perimeter’ at the centre.

Ready to go: An officer with a shotgun stands outside the prison before riot police stormed the centre

Heavily armed: Officers gather outside the remand centre as prisoners riot inside

Load up: Riot police prepare to enter the prison 

Load up: Riot police prepare to enter the prison 

Riot breaks out at Ravenhall prison over smoking ban

‘All staff have been accounted for and there are no reports of staff injuries at this stage,’ the statement read.

‘Police have secured the perimeter. There is no threat to public safety.’

It is believed the riot has been caused by a Victorian government plan to ban smoking in prisons, which is set to start on Wednesday. 

‘The smoking ban will occur tomorrow,’ the Corrections Commissioner said.

However, according to reports, the canteen at Ravenhill stopped selling tobacco on June 15.

Heavy duty: A police armoured-vehicle arrives at the prison

High alert: Hundreds of officers and guards are at the scene of the Ravenhill facility in Melbourne's west

The remand centre is located in Ravenhall, west of Melbourne's CBD

Footage captured by Channel Seven shows people covering their faces, bashing doors and carrying large sticks and bats

Aussie Peter Scully to face Philippines court on ‘depraved’ paedophilia charges; videos allegedly featured rape, torture

Featured


By North Asia correspondent Matthew Carney

An Australian man will face a Philippines court tomorrow to enter a plea on paedophilia charges described by authorities there as “depraved”.

Peter Scully allegedly ran an international paedophile ring from Mindanao in the Southern Philippines that raped, tortured and murdered children.

One victim was only 18 months old.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details which may be disturbing for some readers.

Scully first moved to Cagayan de Oro on the island of Mindanao in 2011.

Exploiting the poverty and desperation right on his doorstep, Scully approached Arlene Loyola and offered to give her eight-year-old daughter education and food.

Ms Loyola accepted the offer, but after two weeks she began to worry.

“I prayed and God told me to get her away from Scully and I did,” Ms Loyola told 7.30.

When Ms Loyola got her daughter back she had been bashed and badly bruised. Scully had repeatedly drugged and raped the girl.

Ms Loyola blames herself.

“I feel so ashamed and asked forgiveness from my child because she suffered so much,” she said, sobbing.

“She just wanted to go to school.

“I can’t sleep; I just can’t stop thinking about what happened to her.”

Customers paid $10,000 to view torture videos

But this was just the tip of the iceberg of Scully’s depravity.

Officers of the Philippines Bureau of Investigation showed 7.30 a dark old house with high walls in another part of Cagayan de Oro.

It was here Scully made the videos called The Destruction of Daisy.

He was selling the videos to online customers around the world for up to $10,000 a view.

We are pretty much sure that we have a very solid case and that he will be away for good.

Prosecutor Eric Nuqui

The full details of what happened at this house are too shocking to reveal.

But Angelito Magno, one of the lead investigators, gave 7.30 an insight.

“In one of these videos was an 18-month-old baby girl who was hanged upside down,” he said.

“She was crying all the time she was being tortured.”

Demand was so great for these sickening videos that six other foreigners, mainly from Europe, started to fund Scully.

But one made-to-order video proved to be Scully’s undoing.

In it, two girls, one 12 years old and the other 13, were forced to dig their own graves while being raped.

Mr Magno said the girls eventually led them to Scully.

“The two girls were able to escape and seek police assistance while they were still wearing chains, chains to their necks,” he said.

Mr Magno was part of the international team that arrested 51-year-old Scully in February, charging him on multiple counts of sexual abuse, cyber sex, torture, rape, human trafficking and murder.

In Manila, an investigation team is gathering all the evidence before the trial formally starts later this year.

They now have seven victims under witness protection who will testify against Scully in court.

Prosecutors confident Scully will go ‘away for good’

Eric Nuqui works at the Philippines Investigation Bureau and will be one of the lawyers who will be leading the trial against Scully.

“With the overwhelming evidence we have and with the prosecutors handling the case, we are pretty much sure that we have a very solid case and that he will be away for good,” he told 7.30.

The team in Manila and the Australian Federal Police are now working to identify and prosecute Scully’s customers around the world.

They have evidence that an Australian man offered Scully about $2,500 to rape a 13-year-old girl.

While the capture of Scully has been a success for the Philippines Bureau of Investigation, the reality is, with limited manpower and resources, they are struggling to cope with the flood of paedophiles entering the Philippines.

The Australian Federal Police say 250 Australians convicted of child sex offences have travelled to the Philippines in the last four years.

But Philippines authorities say they know of only 10.

Mr Nuqui said there was a problem in coordination in the Philippines.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m yet to receive information,” he said.

“Maybe they’re providing information to other (Philippines) agencies and we are not able to access it.”


Philippines police arrest, prepare to deport Australian fugitive accused of child molestation

Posted 27 Mar 2015, 11:24am

An Australian fugitive wanted for molesting a young girl in Australia has been arrested in Manila and will be deported from the Philippines.

Philippines immigration officials stopped 39-year-old Roy Woodward upon his arrival in an airport in Manila from Sydney.

An alert posted by Australian Interpol said Mr Woodward had been accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl and was set for sentencing by a local Australian court.

Following the arrest, an immigration intelligence official said Manila should keep a closer watch out for paedophiles and fugitives.

Another Australian, Peter Gerard Scully, is facing charges for the murder of a 12-year-old girl and sexual abuse of 11 children in the southern Philippines.

The Melbourne man is the key suspect in one of the most horrifying paedophile rings uncovered by police in the Philippines.

Mr Scully allegedly spent years sexually abusing and torturing young children and streaming his alleged crimes online.

If he is found guilty he will face life in prison.

The National Bureau of Investigation has launched a manhunt for four foreigners believed to have been working with Mr Scully since 2011.

The Philippines is a major hub of the billion-dollar global child cybersex industry due to its widespread poverty and legal loopholes.

The Philippines Justice Department secretary Leila de Lima last year said online child abuse was the leading cyber-related crime in the Philippines and made up 46 per cent of more than 200 cases.


Australian Federal Police says 250 Australians with child sex convictions travelled to Philippines in last four years

Updated 13 Apr 2015, 5:02pm

About 250 Australians with child sex convictions have travelled to the Philippines in the last four years, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has revealed.

Filipino police are currently pursuing a case against Australian man Peter Gerard Scully for what they allege are some of the worst child sex offences in the nation’s history.

The AFP was involved in the investigation and arrest and says 250 known Australian child sex offenders travelled to the Philippines in the past four years.

A spokesman has told the ABC that Australia alerts Filipino authorities when a sex offender boards a flight, but it is up to them whether to refuse entry.

Scully, 51, who has no previous convictions for child sex abuse, was arrested and charged with sexually abusing 11 children aged between 18 months and 13 years.

He allegedly spent years sexually abusing and torturing young children and streaming his crimes online, where the AFP says he charged between $US100 and $US10,000 for the videos he filmed.

The Melbourne man has also been charged with the murder of one of his alleged victims, a 12-year-old girl, along with rape, torture, human trafficking and violating cyber laws.

On Saturday, authorities in the Philippines said Scully was working with foreign accomplices in his child pornography operation and launched a manhunt for four foreigners believed to be involved.

The Australian embassy held an emergency meeting late last week in relation to the case.

Editor’s note 13/4/2015: An earlier version of this story said 250 Australian sex offenders had travelled to the Philippines in the last year.

Vile paedophile Gerald Ridsdale gives evidence at Royal Commission today

Featured


IN his own words, Gerald Francis Ridsdale was “out of control”, and spoke of his desire to be removed from situations where he had evil urges to molest small children.

Ridsdale — Australia’s worst paedophile priest — told church investigators after his first conviction in 1994 that he “went haywire” in the Victorian town of Mortlake where he’s believed to have abused every boy in school.

