Ben Cousins arrested after police pursuit-refused breath test- AGAIN


Ben Cousins has been arrested and charged with reckless driving after a police pursuit in

Ben Cousins has been arrested and charged with reckless driving after a police pursuit in WA. Source: Channel 7

AFL bad boy Ben Cousins has been arrested after a police pursuit in Western Australia.

The former West Coast Eagles superstar was allegedly driving recklessly along Preston Point Road in Bicton about 10.30pm on Wednesday night, Seven News reported.
Cousins allegedly told police he could not stop due to a family emergency so he continued to drive, running red lights at slow speeds. same old same old, at least he didn’t ditch his passengers and jump into a river to avoid the test.

Ben Cousins arrested after police pursuit

Ben Cousins after his arrest on Wednesday night. Source: Channel 7

He was charged with reckless driving, failing to stop and failing to give a sample of breath.
The 36-year-old was released on bail and was due to face court on April 8.
He reportedly spent about three hours in the Fremantle Police Station before being collected in a lane way behind the station.
Cousins’ attempt to avoid media was not successful but, when asked whether he wanted to comment he said, “No,” before being driven away.
Cousins has frequently created headlines over well-publicised troubles with drugs and underworld connections that overshadowed his on-field brilliance.
The 2005 Brownlow Medallist and premiership player’s career came to an at the Eagles after a series of off-field indiscretions and he finished his playing days at Richmond.

Cousins will face court on April 8.

Cousins will face court on April 8. Source: Channel 7


BEN COUSINS TIMELINE
SEPTEMBER 2002: Fights teammate Daniel Kerr at a nightclub in Perth suburb of Claremont. Cousins’ arm is broken after he is pushed downstairs by an unknown assailant.
MAY 4, 2005: Cousins and ruckman Michael Gardiner embroiled in police investigation into a nightclub shooting in January. The star Eagles and their lawyer refuse to answer questions relating to Perth gangland violence.
MAY 5: Publicly apologises for his association with alleged underworld figures as Eagles chief executive Trevor Nisbett warns Cousins and Gardiner they are on their last chance.
FEBRUARY 17, 2006: Abandons his car and runs from police near a breath-testing station in Perth.
FEBRUARY 20: Walks away from the West Coast captaincy.
FEBRUARY 27: Police charge Cousins over abandoning his car on a highway to avoid a booze bus. He is later fined $900.
SEPTEMBER 30: Judd and Cousins hold the premiership cup aloft on the MCG after West Coast defeats Sydney by one point.
DECEMBER 3: Arrested for being drunk in public after being found intoxicated and dazed outside the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. Cousins is taken into custody for four hours.
JANUARY 9, 2007: Charge of being drunk in public dismissed.

Cousins’ off-field dramas overshadowed his brilliance on the field.

Cousins’ off-field dramas overshadowed his brilliance on the field. Source: Supplied

MARCH 20: Seeks drug- rehabilitation advice for “substance abuse”.
MARCH 22: Parents Bryan and Stephanie reveal Cousins’ problem relates to substance abuse but won’t go into details.
MARCH 23: Goes on a three-day bender after being suspended indefinitely by the club, a source close to the Cousins camp says.
MARCH 31: Heads to a Californian rehabilitation facility that specialises in methamphetamine addiction to fight his drug addiction.
APRIL 30: Arrives home from the US as Eagles chairman Dalton Gooding tells the AFL Commission the club will let Cousins play again only after he fulfils a series of stringent conditions. These include a public statement and an assurance he is drug-free.
MAY 5: Appears on national TV to admit to substance abuse and apologise for his fall from grace.
JUNE 28: Meets AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou, medical officer Peter Harcourt and others to argue he has overcome the substance-use problems.
JULY 21: Returns to the AFL with a 38-possession game against Sydney, but the AFL is attacked for allowing him to play without being officially punished for drug use or speaking publicly about his drug battle.
JULY 28: Drug-tested immediately after West Coast’s big win against the Bulldogs at Telstra Dome.
SEPTEMBER 7: Misses the rest of the season after he tears his left hamstring in the qualifying final against Port at AAMI Stadium. TV cameras capture words “Such Is Life” tattooed across his stomach.
OCTOBER 1: Sources confirm Cousins was with mentor Chris Mainwaring at his Perth home hours before Mainwaring collapsed and died.

Cousins leaving the Central Law Courts in Perth, where he faced charges of possessing dru

Cousins leaving the Central Law Courts in Perth, where he faced charges of possessing drugs with an intent to sell, in 2012. Source: News Limited

OCTOBER 16: Cousins charged by WA police with possession of a prohibited drug (diazepam tablets) without a prescription and failing to submit to a police driver assessment test (including blood) after his car was pulled over in the Perth suburb of Northbridge.
OCTOBER 17: West Coast sacks Cousins at an emergency board meeting. Eagles say he is “terribly sick” and that his focus must be “solely and only on his health”.
OCTOBER 19: Drug charges against Cousins dropped after police admit that under WA law diazepam is prohibited only in injectable liquid form.
NOVEMBER 19: The AFL Commission suspends Cousins for 12 months for bringing the game into disrepute.
OCTOBER 1, 2008: Cousins’ return to West Coast ruled out.
OCTOBER 17: Collingwood, the one-time favourite to secure Cousins, withdraws from the race to recruit him.
OCTOBER 26: St Kilda flags its intense interest in Cousins when five club officials – including coach Ross Lyon – grill the player over dinner in Pt Lonsdale.
NOVEMBER 18: The AFL re-registers Cousins.
NOVEMBER 29: Cousins is passed over in the national draft.
DECEMBER 16: Richmond takes Cousins with the final pick in the pre-season draft.
MARCH 26, 2009: Cousins makes his Tigers debut against Carlton.
JULY 5, 2010: Cousins admitted to hospital suffering an adverse reaction to sleeping pills

Cousins announces his retirement from the AFL in 2010.

Cousins announces his retirement from the AFL in 2010. Source: Supplied

AUGUST 17 2010: Announces he will end his AFL career at season’s end
AUGUST 28 2010: Channel 7 airs his controversial television documentary
SEPTEMBER 2010: Releases his tell-all autobiography Such Is Life
SEPTEMBER 2011: Partner Maylea Tinecheff gives birth to their son, Bobby Ernest Cousins.
JANUARY 9 2012: Cousins admitted to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital after a fall at a drug rehabilitation clinic.
JANUARY 13 2012: Committed by doctors to a suburban mental health unit under police escort after suffering drug-induced psychosis
MARCH 27 2012: Charged with possession of methylamphetamine with intent to sell or supply by Esperance police in WA’s South-West where he was attending a drug rehabilitation centre.
JANUARY, 2015: Hospitalised after his head in fall at a rehabilitation clinic.

Nigel Lake suspended from WA Upper House, arrested carrying baseball bat, balaclava, police say


I wonder who this bloke was allegedly going to whack sneaking around with a baseball bat, in all black, latex gloves with balaclava in hand? Strangely, he was caught right near his bosses house! Some people just must be happy with a measly $166,000 a year job. More to come in Court March 18, 2015. This has been kept quiet since mid feb mind you when it happened. WA Politics just keeps on giving…

around By Graeme Powell and Andrew O’Connor

Police in Perth say the deputy clerk of the Legislative Council, Nigel Lake, was wearing latex gloves and carrying a baseball bat and a balaclava when he was arrested last month.

Police in Perth say the deputy clerk of the Legislative Council, Nigel Lake, was wearing latex gloves and carrying a baseball bat and a balaclava when he was arrested last month.