Asked by a Catholic Church representative what happened he said: “I got out of control again. I went haywire there. Altar boys mainly.

“It was no secret around Mortlake eventually about me and my behaviour; there was talk all around the place among the children and one lot of parents came to me.”

Ridsdale has been convicted for abusing more than 50 children over 30 years, but the real figure may be in the hundreds.

He is giving evidence before the child sex abuse royal commission’s Ballarat inquiry on from his jail cell.

In admissions being streamed live over the internet, Ridsdale has told the hearing he couldn’t control his sexual urges and was hoping to get “sexual instructions ” on how to relate to people from the church.

He said he’d always felt the need for intimacy and closeness. But the only intimacy he ever had with an adult came while he was in prison.

“I think I’ve always felt the need for closeness.”

He realised he was attracted to young boys not women while he was at Werribee seminary. Despite the realisation, he didn’t want to lose the “status” of being a priest.

Also while he was at the seminary he had a problem with masturbation and was told he needed to stop it “or leave” — but he says he couldn’t stop.

Gerald Ridsdale gives evidence by video link.

Gerald Ridsdale gives evidence by video link. Source: Supplied

Ridsdale said he never told anyone about his sexual abuse of boys, even during confession, because the “overriding fear would have been losing the priesthood”.

Asked what he specifically didn’t confess he said: “The sexual offending against children.”

The 81-year-old was aware what he was doing was a crime.

Speaking matter of factly, Ridsdale couldn’t remember the names of his earliest victims but is relying on court documents.

Asked whether he selected his victims by deliberately targeting “poor families”, Ridsdale agreed.

“It’s obvious to me now that there was a pattern of seeing victims as being vulnerable … but not always vulnerable,” he said.

He also agreed his usual method was to involve himself with multiple families with no father present and then use opportunities such as church camps and outings to abuse the children of those families.

He has told of “fondling and touching” young boys and once a complaint was made he was threatened to be shipped to the “missions”.

In another major development today, Cardinal George Pell has said he is prepared to give evidence at the Royal Commission in person if he has asked to, but so far he hasn’t been asked Sky News reported.

What the church knew about the abuse — and how it treated the news — has formed a major part of what the commission is investigating.

A series of letters and documents published on the sex abuse royal commission’s website reveal details of Ridsdale’s abuse and the response from the Catholic Church, including Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns.

‘I went haywire with altar boys’

Gerald Ridsdale (left) arriving to court with George Pell Source: Supplied

Ridsdale has been convicted for abusing more than 50 children over three decades, dating back to his ordination in 1961.

After parents complained to then Ballarat Bishop James O’Collins about Ridsdale in 1961, O’Collins told him: “If this thing happens again then you’re off to the Missions” and sent him to Mildura. The royal commission was also told Bishop Mulkearns knew in 1975 that Ridsdale had abused boys — but did not act until 1988.

Among the other documents are a letter from Ridsdale to Bishop Mulkearns about stepping down from parish work in Horsham, 11 April, 1988: “I confirm my request to step down from parish work in this diocese so that I may be removed from the kind of work that has proved to be a temptation and a difficulty for me.”

In a letter to a victim in 1979, Ridsdale wrote as if they were lovers and told him some good would come from his abuse, the Herald Sun reported.

“I don’t know how much you know about me or how much you’ve guessed, but you’re the first person I’ve ever wanted to open up to. You’re the first kid I have been honest with and warned off (a bit late unfortunately, but I suppose all experiences bring some good out in us),” he wrote.

Bishop Mulkearns wrote to Ridsdale in November, 1988, after Ridsdale had faced a suspension from some duties for a year. Mulkearns noted Ridsdale had been doing some work helping isolated families but said it was not a good idea for him to celebrate reconciliation or baptism.

Australia’s worst paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale.

Australia’s worst paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale. Source: Supplied

“With regard to the problems which have arisen, it could possibly be asked at a later date whether you continued to administer sacraments and it would be to be able to state that you had not been involved at this level with people.

“I hope I don’t sound too harsh in the above, but I feel that it is most important that we honour the undertakings which have been given and that we do nothing at this time which might rebound on us later.

“I have every hope that nothing more will eventuate, but we have to do our part to ensure that it does not.”

Ridsdale will not be asked about his offending, after being convicted in four separate court cases of abusing more than 50 children. But the royal commission and victims want to know who was responsible for moving Ridsdale from parish to parish, allowing him to continue to offend.

A victim, who was abused by other clergy in the Ballarat diocese, said victims wanted the truth made public about who essentially facilitated the abusers.

“We’d love to know how high it went up the tree as well and if those people are still in power now,” the victim told AAP.


Child sexual abuse inquiry: Notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale feared confession would cost him priesthood, royal commission hears

Updated about an hour ago

One of Australia’s most notorious paedophiles, Gerald Ridsdale, never revealed the extent of his offending to avoid being stripped of his priesthood, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse in Ballarat has heard.

The elderly Ridsdale is giving evidence to the inquiry via video link from Ararat prison, where he is serving an eight-year sentence for the rape and abuse of children, some of them as young as four.

He told the royal commission he could not remember committing some of the offences and had forgotten the names of some of his earliest victims.

Ridsdale revealed he “didn’t confess the sexual offending against children” because he had a great fear of losing his priesthood.

“I was a very proud person … it just would’ve been devastating,” he told the commission.

He also told senior counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness SC, he could no longer recall being abused himself as a child, despite making statements to that effect in the 1990s.

Ridsdale said statements he made in 1994, about being abused by members of the clergy, including a Christian Brother when he was 11 or 12 years old, would have been correct at the time.

The inquiry is examining what the Catholic Church knew about the extent of Ridsdale’s offending as he was moved from town to town.

He was quizzed at length about whether or not people were warned about his offending tendencies as he was moved from between schools around western Victoria, in the 1960s and 70s.

When asked by Ms Furness if anyone was notified at Mildura, when he was relocated there from Ballarat, he answered “I don’t know”.

Ridsdale did say he was warned by clergy in Ballarat before being moved to Mildura, “if this happens again you’ll be off to the missions”.

Ridsdale recalled abusing choir boys in Mildura, and later at Swan Hill, when he was again moved on.

“Yes … there would probably be another couple [of victims] there,” he told Ms Furness.

But Ridsdale said as far as he knew, no-one in Swan Hill was aware of his offending, and he would not know if anyone at his next location, Warrnambool had been warned.

He said he was told “in the usual manner” that he would be relocated and that there was “no consultation”.

Ridsdale unable to control his sexual urges

Ms Furness also asked Ridsdale about his sexual urges.

He told the commission he felt bound to become a priest because of family expectations, but had problems controlling his sexual urges from the beginning.

Ridsdale said he would make confessions that he had masturbated, and was hoping to receive some “sexual instructions” from the church about what was appropriate during his training as a priest.

“Did you ever feel the need for intimacy, hugging and closeness?” asked Ms Furness of Ridsdale’s time at the Werribee seminary, where he started out.

“I think I’ve always felt the need for closeness,” Ridsdale responded.

He said he had had one adult relationship for three years, with a fellow prisoner.

Ridsdale said he was aware his offending against children was a crime.

“Did it occur to you at the time that you were hurting the children?” commission chairman Justice Peter McClellan asked Ridsdale.

“Your Honour, I just don’t know … I don’t know what I was thinking,” Ridsdale said.

Ridsdale told the inquiry the church should report crimes to the police.

He was asked if the church should have notified authorities of his own offending over the years.

He replied: “What I’ve done and the damage that I’ve done … I’d say, definitely yes”.

Ridsdale said while he had come to the view now that crimes should be disclosed, when he was a priest, “everything told in confession was to be kept secret”.

Inquiry probes Ridsdale’s relationship with Cardinal George Pell

Ridsdale told the royal commission the fact Cardinal George Pell accompanied him to court on child sex abuse charges in the 1990s was insignificant.

He said he could not recall much about his relationship with the then Father Pell in Ballarat in the 1970s, except he “would’ve met him, because he was Ballarat born-and-bred”.

“I can’t remember him being there … I can’t remember him … I never had much to do with him,” Ridsdale said of Cardinal Pell.

“We needed some people to come along [to court] for support … I don’t see it as having a very big significance.”

Ridsdale said his barrister asked Cardinal Pell to go to court, and he did not ask him himself.

He said, at the time, he did not know if Cardinal Pell knew about the nature of his charges, and he did not know, what Cardinal Pell planned to say.

He said his legal team was “clutching at straws.”

The hearing continues.

Robert Emmett, judges’ son, likely to avoid jail after conviction for child abuse material

Featured


Oh how sweet it is to have family like this sick bastard has. The black sheep from one of Australia’s most distinguished families of judges is likely to avoid jail, despite being convicted of possessing child abuse material. Possession of 10,000 sickening images as well as sneaking around trying to up-skirt while “He tied his shoelaces” Friggin pathetic, as if his family ties have not been laid bare in this case.

Updated 56 minutes ago

Robert Emmett was arrested for possessing more than 10,000 child abuse images.

Robert Emmett was arrested for possessing more than 10,000 child abuse images

A former teacher from one of Australia’s most distinguished families of judges is likely to avoid jail, despite being convicted of possessing child abuse material.

Robert Emmett, son of NSW Court of Appeal judge Arthur Emmett and Federal Circuit Court judge Sylvia Emmett, was arrested in 2013 for possessing more than 10,000 child abuse images, some involving bestiality, pain and humiliation.

Emmett’s grandfather is Sir Laurence Street, former Chief Justice of the NSW Supreme Court, a position also held by his father Sir Kenneth Street and his father Sir Philip Street.

Robert Emmett, a former maths teacher at St Andrew’s Cathedral School, today pleaded guilty to charges that included filming the private parts of children and possessing child abuse material.

In the NSW District Court, a sentencing judge said Emmett was remorseful and had no prior convictions.

The court heard Emmett walked around St Andrew’s filming some students on his camera phone and, on one occasion, pretended to tie his shoelace while crouching down to film up a girl’s dress at Town Hall Station in the CBD.

Some images in the ‘worst category of abuse’

District Court judge Ian McClintock said some of the images found in Emmett’s possession were in the “worst category of abuse”, involving pain, bestiality and humiliation and that some involved children as young as four.

The court heard the images were photos and videos, but it was not clear how he acquired all of them.

“There is no evidence the child abuse material was for anything but personal use,” the judge said, adding that some of the images were disturbing.

He said Emmett secretly videoed three schoolgirls aged 14.

“In my view it is a significant aggravating feature that the offender was a school teacher,” the judge said, noting that Emmett abused his position of trust.

He referred to the “significant violation” of the students’ rights.

Judge McClintock said Emmett’s family was not aware of his activities and that the 38-year-old had a good support network to help with his rehabilitation.

The court heard Emmett was remorseful, timid and shy and would need to be in a high level of protective custody in jail.

It heard the publicity surrounding the case had been humiliating for the offender and his family.

“He’s lost his career,” the judge said.

“Nothing other than a sentence of imprisonment is warranted.”

But Judge McClintock emphasised a sentence of less than two years was appropriate and therefore the offender is suitable to be assessed for an Intensive Correction Order — meaning he may be able to serve his sentence in the community.

Emmett remained on bail and will return to court in July.

He faced a maximum sentence of 10 years for possessing child abuse material and a maximum of five for filming a person’s private parts.

Education Queensland child safety director Brett Anthony O’Connor faces child sex charges


The director of Child Safety no less. Mr O’Connor is a registered psychologist

Another one bites the dust, plenty to come, nice to see them getting rounded up though

11/04/15

Education Queensland has confirmed its director of child safety, Brett Anthony O’Connor, is facing child sex charges.

Child sex charges: Brett O'Connor

Child sex charges: Brett O’Connor

Police allege O’Connor sexually and indecently assaulted two boys at schools at Hunters Hill and Campbelltown in New South Wales between 1987 and 1989.

Both matters were reported to police in late 2014.

Education Queensland said O’Connor, 52, notified the department that he had been charged by police at Tweed Heads on March 20.

He was suspended the following Monday.

The former Catholic brother is facing 10 charges.

An Education Queensland spokesperson said O’Connor’s role required no direct contact with children.

He is out on bail and is due to face the Tweed Heads Magistrates Court on Monday.


Brett O’Connor, head of child protection in Queensland schools, charged with historical sex abuse offences against pupils at two Sydney private schools

Date
April 11, 2015 – 8:40AM

The man responsible for child protection in Queensland public schools has been charged with a series of child sex offences against students at two prominent Sydney private schools where he taught as a Catholic Brother in the 1980s. 

Brett Anthony O’Connor, 52, is the director of child safety at Queensland’s Department of Education and Training.

Last month, Mr O’Connor was charged by NSW detectives over indecent and sexual assaults allegedly committed against a 12-year-old boy when he was a Marist Brother at Sydney’s prestigious St Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill in 1987.

He was also charged with sexually and indecently assaulting a 12-year-old-boy at St Gregory’s College, Campbelltown in 1989. Both colleges are large independent Catholic day and boarding schools for boys, run by the Marist Brothers.

O’Connor later left the religious order and qualified as a psychologist.

Police said both matters were reported to them in late 2014.

On March 20, O’Connor was arrested at Tweed Heads Police Station and charged with four counts of indecent assault of a child aged 16 and under authority, and six counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 16 and under authority.

He was granted conditional bail, including a $5000 surety, to appear at Tweed Heads Local Court on Monday, April 13. He is to live at an address in Mount Gravatt, a suburb of Brisbane.

In 2013, he was engaged by Independent Schools Queensland to advise that sector on “creating safer independent schools”. He spoke at a seminar on reporting sexual abuse, how to identify grooming behaviour and strategies for incorporating safety in the school curriculum.

A spokesman for the Queensland Department of Education and Training said in late March a public servant was suspended after a range of child-related offences were laid by NSW police. The spokesman said Mr O’Connor had a high level policy position, which did not involve direct contact with children on a regular basis.

“The department is not aware of any complaints made against the officer during his tenure with the department,” the spokesman said.

“The matters raised are now the subject of court proceedings in NSW and the department will fully co-operate with NSW police as directed.”

When contacted by the Fairfax Media, Mr O’Connor said he had taken “rec leave”. When asked about the child sex charges he said: “I’m not prepared to answer any further questions.”

The department is responsible for 1250 schools, staffed by more than 36 000 teachers and attended by almost 480,000 students. The state schooling system covers about 70 per cent of all Queensland school students.

Mr O’Connor is a registered psychologist. The Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency said there are no conditions on his registration. His profile on http://www.goodtherapy.com.au said he specialised in adolescent psychology. The profile was taken down after Fairfax Media contacted Mr O’Connor.

Jesuit priest Stanislaus Hogan jailed over child pornography found in Saint Ignatius’ College quarters

Featured


Another filthy dirty rotten creep and monster in our religious and education system busted as a snivelling paedophile and will be out in 10 months. A damn holiday to hide away from the public, that is all that is!

By court reporter Loukas Founten

Updated 4pm 20/03/15

Stanislaus Hogan will be able to seek parole in 10 months, what a complete insult

Stanislaus Hogan will be able to seek parole in 10 months, what a complete insult

An Adelaide Jesuit priest and teacher found with more than 1,500 pornographic images of boys has been jailed for more than two years.