Police in Perth say the deputy clerk of the Legislative Council, Nigel Lake, was wearing latex gloves and carrying a baseball bat and a balaclava when he was arrested last month.

A police car patrolling the suburb of City Beach on the night of February 17 saw a man acting suspiciously on foot and stopped him.

It was alleged he was wearing a black hoodie, latex gloves, black pants and black shoes and was carrying a baseball bat and balaclava.

 

Lake, 49, was charged with possessing a controlled weapon and possessing a disguise intended for use in connection with committing an offence.

Police said further investigations led them to charge him with installing and using a tracking device.

Police would not reveal the identity of a potential target.

Lake was stopped near the home of his boss Nigel Pratt – the Clerk of the Legislative Council.

Mr Pratt was the deputy clerk of Tasmania’s Upper House from 2007 to 2013.

Lake has been stood down from his $166,000-a-year job pending his court appearance on March 18.

Legislative Council president Barry House said he took immediate action to suspend Lake when police notified him of the charges.

“We also took immediate steps to notify the CCC [Crime and Corruption Commission] because he’s a public official, and we’ve fully cooperated with police in the investigation.”

Lake acting clerk until Nigel Pratt appointed

Mr House said Mr Pratt had been appointed to the position in February 2014 after interviews with a “number of candidates” in November and December the previous year.

Lake had been acting in the role of Clerk of the Legislative Council until Mr Pratt’s appointment.

Mr House said there was nothing unusual about the hiring process.

“That was a perfectly normal process,” he said.

I just find it bizarre, simple as that. It’s a bit like a Monty Python episode, isn’t it?

WA Premier Colin Barnett

“We received several applications and we conducted interviews. A decision was made and the clerk was duly appointed.”

Mr House would not confirm that Lake was one of the applicants considered for the position.

He said no appeal had lodged against the appointment by any other applicant.

Like a Monty Python episode: Premier

Arriving at Parliament, Premier Colin Barnett expressed bewilderment at the turn of events.

“I just find it bizarre, simple as that,” he said.

“It’s a bit like a Monty Python episode, isn’t it?”

He said he was told of the arrest a couple of weeks ago.

Liberal Legislative Council member Robyn McSweeney said she was “absolutely appalled” while Police Minister Liza Harvey said she was surprised.

“However, you’re probably aware in my portfolio I get lots of surprises and lots of reports of strange goings on every day of the week,” she said.

Greens MP Lynn MacLaren said she was stunned to learn Lake was facing charges.

“It’s just shocking to hear this news,” she said.

“I think anyone would be shocked to find out that someone they work with every day has found themselves caught up in the law in this way.”

Greens Legislative Ms McLaren said there was no hint of any problem in her dealings with Lake.

“I thought he was very helpful in the council. He gives us advice on petitions, so he’s been very helpful and efficient in the advice that he’s provided,” she said.

Liberal Upper House MP Alyssa Hayden shared the disbelief of her Parliamentary colleagues.

“I’m blown away. Totally blown away,” she said.

Prabha Arun Kumar murder- Can you help?


This is a terrible crime and despicable murder of a women walking home from work. WE must find her killer, we all have family and friends who walk some part of their way home every night. The police need help, hopefully releasing this video and images will help jog peoples memories of that night.

March 09, 2015 4:44PM

CCTV of Prabha Arun Kumar
 
  • Prabha Kumar was stabbed about 9.30pm Saturday night
  • Knifeman followed her and is still on the loose
  • IT consultant, 41, was on the phone to husband in India
  • He heard ragged breathing as she quickened, screams and a struggle
  • Mrs Kumar had turned down offer of a lift home from work

POLICE have released CCTV footage of Prabha Kumar walking from the train station moments before she was murdered in Parramatta Park on Saturday night.

Detectives are hoping the chilling vision will jog the memory of a witness who may have seen Mrs Kumar as she walked home after work.

“We’re releasing (the CCTV tapes) in an effort to jog people’s memories – someone who may have seen Prabha, somebody who may know Prahba – coming forward and providing us with the information that we need to work out why this has happened to her and who is responsible for it,” Homicide squad commander Detective Superintendent Michael Willing said.

Prabha’s haunting final moments

Mrs Kumar is seen walking from Parramatta Station moments before her brutal murder. Picture: CCTV/NSW Police Source: DailyTelegraph

Arun Kumar, Mrs Kumar’s distraught husband, who was on the phone in India to his wife when she was murdered, arrived in Australia earlier today.

IT’S NOT SAFE, I’LL BE LOOKING OVER MY SHOULDER

Mrs Kumar had finished working a double shift at an IT company and was taking a shortcut home across Parramatta Park.

Chillingly, she was talking with her husband Arun Kumar, 9300km away at home in India, when she said ‘he stabbed me, darling’ before the line went dead and Ms Kumar collapsed in a pool of blood.

Police will this afternoon release CCTV footage of Mrs Kumar walking home from Parramatta train station in the hope it will help generate a lead in the baffling case.

He said the footage didn’t appear to show anyone following the victim as she made her way home.

Police at the walkway on Monday morning where Prabha Kumar was stabbed to death. Pic John

Police at the walkway on Monday morning where Prabha Kumar was stabbed to death. Picture: John Grainger Source: News Corp Australia

This morning people returned to the pathway where Prabha Kumar was stabbed to death on Sa

This morning people returned to the pathway where Prabha Kumar was stabbed to death on Saturday night. Picture: John Grainger Source: News Corp Australia

Police search for evidence at the scene of Prabha Kumar’s murder on Saturday night. John

Police search for evidence at the scene of Prabha Kumar’s murder on Saturday night. Picture: John Grainger Source: News Corp Australia

Prabha Kumar leaves a husband and nine-year-old daughter in India. She

Prabha Kumar leaves a husband and nine-year-old daughter in India. She Source: Supplied

Detective Superintendent Willing said Mr Kumar was talking with detectives about the conversation before she was killed.

“We have some detail in terms of their conversation,” he said. “He’s understandably extremely distressed.”

Mrs Kumar’s brother-in-law, Thrijesh Jayachandra, told The Hindu Times that she had told Mr Kumar about a man following her.

“She was walking while talking to Arun on the phone when she said that a suspicious-looking man was following her,” he said.

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“The next moment, he heard her scream for help and then plead with the man not to harm [her] and take all her belongings if he wanted. Seconds later, he heard her scream and say she was stabbed,” he said.

Mrs Kumar was just 300m from her Westmead home when she was attacked. Her husband is on his way from Bangalore with the couple’s nine-year-old daughter.

“It is a nightmare. I don’t know why this happens to good people,” Ms Kumar’s friend and flatmate, who asked only to be identified as Sarada said.

“I don’t know how I’m going to face her husband. She is very close to her husband and daughter.

“She talks to them every day, as soon as she finishes work she calls her husband and keeps talking. She has a good family.”

Police officers returned to the murder scene today in a search for clues, a team of men scanning Amos Street that leads off the park.

Soni Bandari, 32, of Parramatta, told The Daily Telegraph she walks through the park everyday to get to work at the local Westfield.

“I’ll probably be more alert and I’ll be looking to make sure it’s all good and no one is following me or not,” Bandari said.“I’ll be a bit more conscious I’d say.”