Stanislaus Hogan, 70, was found with books, magazines and videos of young and teenage boys, in his private quarters at Saint Ignatius’ College in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs in August 2013.

He was on the college staff at the time of his arrest.

Hogan told the Adelaide District Court he used some of the books and videos as a way to help understand both paedophiles and himself. yeah sure you did…creep

Hogan was given a two-and-a-half-year jail sentence and will be able to seek parole in 10 months.

He has applied to be removed from the Jesuit order.

Father Brian McCoy, from the Australian Jesuits, issued a statement of apology to students, families and staff of Jesuit schools “who have felt disillusioned, shocked and saddened by the criminal behaviour of a once well-respected priest and teacher”.


St Ignatius College priest Father Stanislaus John Hogan jailed over ‘graphic and repugnant’ child pornography

Father Stanislaus Hogan downloaded more than 1500 depraved images of child pornography.

Father Stanislaus Hogan downloaded more than 1500 depraved images of child pornography.

A SENIOR priest at a prestigious Adelaide private school who downloaded more than 1500 depraved images of child pornography will serve at least 10 months behind bars.

Father Stanislaus John Hogan, 69, had pleaded guilty to one count of using a carriage service to access child pornography and one aggravated count of possessing child pornography.

The District Court has previously heard police had seized 1555 images and videos as part of an illicit children pornography collection, which also included magazines and books of children aged between three and 16 years.

The collection was found during a police raid of Hogan’s Saint Ignatius College residence at Athelstone in 2012.

In sentencing today, Judge Peter Brebner detailed some of the horrific child exploitation material police found during a police raid of Hogan’s Saint Ignatius College residence at Athelstone in 2012.

He said Hogan’s offending had came about as he struggled to understand his sexuality.

“You struggled for years to reconcile your ethical, religious, spiritual and philosophical beliefs with your sexuality and your prurient interests in child pornography,” he said.

Judge Brebner also said Hogan was found with three books — one of which described the “graphic and repugnant” rape of an underage boy.

He said Hogan had applied to leave the Jesuit priesthood but wanted to remain working at the church’s Sevenhill centre as a volunteer.

“You have impressive tertiary qualifications — you have had a long and distinguished career teaching at Jesuit schools.

“You have lost your reputation and your vocation as a consequence of these crimes.

“However, these are often ordinary consequences of crimes such as yours and you are intelligent enough to have known these things would happen.”

Hogan had been the school’s rector at the time of the raid and he had held prominent teaching positions throughout Australia, including at St Aloysius’ in Sydney and Xavier College in Melbourne, during the past three decades.

Australian Jesuits Provincial Superior Brian McCoy released a statement today apologising for the behaviour of the once “well-respected priest and teacher.”

“We have in place across all our schools and other ministries firm policies and practices for safeguarding children, at the heart of which is our fundamental commitment to respect, nurture and protect children from harm,” she said.

Judge Brebner sentenced Hogan to two years and six months’ jail with a non-parole period of ten months.

He said Hogan’s crimes were simply “too serious” for him to consider suspending that sentence.

SA court jails piano teacher Anthony Theodore Vance for five years for abusing three girls


SA court jails piano teacher Anthony Theodore Vance for five years for abusing three girls

Anthony Theodore Vance has been jailed for his persistent sexual exploitation of three ch

Anthony Theodore Vance has been jailed for his persistent sexual exploitation of three children.

HIS deviant actions left little girls feeling like prisoners of their secret, but today predatory music teacher Anthony Theodore Vance became a prisoner himself.

Vance, 76, was today jailed for five years, and will spend at least three years behind bars, for his persistent sexual exploitation of girls as young as five.

In sentencing, District Court Judge Michael Boylan said Vance deserved “stern punishment” because he had shown no remorse and continued to insist his victims were liars.

“One of your victims very eloquently described one of the effects of sexual abuse … she said she was a prisoner of her secret,” Judge Boylan said.

“That’s a very eloquent way of describing how the victims of sexual abuse feel — prisoners, cut off from others, alone, unable to trust other people.

“The courts have often said these offences must be sternly punished, and you have three victims, no insight and committed a serious breach of trust.”

Vance, of Christies Beach, was found guilty at trial of three counts of the persistent exploitation of a child.

Between 2004 and 2007 he touched the upper thighs and genitalia of three girls — aged between five and 10 years old — while teaching them to play the piano or electric keyboard.

During their evidence, the girls said the inappropriate touching occurred “nearly every lesson”.

In sentencing today, Judge Boylan agreed Vance’s offending was “less serious” compared with many sexual abuse cases — but said that was no reason for clemency.

“You have still damaged these girls … they have suffered much, and will continue to suffer much, as a result of what you did to them,” he said.

“I can give you no discount (on your sentence) because you continue to assert that the three girls have told lies.”

He imposed a five-year jail term with a three-year non-parole period, saying there were no grounds upon which to suspend the sentence.

Disturbing claims of abuse heard at Royal Commission into Knox Grammar School


Knox School cared about one thing, their reputation. 30 years later staff and ex staff still will not admit so, it beggars belief listening to some of the answers as to why they did not react to anything relating to abuse and scandal by going outside the school…keep it all in-house was the mantra

Pathetic and they should be ashamed hiding behind their credentials all these years later.

http://www.news.com.au/video/id-xhNHFwczrKxwqVr756pbVMvz4P4WQPPg/Headmaster%27s-astonishing-defence


UPDATED 03/03/15

The messiah takes the stand

The messiah and KING Former Knox Grammar headmaster Ian Paterson

The messiah and KING Former Knox Grammar headmaster Ian Paterson

Live feed to hearings here

http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/case-study/6202742a-5e8d-490b-bec4-84876bef3de0/case-study-23,-february-2015,-sydney


No bloody wonder he wanted to make his statement up front. It would of sounded ridiculous had he done it after his evidence and the commission is finished with him (back on the stand tomorrow)

Very cagey in his answers, instant recall to his achievements and foggy for all the abuse. Disgrace who needs his bestowed Honours removed asap!

Very cagey in his answers, instant recall to his achievements and foggy for all the abuse. Disgrace who needs his bestowed Honours removed asap!

Former Knox Grammar principal Ian Paterson fronts Royal Commission

Former Knox principal’s apology to sex abuse victims

Former Knox principal's apology to sex abuse victims

THE former headmaster accused of covering up child sexual abuse admitted he gave a glowing reference to a religious teacher who resigned after he was seen masturbating outside another school.

Ian Paterson, head of prestigious Sydney boys’ school Knox Grammar from 1969 to 1998, told today’s hearing the reference he gave Chris Fotis was “grossly inappropriate”.

Fotis, a Knox old boy, had been hired without any reference check and had prior child-sex convictions. He left the school in 1989, by which time Dr Paterson was aware of a string of complaints against him.

Dr Paterson giving evidence at the Royal Commission hearing in Sydney.

Dr Paterson giving evidence at the Royal Commission hearing in Sydney. Source: News Corp Australia

One was that he was suspected of donning a balaclava, hiding under a dormitory bed and groping a 14-year-old boy.

The school’s duty master Stuart Pearson told Dr Paterson that Fotis had been convicted of sexually assaulting two girls before he joined Knox and that he was verbally abusing boys.

Dr Paterson gave Fotis a reference describing him as “enthusiastic for his job” and “meticulous in the standards he requires from students”.

Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of Fotis, who failed to appear when he was called last week.

Dr Paterson revealed earlier today that he had not reported another teacher for molesting a boy because he was “not aware it was a crime”. He said it did not enter his head to report the balaclava incident.

“It never entered any one of our heads,” he said, referring to duty master Mr Pearson and Tim Hawkes, the housemaster in charge of the Mac Neil boarding house where the incident happened.

Dr Ian Paterson is giving evidence.

The head is accused of covering up decades of child-sex abuse. Source: News Corp Australia

Dr Paterson said he now agreed police should have been called. He denied ever telling the boys that the intruder was an Asian man who had been arrested.

When pressed by counsel advising the commission David Lloyd, Dr Paterson said: “I can assure you that controlling the reputation of the school never once entered my head.”

The head, who is accused of covering up child sexual abuse at Knox Grammar over three decades, earlier admitted to ignoring a student’s claim he had been abused by a teacher and described his as “a drama boy” who was known to “exaggerate stories”.

He confronted the claims today at the Royal Commission into Institution Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, amid new explosive accusations he engaged in abuse at the school himself.

Dr Paterson admitted a 15-year-old student had complained to him about a teacher, Damien Vance, touching him inappropriately in 1987, and the then headmaster told him to think about the allegations.

Purple ribbons tied to the gates of Knox Grammar following revelations of widespread paed

Purple ribbons tied to the gates of Knox Grammar following revelations of widespread paedophilia at the prestigious school. Picture: @concernedknox Source: Twitter

“The boy was a drama boy,” he told the Sydney hearing. “He was known as rather dramatical boy who could build up situations … I asked him to think about what I said.”

The former headmaster began his admissions to the Royal Commission expressing “deep regret” over years of abuse.

“I should have known, and I should have stopped the events that led to the abuse of those boys in my care and their families,” the former headmaster told the hearing in Sydney.

“My abject failure to secure for you a safe and secure place at Knox strikes at the very heart of a responsibility of a headmaster.”

In his opening address, Dr Paterson said he was “deeply and profoundly sorry”, and acknowledged that his decisions were wrong.

“This is a source of intense pain for myself and my family,” he said.

Dr Paterson’s appearance at the commission has been delayed since Friday as more witnesses came forward.

The Commission was rocked yesterday with a shock allegation from Lucy Perry, a high profile charity CEO who claims she was groped by Mr Paterson as a schoolgirl.

Lucy Perry was a surprise witness at the hearing yesterday.

Lucy Perry was a surprise witness at the hearing yesterday. Source: News Corp Australia

Ms Perry told the hearing into the elite Sydney boy’s school that Mr Paterson groped her in 1989 when she was part of a musical being produced by her school Roseville, and Knox Grammar.

Ms Perry who is chief executive of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (Australia), said the assault happened in full view of students at the Knox school hall, and the boys who saw it “roared with approval”.

She reported the assault to NSW police in 2009 when numerous allegations about widespread sexual abuse at the school were coming out.

Ms Perry said at one of the rehearsals she was backstage talking to some of the boys at a production of Guys and Dolls when Dr Paterson pointed to her and one of the boys and said “you and you out”.

Lucy Perry leaves the Child Sex Abuse Royal Commission.

Lucy Perry leaves the Child Sex Abuse Royal Commission. Source: News Corp Australia

Despite this she turned up at the next rehearsal and Dr Paterson, who was the producer, singled her out.

As she walked to the edge of the stage “he placed his hand on my backside. I would describe it as between a pat and a grope”. “He then slid his hand right down to cup my buttocks and (I) felt him touch my genitals outside of my clothing”.

She said he had a creepy look on his face.

When asked by Jim Harrowell, a solicitor representing Dr Paterson, if he was just positioning her on the stage she said: “I would suggest to you Mr Harrowell that positioning girls by their bottoms is not the best way to do that”.

She received a standing ovation from Knox victims and their supporters as she left the hearing.

Along with being pressed on the new allegations, Mr Paterson is expected to be asked what he told students about a balaclava-wearing intruder who molested a 14-year-old boy.

Much of the inquiry, which is now in its second week, has concerned an incident in late 1988 when an intruder wearing a Knox tracksuit and a balaclava hid under a boy’s bed and tried to molest him in the early hours of the morning.

Stuart Pearson, the former general duties master at the school and a former policeman said a few days after the incident Dr Paterson told the boys police had arrested an “Asian man” for the break-in.

Image show purple ribbons have been tied to the gates of Knox Grammar to show support for

Image show purple ribbons have been tied to the gates of Knox Grammar to show support for victims. Pic: Twitter / @concernedknox Source: Twitter

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse can find no record that police were ever contacted and on Monday a former student told the commission he recalled Dr Paterson saying the intruder was an “old boy” with mental problems.

Other witnesses have pointed the finger at Chris Fotis, a former teacher who is now being sought by police after the commission summoned him to appear.


 Royal commission into sex abuse: seven key Knox Grammar figures
March 3, 2015 – 1:53PM

THE PLAYERS

Five Knox teachers were convicted of multiple sex charges and one is wanted by police. These seven people are the key figures in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Sex Abuse.

CONVICTED: Adrian John Nisbett (above)

Popular English teacher who worked at the school from 1971-2004. Arrested over sexual offences in 2009 and given a suspended sentence. Current principal John Weeks told the royal commission in February 2015 he believed former head master Ian Paterson was covering for Nisbett and wanted to sack him when he became headmaster. Nisbett was allowed to resign. Unable to be summonsed, he now lives in South Africa and is working for a cheetah conservation reserve in Namibia.

CONVICTED: Damian Vance (above)

English and French teacher who was asked to leave the school two years after indecently assaulting a student. Royal commission told Vance received a glowing reference from the school praising his teaching skills, despite having indecently assaulted one student and physically assaulted two others. Arrested in 2009, convicted and released on a good behaviour bond. Told the commission he had previously hit two boys at the school, in 1985 and 1986. Now a cleaner in Melbourne.

CONVICTED: Roger James

Science teacher between 1974-77. Resigned to take up a teaching position in New Zealand. Arrested for sex offences in 2009, convicted and given a suspended sentence. A 14-year-old victim told the royal commission in March 2015 he did not complain about the abuse at the time because of the culture of cover-up at the school. Boys who did speak up were “victimised and ostracised,” he said. “They were seen as weak and they became everybody’s bitch.”

CONVICTED: Craig Treloar (above)

Knox old boy. Resident master and teacher; taught at the school from 1982 until his arrest in 2009. Treloar was convicted on multiple charges of child sex abuse in 2010 and served two years in jail.  Denied to the royal commission in February 2015 he forced children to perform sex acts with him, saying that he allowed the boys to touch him. Said he was shocked when he wasn’t sacked after the pornography claims surfaced. Now unemployed.

CONVICTED: Barrie Stewart

Music teacher and “notorious groper”. Arrested in 2009, convicted of multiple counts of indecent assault and sexual assault relating to seven students. Given a suspended sentence. Former assistant headmaster John Rentoul told the commission in February 2015 his son David was molested by Stewart.

HEADMASTER: Dr Ian Paterson (above)

Principal of Knox Grammar from 1969 until 1998. Students referred to him as “the snake”.  Allegations to the royal commission that Dr Paterson had knowledge of abuse and even allegedly signed a reference letter for one of the teachers he knew was involved. Accused in March 2015 by Roseville Ladies College student Lucy Perry of sexual abuse backstage at a school performance in 1989 when she was 16. Paterson told the royal commission on March 3 he didn’t know it was illegal to sexually proposition a student and that he was an ‘abject failure’. The commission has heard there is no evidence he referred any sex abuse matters to the police. 