The walkway through Parramatta Park where Prabha Kumar was stabbed to death. The photo, t

The walkway through Parramatta Park where Prabha Kumar was stabbed to death. The photo, taken last night, shows hows poorly lit the pathway is. Picture: Rohan Kelly Source: News Corp Australia

Flowers left at the entrance to Parramatta park were Prabha Kumar was attacked and killed

Flowers left at the entrance to Parramatta park were Prabha Kumar was attacked and killed. pic John Grainger Source: News Corp Australia

Ms Kumar, was set to return home to India next month after her working visa expired, after being sent to Sydney in 2012 to work for Indian-based IT and outsourcing company Mind Tree.

The company is based at The Rocks but Ms Kumar had been working with a client at Rhodes when she caught the train home on Saturday, getting off at Parramatta Station about 9pm.

It is believed she had knocked back a lift from work because she didn’t want to bother friends.

“She kept telling us how much she missed her family,” he nephew Thrijesh Jayachandra, 24, told the Bangalore Mirror.

She missed spending three precious years with her daughter, who was quickly growing up, and that she did not want to waste any more time away from her family, he said.

“She always made it a point to visit the temple near her apartment at least once a week. After getting home from work every evening, she would pray. In her three years in Sydney, she had only come to Bengaluru once for a holiday, while Arun and their daughter had flown to Australia twice to visit her.

“We are all in shock and are unable to come to terms with this. Her daughter has been kept in the dark about the incident as she has examinations going on. We told her that her father had to rush somewhere on an emergency business trip,” Thrijesh added.

.

Where the attack happened

Where the attack happened Source: DailyTelegraph

Police are poring over CCTV footage showing Ms Kumar walking from the station along Argyle St and on to Park Parade to see if she was followed into Parramatta Park.

Sarada said her friend used to call when she worked late and she would collect her from the railway station.

“But because she was working late regularly, she felt bad to ask for help. Maybe that is the reason she didn’t call,” Sarada said.

The path through Parramatta Park cuts between a golf course and Parramatta High School. It is sparsely lit but the attack happened near a cluster of trees that has wide open spaces on either side and was 20m from the nearest light.

She was found in a pool of blood by a man just after 9.30pm. She was taken to Westmead Hospital but had lost a lot of blood and was pronounced dead at 12.45am.

“It is a horrific attack without any stretch of the imagination,” Superintendent Wayne Cox from Parramatta police said. “Certainly my heartfelt condolences go out to the family and we will certainly be working with the family to move through this investigation process with them.”

Police and SES search the scene this morning. Picture: Justin Lloyd.

Police and SES search the scene yesterday morning. Picture: Justin Lloyd. Source: News Corp Australia

Police described the attack as ‘horrific.’ Picture: Justin Lloyd.

Police described the attack as ‘horrific.’ Picture: Justin Lloyd. Source: News Corp Australia

Litter lies on the path where the stabbing occured. Picture: Justin Lloyd.

Litter lies on the path where the stabbing occurred. Picture: Justin Lloyd. Source: News Corp Australia

As police and homicide detectives formed Strike Force Marcoala to investigate the murder, Supt Cox said they were particularly interested in talking to people who were around Argyle St and Park Parade on Saturday night.

Sarada told The Daily Telegraph she had warned her friend about the dangers of the park.

“I told her that it is not a safe way to come through because there is people that stop and ask you for money, like $2,” Sarada said.

She took aim at her friend’s employers, saying they should have helped her stay safe if she was working so late. “I kept warning her, either to take a cab from work or just take a safer route,” she said.

“Even if I work late my bosses would provide a cab. She is a single lady, doesn’t have anyone here, she works late at night — why they don’t think about security of their staff?”

She said that Ms Kumar was “a really nice, quiet and hard working person”. “She is very religious, goes to the temple every week. As soon as she comes back from home she takes a bath and she prays,” she said.

Ms Kumar’s colleagues at Mind Tree yesterday said they had been told by police not to say anything.

Parramatta residents say the park is poorly lit and quiet after the sun goes down. They believe CCTV and extra lighting must be installed to make it safer.

“I’m just lucky that nothing has ever happened to me,” said Lara Emery, 25, who lives in the area and was moved to tears when she heard about the murder. She said she would reconsider using the park at night.

LONELY WALK IN THE DARKNESS ENDS WITH A BLOODY TRAGEDY

Ben Pike

PRABHA Arun Kumar’s walk home from Parramatta Railway Station is a long and lonely one during the day, let alone in the dark of a ­Saturday night.

After getting off at the station the 41-year-old turned right on to ­Argyle St and walked 800m to the corner of Pitt St and Argyle St.

On this leg of the journey she walked past the entrance to the Parramatta Westfield shopping centre. From this point, the path quickly becomes very quiet.

There are railway tracks on one side of the road and anonymous ­office blocks on the other.

Retracing Ms Kumar’s steps at 3pm on a Sunday, I didn’t pass a soul on the footpath between Marsden St and Pitt St.

Flowers at the scene of Prabha Arun Kumar’s murder / Picture: Rohan Kelly

Flowers at the scene of Prabha Arun Kumar’s murder / Picture: Rohan Kelly Source: News Corp Australia

One can only imagine how deserted it was at 9pm.

She then crossed over at the lights from Pitt St to Park Parade and entered Parramatta Park.

From there it is less than 400m to her home up the long path that leads to Amos St.

If you are standing at the corner of Pitt St and Park Parade in daylight hours, you can see the path all the way up the hill to where Ms Kumar was attacked. The 250m climb is lit by only five street lamps, meaning her attacker would have had plenty of dark spots to hide in.

But Ms Kumar only made it three-quarters of the way up the incline before she was stabbed.

The scene of the crime was almost exactly between two street lamps, meaning she was about 20m from the nearest light at the time of the attack.

Women who live in the area say they would never walk through the park at night because it is “not very well lit”.

Police have also said the lighting in the park is not up to scratch.

Originally published as Prabha’s haunting final moments

Marcus Rappel murdered Tara Costigan -Now the Rally is on to help her kids


Let’s not give this pathetic gutless murderer more than a second, but it is time to think about the family left behind after Marcu Rappel allegedly killed Tara Costigan with an axe in a domestic violence attack that left 3 kids motherless.

murder: GoFundMe campaign raises money for family

Tara Costigan

Tara Costigan’s family has received an outpouring of community support. Source: Supplied

JUST over a week ago the Costigan family was celebrating the arrival of a new baby girl as 28-year-old Tara Costigan gave birth to her third child, baby Ayla.

Now, the close-knit group of cousins and siblings is planning a funeral for the bubbly young mum.

Tara, a mum of three and career carer, was found dead at her ACT home on Saturday, the victim of a domestic violence attack of the worst kind, police allege.

Her body was discovered in the laundry of her Calwell apartment with the murder weapon, an axe, nearby.

Tara’s dog Honey was one of her great loves, along with her three kids and large, support

Tara’s dog Honey was one of her great loves, along with her three kids and large, supportive family. Source: Supplied

Speaking on behalf of the family, Tara’s cousin Nathan Costigan told news.com.au the family was struggling to comprehend the tragedy that ripped them apart on the weekend.

“You would never in your wildest dreams assume that this is something that could happen to your family,” he said.

“It’s an incredible shock. At the moment our number one priority is the three kids.”

Tara’s murder left her two boys, Rhily, 11, Drew, nine, and one-week-old baby Ayla without a mother. Her former partner, Marcus Ruppel, is accused of Tara’s murder and the family is working with authorities.

Although Nathan admits he doesn’t exactly know what’s going to happen with the kids, they have plenty of support.

Tara Costigan

Tara Costigan Source: Facebook

The fund has passed its initial goal of $40,000

The fund has passed its initial goal of $40,000 Source: Supplied

A GoFundMe campaign has raised over $40,000 for the young family attracting pledges from hundreds of supporters.