ARREST WARRANT: Christopher Fotis (above)

Religious education instructor, pictured above, suspected of being the so-called “balaclava man” who assaulted a year 8 boy in his bed at a school boarding house in 1988 that was under the supervision of Dr Timothy Hawkes (below), now head of the Kings School. Fotis was arrested in 1989 for masturbating in his car while parked outside a school in North Ryde. Dr Paterson provided Fotis with a reference letter in which he described him as an “enthusiast”. Warrant issued for his arrest in February 2015 for failure to appear at the royal commission. Whereabouts unknown since mid-February 2015.

TIMELINE

1924: Knox Grammar School first established as a Presbyterian Church School.

1969: Dr Ian Paterson becomes headmaster.

1970s: Allegation of “inappropriate behaviour” first surface, involving teachers Barrie Stewart, Roger James and Adrian Nisbett. Former assistant headmaster John Rentoul weeps  as he tells the royal commission about the discovery his son, David, was molested by Knox music teacher Barrie Stewart in the late 1970s.

1980s: Rumours of sexual abuse circulate more widely.

1986Christopher Fotis employed as religious education instructor despite having convictions for assaulting a female and offensive behaviour.

1987: Craig Treloar disciplined for watching hardcore pornography, including paedophilia and bestiality, with boys but allowed to keep his job.  Damian Vance indecently assaults a boy in a room under the chapel. Stuart Pearson reports Treloar to Dr Paterson after a boy alleged the teacher had propositioned him for sex. Pearson told the royal commission in February 2015 he was “gobsmacked” Treloar and Nisbett were working at the school years after he reported them to Paterson.

1988: A masked man, believed to be Fotis, sexually assaults a boy in his bed in a boarding house at the school.

1989: Vance asked to leave. Fotis asked to leave later that year after being caught masturbating outside a school in North Ryde. Headmaster Ian Paterson alleged to have sexually abused 16-year-old Roseville Ladies College student Lucy Perry backstage.

1990s: Sixteen-year-old student ATQ forms a sexual relationship with his resident housemaster. Warns another housemaster that Knox is a “paedophile ring” but nothing done in response.

1999: New principal Peter Crawley initiates investigation into Adrian Nisbett.

2009: Nisbett, Treloar, Stewart, James and Vance arrested and later convicted of multiple sex charges.

Emails tendered in evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse reveal an unnamed solicitor had recommended the destruction of documents in 2009, following the arrests of the five teachers who abused children.

More info here, exhibits, transcripts and witness lists http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/case-study/6202742a-5e8d-490b-bec4-84876bef3de0/case-study-23,-february-2015,-sydney

February 26, 2015 1:16PM

Child abuse cover-up?

Child abuse cover-up?

A FORMER teacher at Sydney’s prestigious Knox Grammar school has failed to appear at a royal commission into child abuse.

The commission has issued a warrant for the arrest of Christopher Fotis, who was due to give evidence on Tuesday.

A public hearing this week has heard disturbing claims of abuse at Knox, which happened in the 1970s and 80s. Boys at one of Australia’s most exclusive schools were allegedly shown pornography, given alcohol and groomed for sex by a number of teachers at the school.

On Thursday David Lloyd, counsel advising the commission, said police were searching for Fotis and if he was found he would be brought to the commission.

Fotis was never charged with offences at Knox but was jailed in Melbourne for sexual abuse offences at a school there after his time at Knox, in Wahroonga on Sydney’s north shore.

The inquiry into the NSW private boys’ school is focusing on an incident in 1988 at one of the boarding houses, MacNeil House, when a person wearing a Knox tracksuit and balaclava hid under a child’s bed and sexually assaulted him.

Mr Lloyd said although the person’s face was concealed by the balaclava a number of the boys in the dormitory believed the offender was Fotis.

Former students have also alleged abuse by other teachers happened in dimly-lit music rehearsals. One of the teachers was still working at the school when he was arrested in 2009.

The expensive private school, whose old boys include judges, politicians such as the late Gough Whitlam and actors Hugh Jackman and Hugo Weaving, faced adverse publicity in 2009 when four teachers pleaded guilty to abusing students.

One “notorious molester” had memorial gates erected in his honour with the inscription “He touched us all”, the inquiry was told.

Prestigious: Hugh Jackman was a former student at the prestigious Knox Grammar. There is

Prestigious: Hugh Jackman was a former student at the prestigious Knox Grammar. There is no suggestion he was abused. Source: Supplied

In his opening statement on Monday, Mr Lloyd said five teachers at Knox in Wahroonga on Sydney’s north shore were convicted of sex offences against students. There would be allegations of abuse by a further three teachers who were never charged, he said.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will examine the response of the Uniting Church and Knox between 1970 and 2012 to concerns raised about inappropriate conduct by a number of teachers towards students at the school.

Evidence has been given that paedophiles were allowed to continue working at Knox even after a string of complaints and some witnesses claimed there was a paedophile ring at the school.

Geoffrey Watson SC, representing Knox Grammar School, said the school humbly and sincerely apologised for its failings.

“It apologises to all of those students who were damaged by these events. It apologises to the parents of those students and the other members of their families,” he said.

DISTURBING DETAILS

One former student Scott Ashton, 44 told the commission he was nine when he went to the prestigious school. From the start he was abused “openly and brazenly” by teacher Barrie Stewart.

Mr Ashton gave evidence on Tuesday and said he remembers bleeding from his rectum when Stewart used his finger to molest him.

Some of the abuse happened at dimly-lit music rehearsals where Stewart also abused other boys.

In 2009 Stewart was convicted of five counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault. He was given a suspended sentence.

Lives ruined: Former student Scott Ashton with friend Gretel Pinniger (left) and lawyer L

Lives ruined: Former student Scott Ashton with friend Gretel Pinniger (left) and lawyer Leigh Johnson (right). Source: News Corp Australia

Mr Ashton also told of depression, confusion and substance abuse since leaving Knox. He ended up working in the sex industry.

He said he was already fragile when he arrived at Knox as his two-year-old brother had been killed after they were both hit by a car at a pedestrian crossing. The other students beat him up and tried to get him to say he was responsible for his brother’s death

Mr Ashton was too distraught to read his own statement to the commission. It was read instead by his friend, Gretel Pinniger, also known as the high profile Sydney dominatrix Madame Lash.

Mr Ashton was also deeply confused by the attitude at the school where all were expected to pay tribute to an art teacher Bruce Barrett who had died young.

Mr Ashton said Barrett was a “notorious molester” but the school put up memorial gates at the back entrance to the Wahroonga school in his honour and bearing the inscription: “He touched us all”.

Another witness, Coryn Tambling, said he was abused by Craig Treloar in 1984 when he was at Knox. He said the teacher showed him and other boys pornographic videos one of which was a “homosexual gang bang involving teenage boys”.

Shocking allegations of abuse at prestigious boys school Knox Grammar.

Shocking allegations of abuse at prestigious boys school Knox Grammar. Source: Supplied

The teacher would reassure the boys and tell them it was OK to be homosexual, he said.

“Treloar also told me he was part of a group in Kings Cross that made these movies and he would secure me a part in a movie if I wanted.” He said he showed the boys business receipts from the Kings Cross company.

Treloar was sentenced to four and a half years in jail, with two years non-parole in 2009 and is now out. He will give evidence at this royal commission hearing.

MAN IN A BALACLAVA

Counsel for the commission David Lloyd, said witnesses would give evidence that a number of boys in one of the boarding houses were abused by a man in a Knox tracksuit and a balaclava.

One witness will say he awoke one morning when he was in year 8 to find the “balaclava man” sexually assaulting him.

Mr Lloyd said that although the person’s face was concealed by a balaclava, a number of the boys in the dormitory believed it was Christopher Fotis.

The school investigated and the boys were later told the “balaclava man” was a young Asian man who had been arrested by police.

Mr Lloyd said there was no evidence to suggest the NSW Police were ever notified of the incident, either as a break-and-enter or as an assault.

He also said “despite the paucity of contemporaneous documents it is anticipated that there will be evidence that senior people at Knox knew about the allegations of abuse” at the time.

Man wearing a balaclava and Knox tracksuit allegedly abused boys at Knox. Picture: Troy S

Man wearing a balaclava and Knox tracksuit allegedly abused boys at Knox. Picture: Troy Snook Source: News Corp Australia

LIVES RUINED

A former teacher at Knox Grammar broke down as he laid the blame for his son’s ill health and early death squarely on the school he once respected.

John Rentoul, whose son David died aged 44 after a series of illnesses, said he only found out in 2009 that his son had been abused by teacher Barrie Stewart.

Dr Rentoul only found out about the abuse when David, who was at the school in the late 1970s, was giving evidence against Stewart.

“I was shocked and outraged when David told us of the abuse,” said Dr Rentoul, who taught at the school from 1969 to 1980. He became emotional as he told how his son revealed he felt terribly ashamed and guilty because Stewart was a family friend and this led him to hide the abuse for 30 years.

Former Knox teacher Barrie Stewart at the Hornsby local court.

Former Knox teacher Barrie Stewart at the Hornsby local court. Source: News Limited

“I absolutely believe that the extreme stress, guilt and shame David suffered as a result of the abuse directly lead to his health issues and also resulted in his marital problems.” He said his son’s immune system was compromised by prolonged and sustained periods of post traumatic stress and he could not fight a lung infection which led to organ failure.

Dr Rentoul said the family had welcomed Stewart as an excellent teacher and arranged for him to give David piano lessons.

He said they believed the commission should ensure that “institutions such as Knox be held accountable for failing to protect its students against sexual predators”.

Dr Rentoul also said “private schools are more susceptible to instances of sexual abuse because of more opportunities for the development of close relationships between teachers and students during extra-curricular activities, and because of the prevalence of boarding establishments”.

Another mother also told of the impacts of the abuse on her son, who has been given the pseudonym ATS. Her son started at the school in 2002 when he was 10 years old.

She said her son was very happy for the first term but then changed — he became quiet and withdrawn. He refused to talk to his parents, became angry and hostile and self-harmed before being hospitalised after a serious suicide attempt.

When he was 14, her son told a psychiatrist that he had been abused by former teacher Craig Treloar, who used to invite boys to his room and offer them ginger beer. Her son would later say things to her like “’Treloar tried it on lots and lots of times, but only got it once’”.

Counsel Assist David Lloyd at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child

Counsel Assist David Lloyd at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse public hearing into Knox Grammar School. Photo Jeremy Piper/ Oculi Source: News Corp Australia

She said she took this to mean that Treloar was constantly sexually harassing her son.

When ATS was 16 he was offered a professional rugby contract with Gordon Rugby Club, but he could not go through with it.

ATS, now 22, lives in Canada — he cannot bear to live in Sydney, she said.

“Words can’t express the enormity of the daily pain experienced by ATS or myself and his family,” she said. The strain led to her marriage breakdown.

She said the experience had been horrific, terrifying and heart-wrenching.

“As a mother I have hopes and dreams for my children. My dreams for ATS were stripped down to mere survival.”

Another witness who used the pseudonym ARY said students could not talk about the abuse because if they did they were seen as weak and considered as everyone’s “bitch”.

He said that during his time at the school he observed systemic bullying by teachers and by students of other students.

He blamed the culture at the school on the headmaster for 30 years Ian Paterson.

“Paterson and his rule dragged the school through a dark age that it should never had had, particularly as a Christian institution,” he said.

HEADMASTER NICKNAMED ‘SNAKE’

The inquiry heard that the autocratic style of a headmaster nicknamed “Snake” at Knox made it possible for teachers to take advantage of and prey on students.

A man using the pseudonym ARY said the governance style of Ian Paterson, headmaster at Knox for 30 years, made students fearful of reporting sex abuse by teachers.

ARY boarded at the school from Year 7 in 1974 and was there for four years. He was indecently assaulted by science teacher Roger James when he was 14. James was convicted and given a suspended sentence.

ARY and other former students told the sex abuse royal commission on Monday there was a culture of cover-up at the prestigious Wahroonga school.

Witnesses also accused the school of engendering a culture of homophobia with one saying he felt the school tried to force him out because he was gay.

ARY said James was a popular teacher, who was considered eccentric, smoked cigars in his office and the playground and was known to have alcohol in his office. He befriended ARY and stayed with his family, assaulting him during one stay.

ARY said he could not tell his parents who were paying for his expensive education. He also feared a backlash at school.

“In the boarding school if you were accused of a homosexual act you would never live it down,” he said.

 Knox Grammar School students leaving the school at Wahroonga in Sydney.

Knox Grammar School students at Wahroonga in Sydney. Source: News Corp Australia

ARY said because of the Knox experience he was severely and incurably homophobic, even though he knew it was illogical.

He said Dr Paterson’s “autocratic style of governance” contributed to the “Knox culture which conditioned students to be fearful of reporting inappropriate conduct, and to be accepting of such behaviour by teachers.” It also allowed “teachers to take advantage of, and prey upon, students,” he said.

It was widely known by students that James, music teacher Barrie Stewart and Adrian Nesbitt — three of five teachers who pleaded guilty to indecent acts — were “overly hands-on with boys,” he said.

“I cannot believe that Paterson and other long term staff had no idea that sexual abuse was happening at Knox.” But the culture stopped teachers from speaking up.

“Everyone was expected to keep up the reputation of Knox,” he said.

Former assistant headmaster John Rentoul became upset as he told how his son David revealed he was molested by Stewart in the late 1970s.

“I believe the school was more interested in protecting the reputation of Knox than ensuring the safety and welfare of its students,” Dr Rentoul said.

A former student using the pseudonym ATQ said when he told another teacher that Knox was a “paedophile ring” he was told, “you can’t say that”. ATQ was 16 when he was groomed and abused by a housemaster.

Justice Coate and Commissioner Atkinson at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Respon

Justice Coate and Commissioner Atkinson at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Picture: Jeremy Piper/ Oculi Source: News Corp Australia

Matthew O’Neal, who was abused by music teacher Barrie Stewart, said he was surprised to discover the teacher was still employed there 15 years later.

In a statement read to a royal commission hearing, Mr O’Neal, said when his brother started at the school in 1990, Stewart was still there.

“A gay paedophile in a boys school is like a kid in a candy shop. He should never have been working there,” Mr O’Neal said.

He said he went to the school when his younger brother was starting and he recalled a comment Stewart made to his mother. “I recall Stewart saying ‘Matthew is better looking than (his brother)’,” he said.

Mr O’Neal said he was relieved because it made him think at least he would not be interested in abusing his brother. He said Knox had done absolutely nothing to help him.

“They have not offered counselling, support, compensation, nothing”.

The commission heard that despite several internal inquiries there was no evidence Dr Paterson contacted the police.

Dr Paterson, headmaster at Knox from 1969 to 1998 will give evidence, probably next week.

Geoffrey Watson SC, representing Knox Grammar School, said the school humbly and sincerely apologised for its failings.

“It apologises to all of those students who were damaged by these events. It apologises to the parents of those students and the other members of their families,” he said.

CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS

Counsel for the commission David Lloyd said Knox, which was established in 1924 by the Presbyterian Church, had five boarding houses supervised by resident masters in the 1980s.

During that time there didn’t appear to be any formal process for employing someone who wanted to be a resident master.

“The evidence will disclose that at least one of the resident masters employed in around 1986, a Mr Chris Fotis, had criminal convictions for more than one offence at the time he was employed,” he said. The nature of the offence has no yet been disclosed. Mr Fotis was due to give evidence later in the hearing.