“The outpouring has just been incredible,” Nathan said.

“The kids will be all right, we’ll make sure they’re all right.”

The loving uncle said that right now it was “hard to know if they’re really okay”, and that he was pretty sure the eldest two children were still in shock, but the kids would be looked after as best the family could manage. He’s working with police and authorities to make sure the kids are getting everything they need.

“We’re trying to keep their minds distracted for now because they probably know too much for a nine and 11-year-old,” he said.

“The Costigan side of the family is very close, those three kids are everyone’s number one priority right now.”

Tara Costigan

Tara Costigan Source: Supplied

Tara Costigan

Tara Costigan Source: Supplied

Tara loved to serve and care for people, her cousin says. She’ll be remembered as “a beautiful soul who was always smiling and willing to help others whenever and however she could”.

“The odds were against her, but she never gave up,” Nathan said.

“All her family were proud of her unshakable commitment to doing the best she can do. She worked hard to be able to send both her boys to a private school and she recently purchased her first new car.”

Tara’s grandmother said: “Our whole family is just devastated”.

Cousin Nathan says being a single mother and a carer and heavily pregnant, she had a very busy life.

“She didn’t like to cause trouble … she was just a gorgeous girl.”

Tara’s distraught family members had to be physically restrained, yelling abuse at her accused killer when he appeared at a Canberra court yesterday.

Accused killer Marcus Rappel

Accused killer Marcus Rappel Source: Facebook

Rappel, 40, is accused of her murder, assault occasioning bodily harm and recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm.

He is alleged to have forced his way into Ms Costigan’s villa, killing Ms Costigan with an axe and inflicting grievous bodily harm on a second woman and seriously assaulting a man, the Canberra Times reports.

He did not apply for bail and the matter has been adjourned until March 17.

Donate to the GoFundMe campaign supporting Tara’s three kids left without a mother here.

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.

If you reckon this is not happening with Aussie MP’s slap yourself hard.


MPs’ salary of £67,000 is not enough for the standard of living I’m ENTITLED to, says Tory Sir Malcolm Rifkind as he defends his second jobs after ‘cash for access’ sting

  • Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind were filmed by undercover journalists
  • The pair are both claimed to have been willing to represent a private firm
  • Sir Malcolm said he charged between £5,000 and £8,000 for a half-day 
  • Tory said he had ‘useful access’ to every British ambassador in the world 
  • He claims it is ‘unrealistic’ for backbenchers to accept £60,000 MP’s salary
  • Conservatives have suspended Sir Malcolm and launch investigation  
  • Labour MP Straw told undercover reporters he would expect £5,000 per day
  • Party has suspended him following the ‘disturbing’ allegations 
  • They have referred themselves to MPs’ standards watchdog over claims

A fresh row erupted over MPs’ pay today as a senior Tory caught in a ‘cash for access’ scandal said he sought extra business deals on top of his £67,000 salary to secure the standard of living he is ‘entitled’ to enjoy.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who chairs the Intelligence and Security Select Committee, has been suspended from the Conservative party after bragging that he could see any foreign ambassador in London and has ‘useful access’ to every British ambassador in the world.

But in a series of disastrous media interviews, he claimed today that it was ‘quite unrealistic’ to expect backbench MPs with professional backgrounds to ‘simply accept a salary of £60,000′.

Sir Malcolm and former Labour foreign secretary Jack Straw were secretly filmed discussing how they could use their contacts to benefit a private company and both boasted about charging at least £5,000-a-day. Mr Straw has also been suspended by the Labour party over the ‘disturbing’ allegations.

Tory MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind claimed today that it was 'quite unrealistic' to expect backbench MPs with professional backgrounds to 'simply accept a salary of £60,000'

In the conversation with the undercover reporters Sir Malcolm was filmed discussing that his usual fee was ‘somewhere in the region of £5,000 to £8,000′ for half a day’s work. Last night, he referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

But today he has used TV and radio appearances to defend his outside business interests, likening them to David Cameron acting as both an MP and Prime Minister.

MPs earn £67,060-a-year, but Sir Malcolm claimed this was not enough for someone of his professional background. pounds people so double it here in Oz

I do also want to have the standard of living that my professional background would normally entitle me to have
Sir Malcolm Rifkind

Challenged about why he does not do voluntary work to provide experience of the world outside politics, Sir Malcolm told BBC Two’s Daily Politics: ‘I have two objectives, I have to have that broader hinterland as you so nicely describe it, but I do also want to have the standard of living that my professional background would normally entitle me to have.’

He said that £60,000 ‘sounds a lot of money to anyone earning less than that but the reality is that anyone from a professional or business background earns considerably more than that’.

He said banning MPs from having second jobs would exclude ‘very large numbers of very able people who have a lot to contribute to Parliament’.

He added: ‘You could do not, and their families would not allow them, to accept such a substantial reduction their standing of living.’

Defending his position this morning, Sir Malcolm said there were ‘about 200′ MPs who had business interests and insisted many members of the public did not want ‘full-time politicians’.

He said that ‘many ex-ministers, former chancellors, home secretaries, prime ministers, as well as other people, have served on advisory boards’ and insisted it was ‘entirely proper’.

‘This is something which Parliament has said is acceptable,’ he added.

He told BBC Radio 4: ‘If you are trying to attract people of a business or a professional background to serve in the House of Commons, and if they are not ministers, it is quite unrealistic to believe they will go through their parliamentary career being able to simply accept a salary of £60,000.’

Filmed: Former Conservative Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, pictured, told undercover reporters that he had a usual fee of between £5,000 to £8,000 for a half-day's work for representing private companies

Filmed: Former Conservative Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, pictured, told undercover reporters that he had a usual fee of between £5,000 to £8,000 for a half-day’s work for representing private companies

Sir Malcolm Rifkind describes himself as ‘self-employed’

SIR MALCOLM RIFKIND: FORMER FOREIGN SECRETARY WHO IS NOW CHAIR OF SECURITY COMMITTEE

Sir Malcolm Rifkind was Foreign Secretary from 1995-97

Sir Malcolm Rifkind was Foreign Secretary from 1995-97

Sir Malcolm Rifkind earns £67,000 a year as the Conservative MP for Kensington and is Chair of the highly influential Intelligence and Security Select Committee.

The 67-year-old Scottish QC has held four cabinet positions under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, including Defence Secretary and Foreign Secretary.

Sir Malcolm declares five jobs outside parliament, which have earned him over £800,000 in the last five years.

He was first elected as an MP for Edinburgh Pentlands in 1974 and represented the constituency until 1997, when he lost the seat.

During the Thatcher and Major Governments, he served in a succession of ministerial posts.

Sir Malcolm was a junior minister in the Foreign Office from 1983 to 86, then the Scotish Office from 1986 to 1990.

From 1990 to 1992, he was Transport Secretary, then Defence Secretary between 1992 and 1995, and Foreign Secretary from 1995 to 1997.

Sir Malcolm was made Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on his return to Parliament in 2005, when he was elected MP for Kensington and Chelsea.

Since the 2010 election, he has been a member of the National Security Strategy and Intelligence and Security committees, chairing the latter.

He was also a chairman of the Commons Standards and Privileges committee in 2009-10.

Mr Straw, one of Labour’s most senior figures, claimed he was ‘mortified’ after footage emerged of him inviting two undercover reporters to a meeting in his Parliamentary office where he claimed to work ‘under the radar’ for private companies.

The Blackburn MP told how he had used his influence to change EU rules on behalf of a private company he already works for and declares an interest in.

He also claimed to have used ‘charm and menace’ to persuade the Ukrainian prime minister to change laws on behalf of the commodity firm, which pays him £60,000 a year.

Mr Straw, 68, said he would not take on the role while he remained an MP, but could be more helpful if he were to become a peer in the House of Lords after the election.

He was suspended from the Labour Party last night over what the party described as ‘disturbing allegations’ after he referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

Mr Straw told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I’m mortified by the fact that I fell into this trap set by a very skilful journalist from Channel 4 and it was a very skilful trap but I fell into it.

‘And, inevitably, if you have what you think is a private conversation where you trust the person, or people, you are talking to, you use language not that’s necessarily wrong but could be taken out of context.’

Mr Straw insisted he had been ‘absolutely scrupulous’ in observing all the rules, including on outside interests but admitted he should have put the conversation off until after he had left the Commons.

‘It would have saved a fantastic amount of time and trouble,’ he told Radio 4. His plan for a ‘valedictory’ final few weeks as an MP would now be mired by the allegations.

The revelations are especially embarrassing because in 2010 Mr Straw condemned former Labour Cabinet ministers Geoff Hoon, Patricia Hewitt and Stephen Byers after they were caught in a similar sting.

He claimed the trio had brought the Labour party and Parliament into disrepute ‘because it appears that former Cabinet ministers are more interested in making money than in properly representing their constituents’.

He added: ‘That’s why there is such anger in the parliamentary party as well I may say incredulity about their stupidity in allowing themselves to be suckered in a sting like this.’

Today Mr Straw said he had used ‘rather too strident terms’ to criticise his colleagues.

Mr Straw said he had had ‘five or six approaches’ over the last 18 months about what he would like to do when he has finished.

‘Yes, I’m interested in earning money but above all what I’m interested in is doing things which would engage my brain and use whatever skills and knowledge that I’ve got.’ He said all but one had ‘gone nowhere’.

Sir Malcolm is the chairman of the highly-influential Intelligence and Security Select Committee

Jack Straw is one of Labour's most influential MPs

Senior: Sir Malcolm is the chairman of the highly-influential Intelligence and Security Select Committee while Jack Straw, both pictured today, remains one of Labour’s most influential MPs

JACK STRAW: LABOUR LYNCHPIN WAS ONE OF UK’S LONGEST SERVING FOREIGN SECRETARIES

Former foreign secretary Jack Straw served in the Labour Cabinet from 1997 to 2010 under the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

The 68-year-old Labour MP for Blackburn was brought up on an Essex council estate by his single mother and later went on to read law at the University of Leeds.

Straw is one of only three people to have served continuously in Cabinet under the Labour government from 1997 to 2010.

He served as Home Secretary from 1997 to 2001 and Foreign Secretary from 2001 to 2006 under Tony Blair.

Under Brown’s premiership, he served as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice between 2007 and 2010.

Following the party’s loss of power in May 2010, he served as Shadow Deputy Prime Minister and Shadow Justice Secretary,

Mr Straw – a qualified barrister – is to stand down as an MP but has been tipped to go to the Lords later this year.

He declares two advisory roles, one of which earns him £60,000 a year working for a British global commodities trader.

Mr Straw is standing down as an MP in May, but has been tipped to get a place in the Lords.

He told the undercover reporters: ‘I could end up in the House of Lords, so you’re aware – you may have seen that…speculation in the paper at the moment – no one has said anything to me officially.

‘But the rules there are different and plenty of people have commercial interests there.’

He also told the reporters he had helped the commodity firm when EU sugar regulations were hampering its ability to do business. He said: ‘I got in to see the relevant director general and his officials in Brussels and we got the sugar regulations changed.’

After watching the footage, Sir Alistair told Dispatches/the Telegraph: ‘It is worrying that he is using public facilities to try and negotiate contracts for when he’s left Parliament.’

Former prime minister Tony Blair came to the defence of Mr Straw, who served as home secretary, foreign secretary and leader of the Commons in his administrations.

Mr Blair said: ‘I have known Jack for over 30 years. He is a byword for being a hard-working constituency MP and parliamentarian.

‘I can think of no-one who has more dedicated himself to public service.

‘I am really sorry he has been caught up in a sting operation about a job offer after he retires from Parliament.

‘It is typical of Jack that as soon as he was alerted of the sting against him he immediately contacted the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and asked her to investigate the case. I hope that the Commissioner will clear his name as soon as possible.’

Speaking at an event in south London, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the cash-for-access claims felt like ‘Groundhog Day – this keeps coming round’.

He said that ‘whether there is individual wrongdoing or not, the cumulative effect is to deepen public scepticism about how politics operates and that’s a great shame for anyone who believes in the quality of our democracy.

‘My own view is all political parties would be well advised to immediately after the next general election get together and have a look on a cross-party basis whether the rules need to be changed.’

Kensington MP Sir Malcolm had also claimed he could write to a minister on behalf of the company without saying exactly whom he was representing.

Despite being paid £67,000-a-year for his work as an MP, he described himself as ‘self-employed’ and claimed ‘nobody pays me a salary’.

The joint investigation by Channel 4 Dispatches and The Daily Telegraph comes five years after a similar sting by the TV programme, which led to former defence secretary Geoff Hoon being banned from Parliament for five years and former transport minister Stephen Byers banned for two years.

The undercover reporters contacted 12 MPs who already had significant outside interests to invite them to apply for work with a communications agency based in Hong Kong backed by a fictitious Chinese businessman.

Sting: Labour MP Jack Straw, pictured,  was filmed by undercover reporters in his House of Commons office where he believed he was meeting a Chinese business, and said he charged £5,000-a-day for his work

Sting: Labour MP Jack Straw, pictured,  was filmed by undercover reporters in his House of Commons office where he believed he was meeting a Chinese business, and said he charged £5,000-a-day for his work

Jack Straw secretly filmed in cash for access scandal

Former prime minister Tony Blair came to the defence of Mr Straw, who served as home secretary, foreign secretary and leader of the Commons in his administrations 

They were told the firm had plenty of money and wanted to hire influential British politicians to join its advisory board and get a foothold in the UK and Europe. Six of the MPs responded, including Sir Malcolm and Mr Straw.

Sir Malcolm, 68, who also declares five other jobs outside Parliament that have earned him more than £800,000 in the last five years, talked to the undercover reporters about his ability to obtain information from ministers about Government policy.

He said: ‘If it’s a matter of Government policy then there’s two aspects to Government policy. That which they have announced and which is public knowledge and is something you can find it in various ways of…’

I’m mortified by the fact that I fell into this trap set by a very skilful journalist
Jack Straw

The undercover reporter said: ‘Of Google? Yeah.’ Sir Malcolm replied: ‘Or in my own case I could write to a minister… I wouldn’t name who was asking.’

After seeing the footage, Sir Alistair Graham, a former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, told the investigation if Sir Malcolm did write to a minister in the way he described it ‘would be a clear breach of the code of conduct’.

He added that it was ‘an example of an experienced Member of Parliament using their privileged position as a public servant in trying to get access to information which would benefit individuals and this company in a way that I think the public would find totally unacceptable’.

Last night Sir Malcolm told the programme makers: ‘I have never undertaken nor would undertake any lobbying as an MP on behalf of any private organisation for which I was receiving remuneration.

‘You suggest I showed myself as ‘willing to act as an MP for hire’. That is untrue…There was no suggestion I was being approached as an MP…Their approach to me was because of my previous experience as a minister.’

Mr Straw said: ‘I made clear from the outset I was not available for any work until after I stood down as an MP. Due to my other parliamentary commitments and to save time for further such work I met the individuals in my parliamentary office.

‘We had a general discussion about work I have done on a consultancy basis for another company. I am confident that I behaved, as I have always done, with integrity and that I did not breach any parliamentary rules in substance or in spirit.’

The investigation comes two decades after the first ‘cash for access’ scandal in 1994 when a lobbyist was accused of paying Tory MPs Neil Hamilton and Tim Smith to ask questions in Parliament on behalf of Mohamed Al Fayed.

It will be screened tonight at 8pm on Channel 4.

Rifkind: “I offered Channel 4 opportunity to answer allegations”

BLASTED FOR BEING ‘STUPID': JACK STRAW CRITICISED MPS CAUGHT UP IN PREVIOUS ‘CASH FOR ACCESS’ SCANDAL FIVE YEARS AGO

Today’s ‘cash for access’ scandal is the latest in a long line of rows about secondary income for MPs.

In 2010 three former Labour ministers were caught touting themselves to lobbying firms.

Former transport secretary Stephen Byers, right, described himself as a ‘taxi for hire’, requesting £5,000 a day and boasting how he had secured secret deals with ministers over a rail franchise contract and food labelling for private firms.

Ex-defence secretary Geoff Hoon was told to apologise after saying he wanted to turn his government contacts into ‘something that, bluntly, makes money’

Ex-sports minister Richard Caborn was ordered to say sorry after he spoke of a rate of £2,500 plus expenses.

All three were banned from parliament for between six months and five years.

The Standards and Privileges Committee cleared ex-health secretary Patricia Hewitt of breaking the code but said she was ‘unwise’ to agree to meet people she thought were lobbyists.

None were prosecuted because no laws were broken.

At the time Jack Straw, caught up in a similar scandal today, accused them of being ‘stupid’.

He said at the time that ‘prima facie (it) does indeed bring the Parliamentary Labour Party, as well as Parliament, into disrepute, because it appears that former cabinet ministers are more interested in making money than in properly representing their constituents.

‘And that’s why there is such anger in the parliamentary party, as well as – I may say – incredulity about their stupidity in allowing themselves to be suckered in a sting like this.’


 

The Job Seeker Training Con- New legislation on track to stop the RIP OFFS


Plenty to come with this huge scam, no wonder private training “Colleges” and the like are popping up like flies to a pile of shit.

Money for nothing, scrounge as much money as you can from the hopeless job seekers and the desperate with pathetic unneeded useless courses unsuitable for their needs, and signing them to huge debt,  all for the gov kickbacks.

Falsifying applications, interviews, outcomes for more gov bonuses. What is yet to come, is the people behind some of these companies are retired or ex Federal and State MP’s who were smart (silly) enough to jump on the band wagon! These payments amount to billions over the time, and most in need get nothing out of it, nor have their circumstances improved.

The bloody rich get richer and the poor stay poor. Some involved with ICAC are yet to be exposed on gov contracts to house these gov job seeker services. Wrapping up long over valued leases.


UPDATE 11/03/15

New legislation to ban training providers from offering ‘miraculously’ short diploma courses

Training providers will be banned from offering “miraculously” short diploma courses, and from offering students incentives to sign up, under new legislation to be introduced by the Federal Government.

Assistant Training Minister Simon Birmingham said he was “very concerned” the Government’s vocational education loans scheme (VET FEE-HELP) was being abused and announced a range of measures to crack down on rogue providers.

“I’m very concerned about the range of distortions and abuse of the VET FEE-HELP scheme that’s occurring around Australia,” he told the ABC.

“I’ve had all too many examples of students who are being ripped off, vulnerable people taken advantage of, all of it being put on a tab for the taxpayer.

“So these reforms are designed to clamp down on dishonest behaviour, unethical behaviour amongst vocational education and training providers and make sure we restore integrity to a very important system.”

VET FEE-HELP is a HECS-style loans scheme that requires students to repay the Commonwealth once they earn a certain amount.

Senator Birmingham said he had heard “horrible stories” about dodgy training providers offering students laptops, meals, prizes and cash to sign up for courses that they did not need or would not lead to a job.

In some cases, he said students had been told the course in which they enrolled was free, when it was not.

“There’s no doubt that especially in relation to incentives and inducements for sign up, that has been a widespread activity over the last few months, if not couple of years since Labor opened up this system in 2012,” he said.

“Our reforms will shut the door on that.”

Under the changes, training providers would be required to have a minimum number of units of study in their diplomas and advanced diplomas, they would be banned from offering inducements or incentives to encourage students to sign up for courses, and they would be required to “properly assess” a student’s educational abilities before enrolment.

If the cost of these reforms is we see some dubious providers go out of business, then I’ll be quite happy to see that occur as long as we see a system that’s sustainable for the long haul.

Assistant Training Minister Simon Birmingham

Training providers would also be banned from accepting course fees in a single up-front transaction, to give students more time to consider their options.

“We are addressing the gaping holes that existed in the guidelines when Labor opened the scheme up in 2012 and making sure that through doing that, we restore some quality to the system,” Senator Birmingham said.

The Government estimated the changes would prevent students from taking out $16.3 billion in bad loans over the next 10 years, but Senator Birmingham admitted it would come at a cost to the sector.

“That will come at some cost to the industry, but ultimately I’m determined that these measures will shut down bad business models,” he said.

“If the cost of these reforms is we see some dubious providers go out of business, then I’ll be quite happy to see that occur as long as we see a system that’s sustainable for the long haul.”

According to Government figures, more than 180,000 students accessed the VET FEE-HELP scheme last year, taking out more than $1.6 billion in loans.


Update 4 Mar 2015

Evocca College under investigation by the Australian Skills Quality Authority after reports of low graduation rates

Update 4 Mar 2015

Figures obtained by the ABC show Evocca College has a graduation rate of about 10 per cent despite claiming more than $290 million in government funding via the VET FEE-HELP student loan scheme.

The figures show out of 38,213 students who signed up to its diploma courses in the past four years, only 2,058 were handed diplomas by October 2014.

There were 16,567 students who officially cancelled and 3,897 who timed out of the course.

The college said about 15,000 were still on track to graduate.

More than 20 former Evocca employees spoke to the ABC about questionable practices at the college after concerns about the training provider were first aired in January.

Since then the graduation rates of the college have been the subject of debate.

Now more allegations have come to light including that it enrolled students ill-equipped for diploma level courses without enough support, that it enrolled students who did not pass the required literacy test, and that it backdated tutor qualification forms to pass federal government audits.

Former staff claimed the college actively sought to hamper students who wanted to leave the college and cease adding to their government training debt.

An email obtained by the ABC shows the college sent an email to staff stating that “cancellation is a banned word”.

There’s a large amount of tax-payers’ money going into these colleges, it’s crucial tax-payers are getting value for money.

Australian Skills Quality Authority chief commissioner Chris Robinson

The college rejected suggestions it was taking advantage of the the VET FEE-HELP student training loan scheme, which was opened up to diploma courses in recent years.

In a statement, a company spokesman said they had a team of people dedicated to reaching out to students who were not attending.

“In cases where we have been through all possible processes endeavouring to re-engage a student, but have not been able to do so, we will cancel their enrolment, and have many thousands of documented cases to back this up,” he said.

The spokesman said the enrolment figures were not accurate and did not take into account “the flexible model that we deliver in allowing students more time than many other providers to complete their courses at no additional cost, which provides for differing levels of ability and also a variety of personal circumstances”.

It comes after a senate inquiry into the training loan scheme handed down its interim report on Monday.

Under VET FEE-HELP students can borrow up to $96,000 from the government for training, plus a 20 per cent loan fee, but not make repayments until they earn more than $53,000.

The loans attract interest in line with inflation (indexation) and the level of debt accrued can affect people’s ability to take out some types of loans in the future.

Free iPads ending up at pawn shops

One of the key criticisms of many new players in the diploma-level training market is the use of incentives such as free laptops and iPads to sign students up to courses, and ultimately training debts.

In Sydney’s west the Mega Cash pawn shop around the corner from Evocca’s Mt Druitt campus sees up to five students a day trying to pawn their computers.

“I was getting about five a day, last week,” manager Dean Rasmussen said.

“We can’t take the iPads because as the college tells us, they still own them until the student finishes the course so they cannot legally sell it or loan [it].”

There are similar reports in other states.

Evocca has 40 campuses around Australia and enrols about 15,000 students.

Evocca said the computers were loaned to students in line with a scheme with Federal Government approval.

“They are provided as a necessary tool with which students may become familiar with technology and also complete their studies, especially as many do not have the immediate wherewithal to purchase their own,” a spokesman said.

Former employee Steven Fogerty said the computers were useless as learning tools because they did not come equipped with relevant learning software such as Microsoft Office.

“The concept of giving students an iPad is purely an incentive because they’re a toy,” he said.

Regulator to investigate

The federal regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority, said it has been investigating a number of complaints about Evocca.

Chief commissioner Chris Robinson said some related to recruitment practices and others related to its operations.

He said the ABC raised new allegations the regulator was not aware of.

“We certainly are concerned about some of [the allegations],” he said.

“It would be very good if people have information and concerns in the way Evocca has operated to come through ASQA.”

He said the regulator audited 4,000 colleges in the past three years and suspended or chose not to renew many providers.

“Certainly not enough providers are fully compliant at all times,” he said.

“There’s a large amount of tax-payers’ money going into these colleges, it’s crucial tax-payers are getting value for money.”

Staff come forward

More than 20 former Evocca employees have come forward to the ABC with concerns about the college’s operation.

Mr Fogerty was a business management tutor at Mt Druitt campus for six months.

He said they regularly discussed at morning meetings the low educational ability of students recruited by the company’s sales agents.

“We’d all say we know this is wrong,” he said.

In vocational training, students typically progress through Certificates I to III or IV before undertaking a diploma level course, unless they have extensive workplace experience.

Mr Fogerty said he had one student who had vision and hearing impairments who was enrolled despite not writing 100 words as required by the Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) entrance test.

This student was then given little or no extra support despite his impairments.

“They would let anyone into this college. Your intellectual abilities were not even considered,” he said.

“If you were an Australian citizen and you could sign your name, you’re in.”

Other students included migrants with poor English skills, single mothers and elderly people, many of whom he said did not get appropriate learning support.

Evocca said it had a thorough pre-enrolment process that ensured students understood the requirements and were capable of completing the course.

“It is due to these self-imposed standards of closely vetting any potential student that, although we receive many thousands of inquiries annually, only 14 per cent of these result in enrolments,” a company spokesman said.

Claims of backdating forms

Former Queensland branch manager Michelle Naylor said when the college was audited by the Australian Skills Quality Authority it deliberately backdated staff qualification paperwork to pass the audit.

“We were asked to go through everyone’s qualifications,” she said.

“If they didn’t have qualifications we were asked to sign a form called Working Under Supervision and unfortunately I had to backdate a couple of those to the term the tutors commenced work.

“I didn’t know I was supervising them, I thought they had qualifications and experience.

“I knew I was doing the wrong thing.”

The college denied any wrongdoing and said it would “update” paperwork of those who were required to be supervised while they were in the process of obtaining their Certificate IV in Workplace Training.

“This was an internal administrative process, which was in part designed to ensure some transparency and accountability for those who were undertaking this training, to ensure that it was completed in a timely manner, and that those being supervised were of an acceptable standard,” a spokesman said.

Students say they lose out

Dylan Palmer would travel three hours each day to study digital gaming at Evocca’s Brisbane campus.

He was referred to the course by a friend who received $100 cash from Evocca and Dylan received a free laptop.

“It was a lot of fun at first but as I went on it kind of jumped from point A to point C without ever really explaining point B and it just got really confusing for me,” he said.

I did struggle. It was very, very hard. There’s nothing for disabilities. They’ve got nothing in place, no protocols, nothing.

Leanne Fraser

The 21-year-old has Asperger’s syndrome and said he did not receive sufficient support.

“Sometimes they’d just say ‘watch the video again’.”

He now has a $27,000 VET FEE-HELP debt.

Also in Queensland, single mother Leanne Fraser would travel two hours each day for a diploma in tourism.

She has multiple sclerosis and said there was no help for students with a disability.

“I did struggle. It was very, very hard,” she said.

“There’s nothing for disabilities. They’ve got nothing in place, no protocols, nothing.”

A college spokesman said the Evocca teaching model was based on doing everything it could to support students.

“[There is] a robust system in place for the ongoing management of students, including regular one-to-one catch ups with tutors, to ensure that these objectives are achieved.”


23rd February 2015

Unemployment in Australia is at its highest in 12 years. The Government’s solution is an innovative billion-dollar scheme called Jobs Services Australia. But the initiative is failing.

Now, a Four Corners investigation shows how the scheme is being manipulated and, at times, systematically exploited. Reporter Linton Besser reveals the corruption at the heart of the program aimed at helping some of this country’s most vulnerable people.

He travels to suburbs where unemployment is a way of life. He meets Kym, struggling to find work and pull her daughter out of a cycle of poverty.

There to help are private and not-for-profit job agencies, paid by the Government to help find work for Kym and others like her. These agencies have blossomed thanks to the privatisation of the Commonwealth Employment Service in 1998, and are thriving on contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Unemployment is now big business in Australia. Each year the Government spends about $1.3 billion on its welfare to work scheme.

But what happens when there are simply not enough jobs to go around?

What Four Corners discovers is a system open to abuse where the unemployed have become a commodity. Some agencies bend the rules, others break them.

“I would say about 80 percent of claims that come through have some sort of manipulation on them.” – Agency whistleblower

Four Corners goes inside the industry, finding shocking evidence of fraud, manipulation, falsified paperwork, and the recycling of the unemployed through temporary jobs.

Hours are bumped up, wages are inflated, and in many cases, vital evidence to support claims from the taxpayer appears to have been falsified. One former jobseeker tells Four Corners her paperwork appears to have been completely forged.

In recent years Government checks have forced some companies to pay back millions of dollars, but few are sanctioned. Former job agency employees say crucial internal records are adjusted in preparation for government audits.

“That, I guess, caused alarm bells for me… Claims that have been claimed, signatures that weren’t on them, and we were sort of told, you know, if the signature’s not on it, get it any way that you can.” – Former job agency employee

As the nation grapples with rising unemployment, Four Corners raises uncomfortable questions about the charities and profit-takers making a buck from Australia’s jobless.

“THE JOBS GAME”, reported by Linton Besser and presented by Kerry O’Brien, goes to air on Monday 23rd February at 8.30pm on ABC. The program is replayed on Tuesday 24th February at 10.00am and Wednesday at midnight. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm, ABC iview


Government recovers over $41 million worth of false claims after ‘rorting’ of Job Services Australia scheme

23/02/15

The Federal Government has clawed back more than $41 million worth of false claims by private employment agencies in just the past three years.

The agencies are contracted by the Government under a privatised welfare-to-work program called Job Services Australia, a sprawling $1.3 billion-a-year scheme designed to get the unemployed into work.

A Four Corners investigation has found rorting of the scheme is rampant. Forgery, manipulation of records and the lodgement of inflated claims for fees are widespread.

One former agency employee said he had seen “thousands” of jobseeker records doctored by his agency to support suspect claims against the taxpayer.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, have been recouped at times by the department.

Rupert Taylor-Price

The managing director of a private employment agency told Four Corners: “There are incentives to be involved in sharp practices from a financial and performance perspective.”

“We had to do the same thing [because] everyone was doing it,” the source said.

“The Government does not want to expose the whole industry.”

Three years ago a top-level inquiry into just one type of fee found spectacular rates of failure, forcing cancellation of that particular fee and prompting industry-wide ructions.

Ominously, the inquiry noted that just 40 per cent of the claims it examined could be confirmed by documentary evidence, or by the testimony of jobseekers and their employers.

The Abbott administration has made some changes to the scheme that take effect mid-way through this year.

But critics say these changes will do little, if anything, to stop widespread gaming of the contract.

Only one in 10 enjoy ‘a better chance of gaining employment’

The ABC has learned that fraud investigators attached to the Department of Employment have launched probes into many of the major agencies contracted to the program since its inception in 1998.

For-profit companies, including the market leader, Max Employment, have been investigated for particular allegations, as well as well-loved Australian charities including the Salvation Army.

There are a variety of means by which the contract is exploited.

The ABC is not suggesting that any particular agency is engaged in the full range of rorts, or other means by which the contract can be optimised.

But despite a long parade of whistleblowers detailing allegations of the misappropriation of taxpayer funds by some agencies, and highly questionable practices by others, the government has declined to detail instances where it has ever sanctioned any single agency operating under the scheme.

But what the department does is only reclaim those from the failures it finds. So even if you are going to put in claims that have a failure rate, you’re still going to have a lot of them not found and keep the money … there’s still an incentive to make the claim.

Rupert Taylor-Price

In one case to be examined on Four Corners, investigators were forced to shelve their inquiries when they discovered a departmental official had explicitly told the agency that it could still collect fees for services the Government knew had never been delivered.

Rupert Taylor-Price, whose software company analyses government data generated by the program, says the scheme is being routinely “optimised” to the detriment of jobseekers.

“Hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, have been recouped at times by the department,” Mr Taylor-Price said.

“But what the department does is only reclaim those from the failures it finds.

“So even if you are going to put in claims that have a failure rate, you’re still going to have a lot of them not found and keep the money … there’s still an incentive to make the claim.”

He says he believes only one in 10 participants in the program enjoy “a better chance of gaining employment”.

The program was created 17 years ago, when the Howard government effectively privatised the Commonwealth Employment Service (CES).

The new policy created a pseudo-marketplace of jobseekers who were forced under Centrelink’s rules to attend private agencies, which would be paid to find them work.

Since then, more than $18 billion has been spent on the welfare to work program – first labelled Job Network, and now known as Job Services Australia.

It has been a cheaper scheme than the CES, but critics say it has also been far less helpful at assisting long-term unemployed people back into work.

‘You can’t make people search for jobs that aren’t there’

Academics and experts have repeatedly pointed out the glaring paradox at the heart of the program: how can these agencies have any impact on the unemployed when the number of jobless far outstrip the number of job vacancies?

“[The welfare to work program] patently hasn’t worked,” said Professor Bill Mitchell, director of Newcastle University’s Centre of Full Employment and Equity.

“It’s an impossible task … there’s not enough jobs to go around. You can’t make people search for jobs that aren’t there, and that’s the dilemma of the whole system.

“We’ve had a demand-side constraint – not enough jobs – and all this vigorous energy and money being poured into a supply-side initiative as if that’s the problem.”

Periodically, the jobs program has been mired in scandal. A major Productivity Commission inquiry in 2002 made adverse findings about the program, including that the long-term unemployed were being “parked”.

It’s absolutely vulnerable to exploitation.

Former senior departmental investigator

Just three years after Job Network was launched, one prominent job agency was accused of shovelling thousands of people into phoney jobs.

In what has become a pattern, a subsequent inquiry cleared the agency of fraud but demanded the repayment of thousands of dollars.

Insiders have told Four Corners that department managers have been reluctant to tighten up the program’s governing contract to prevent blatant rip-offs.

“It’s absolutely vulnerable to exploitation,” said a former senior departmental investigator.

He said he had significant doubts about the will of successive governments to root out the fraud perpetrated against the contract.

“The department was more interested in getting its money back [than sanctioning agencies] … it’s very politically-driven,” the former investigator said.

The Department of Employment provided figures to Four Corners which showed that millions of dollars are routinely recouped from agencies, as a result of audits, self-identification by agencies and other “program assurance activities”.

In 2011–2012, $8.34 million was recovered.

The figure spiked to $23.81 million the following year after the inquiry into one particular type of fee.

And last year, another $9.12 million was reclaimed.

A department spokesman said typical repayments by agencies amounted to “less than 1 per cent of the amount paid each year”, and said it had “robust systems” to detect inappropriate claims for fees.

He would not answer a series of specific questions about past or current investigations conducted by the department.

“In cases of suspected fraud, matters are referred to agencies such as the Australian Federal Police and Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions,” the spokesman said.

“Since 2006 the Department has made 38 referrals to the appropriate authorities.”

Background Information

RESPONSES TO FOUR CORNERS

Statement by Catholic Care in response to Four Corners

Statement in response – Four Corners Interview Request | 30 January, 2015

Statement by Salvation Army in response to Four Corners | 5 February, 2015

Statement by the Department of Employment in response to Four Corners

Statement from the Assistant Minister for Employment, the Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP in response to Four Corners

RESEARCH

Letter of concern regarding the Job Network | November 1999

Job Services Australia review and evaluation | Department of Employment | 2014

Labour Force Figures, January 2015 | Australian Bureau of Statistics

Management of Services Delivered by Job Services Australia | Australian National Audit Office | 2013/14

ACOSS submission to APESAA | 2012

Rethinking Australia’s Employment Services | Whitlam Institute | UWS | 2011

A review of developments in the Job Network | Research Paper | Paliamentary Library | 24 December, 2007

Centerlink Quarterly Breach Data | Participation and activity test requirements and penalties for workforce age payments | 20 September 2003

Wage Subsidies | Job Access

Parliamentry Debate | Job Network question to Tony Abbott then Minister for Employment Services | 7 December, 1998

MEDIA

Unemployment | Topic Page | ABC News | Regularly Updated

Young Australians are not giving up on work, despite high unemployment | The Guardian | 17 February 2015

REMINDER: Why employment and unemployment are both rising in Australia | Business Insider | 16 February 2015

Social Service Agency Reacts to Welfare Contractor’s Controversy | Voice of OC | 17 June, 2014

Australia Unemployment Rate 1978-2015 | Trading Economics | 12 February, 2015

Job seeker funding still open to fraud, despite fee reforms | Sydney Morning Herald | 22 April, 2013

Federal Agency Finds Workfare Contractor Violated Wage Law | New York Times | 1 September, 2000

RELEVANT LINKS

Job Services Australia | The Australian Government employment services system that supports job seekers and employers.

Jobs Australia | The national peak body for nonprofit organisations that assist unemployed people to get and keep jobs

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