Former teacher, Craig Treloar, who admitted showing pornography to students in the 1980s continued teaching there until he was arrested for sex abuse more than 20 years later.

Mr Treloar thought he’d be sacked but was instead allowed to pick the timing of his six-month suspension. After returning from his suspension at the start of 1989, Treloar remained at the school until his arrest for child abuse in 2009.

He was sentenced to a minimum two years jail in 2010 for abusing boys at the school, but has also denied forcing his victims into sexual acts.

On Wednesday, he told the royal commission that, after admitting to showing porn to students in 1987, he was suspended from teaching for six months.

Treloar asked headmaster Ian Paterson if his suspension could be delayed — a request Treloar said was brought to the school council, which allowed him to start at the beginning of 1988 and to take off the last six months of the year.

The commission has heard Treloar admitted showing boys heterosexual porn, but evidence he also showed them videos depicting bestiality and paedophilia went undiscovered because the school held no investigation.

Five teachers pleaded guilty to indecent acts. Picture: Troy Snook

Five teachers pleaded guilty to indecent acts. Picture: Troy Snook Source: News Corp Australia

During his appearance at the commission, Treloar described his criminal charges of indecent assault as “letting boys touch me”.

“Do you have any self-awareness of how offensive it is to say that the boys wanted to touch you and you let them?” asked Peter Skinner, counsel representing three victims of sexual abuse. “You forced them to touch you. That’s the truth, isn’t it?” he continued.

“No, I didn’t force them to touch me,” Treloar replied.

Treloar, a Knox old boy who left in 1977 before returning to teach in 1982, told the commission he wasn’t asked for references when he applied to work as a resident master at a boarding home for year seven boys.

The former head of the Knox Preparatory School, Michael Jenkinson, told the commission Treloar’s status as an old boy was valued when he was interviewed for the boarding house job.

After he became aware of the porn, he and Dr Paterson concluded Treloar was immature.

“The only explanation we could give is that he’s just being a show off, of the level of his immaturity,” Mr Jenkinson said. After returning from his six-month suspension, Treloar was removed from the boarding house.

FILES DISAPPEARED

The inquiry heard that the files of students who made complaints of sexual abuse against teachers had disappeared.

David Lloyd, counsel assisting the commission, told the hearing Ian Paterson, who was headmaster between 1969 and 1998, will give evidence he kept documents recording the allegations — and the school’s response — in a black folder in his office.

But when the folder was inspected by Mr Paterson’s successor it became apparent a “number of files of students who made complaints of abuse have gone missing, without apparent explanation”.

Mr Lloyd said the commission will consider whether the documents were “deliberately destroyed in order to eliminate evidence which might adversely affect the school”.

The inquiry would also hear detailed reports were prepared after serious allegations were made against staffer Adrian Nisbett. Nisbett pleaded guilty to assaulting three boys in 1976 and 1986 and received a suspended sentence in 2010.

A duty manager at the school, Stuart Pearson, conducted an extensive investigation and found Nisbett had targeted “post-pubescent boys between 13 and 15 who excelled athletically as opposed to academically”. He recommended Nisbett be removed but there was no record of a response to his report.

Mr Nisbett was given a position as assistant to the headmaster, which he held until 1999, during which time he had access to student files.

He was then appointed to the role of Director of Students and aspects of the role included him providing pastoral care to pupils. There were further complaints and in 2003 Knox appointed an investigator, who carried out inquiries under the supervision of the Ombudsman.

The school accepted the investigator’s findings and informed the Commissioner for Children and Young People.

No mention was made of the NSW Police and the Ombudsman’s office did not pursue Knox, Mr Lloyd told the hearing.

Damien Vance, another teacher, was later given a glowing reference.

Vance was asked to leave Knox in 1989 because the parents of a boy he abused were coming to the school. When he left, Dr Paterson gave Vance a letter of service which he used to get a job in a school in Victoria. He continued to teach until a court ordered him to stay away from all schools two decades later.

Damian Vance, former Knox Grammar teacher who was convicted of inciting an act of indecen

Damian Vance, former Knox Grammar teacher who was convicted of inciting an act of indecency. Picture: Bradley Hunter Source: News Corp Australia

When the hearing was announced current headmaster John Weeks wrote to old boys saying the sex abuse incidents had been widely publicised in 2009 and Knox had “always accepted its responsibility in this matter”.

Mr Weeks also said Knox has a most comprehensive child protection policy covering staff selection and training, student awareness and support structures.


26/02/15

Knox Grammar teacher suspected of hiding under boy’s bed with balaclava, sexually assaulting him

A former teacher at the prestigious Knox Grammar School in Sydney was suspected of wearing a balaclava as he hid under a boy’s bed and inappropriately touched him, the royal commission into child sexual abuse has heard.

The commission heard details of the alleged assault, which was said to have occurred in the late 1980s, from Dr Timothy Hawkes, who was a former Knox Grammar boarding house master and is now the current headmaster at Kings School at Parramatta.

Dr Hawkes said he was alerted to what became known as the “balaclava man” incident when he responded to what was believed to be an intruder about 5:00am.

“This was just a bizarre, extraordinary and extremely worrying and even frightening event,” Dr Hawkes told the hearing.

The teenager, known as ARN, had allegedly been assaulted as he slept.

“[ARN] told me that a man in a balaclava had run his hand on the inside of his leg and up towards his genitals,” Dr Hawkes said.

“He had woken with a start, a shout, and that the man had run off.”

Dr Hawkes said he believed the boy when he was told about the incident and immediately alerted the headmaster, Doctor Ian Paterson.

“We needed action to be taken because we had somebody running around the school with or without a balaclava, sexually interfering with boys,” Dr Hawkes said.

Dr Hawkes told the hearing he did not report the matter to the police because the school hierarchy meant that it would have become the responsibility of the headmaster or his assistant, who was a recently retired police officer.

“I didn’t believe it was my place to do that,” Dr Hawkes said.

“I had every confidence that the matter would be dealt with by a very experienced headmaster.

“There was absolutely no question in my mind that I fully expected the police to be notified because it was a serious offence. And I was desperate to make sure that this person was caught because I did not want that happening again to any of my boys.”

Dr Hawkes reacted angrily to a question from counsel assisting that suggested his priority was to protect the school’s reputation.

“I would totally reject that comment and find it offensive,” Dr Hawkes said.

“I had particularly no motivation to have, to in a sense, protect the school. That would never cross my mind and to suggest so I find utterly offensive.”

In the months after the assault, Dr Hawkes said some students suspected two of his colleagues.

“There was increased speculation that the intruder may well have been somebody inside,” Dr Hawkes said.

“There were two that were talked about in equal degrees of likelihood and those were Mr Fotis and Mr Vance.”

A warrant was issued for the arrest of former Knox Grammar teacher Christopher Fotis, who failed to appear at the hearing on Tuesday.

In his opening statement, Counsel Assisting David Lloyd revealed Damien Vance was later convicted of one count of category four sexual assault and released on a good behaviour bond.

Mr Lloyd said on Monday that “although the person’s face was concealed by a balaclava, a number of the boys in the dormitory believed that the offender was Christopher Fotis, one of the resident masters in MacNeil House at the time”.

“The basis of that belief was that the offender had the same build as Mr Fotis and Mr Fotis had, before lights out on the evening before the assault, said to ARN that he had a surprise in store for him that night,” Mr Lloyd said.

Mr Fotis later resigned from the school “after being arrested for masturbating in his car while parked outside a school”, Mr Lloyd said on Monday.

The hearing before Justice Jennifer Coate and Commissioner Bob Atkinson continues.

The inquiry in Sydney continues.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,049 other followers

%d bloggers like this: