All posts tagged Australia

Knox Grammar: suspected paedophile was put in charge of boarding house

Published March 2, 2015 by misty534


Former staff member tells royal commission he quit in disgust after a teacher he recommended have minimal contact with pupils was given command of a boarding house at the elite school

The head of discipline at Knox Grammar school quit in disgust when the headmaster put a suspected paedophile in charge of a boarding house, an inquiry has heard.

Stuart Pearson was general duties master at the elite Sydney school in the 1980s when Ian Paterson was headmaster.

Pearson told a royal commission hearing on Monday that one of his reasons for leaving Knox in 1990 was that four years after he recommended that Adrian Nisbett have nothing to do with students beyond the classroom, the teacher was given responsibility for boys at Kooyong Boarding House.

In 2010, Nisbett was convicted of two counts of committing acts of indecency on Knox boys in the 1980s and was released on a good behaviour bond.

Pearson, who is a former police officer, prepared a report for Paterson in 1986 in which he wrote that more than one boy had reported that Nisbett was cupping their genitals and rubbing up against them in the school’s darkroom. The commission has heard that and other reports relating to sexual abuse allegations and the school’s response have gone missing.

Pearson wrote that Nisbett had “targeted post-pubescent boys between the ages of 13 and 15 who excelled athletically as opposed to academically” and he recommended that he be removed from the boarding house of which he was then headmaster. Nisbett was removed but a few years later was appointed resident master of Kooyong house.

Pearson said the Nisbett incident was not the only matter that led him to leave Knox. His reasons were a mix of personal and work issues. Pearson said at that stage his confidence in Paterson had broken down “and I think it was mutually reciprocated”.

He said Paterson had been reluctant to let him investigate Nisbett but did not interfere in the investigation. Pearson gave evidence on Friday that Paterson had told him Nisbett was a highly respected member of staff and the allegations could not be true.

“‘If the matter turns out to be untrue, it is your job’,” he said Paterson said.

Solicitor Jim Harrowell, representing Paterson cross-examined Pearson, for more than an hour

Pearson denied he’s trying to shift the blame for poor record keeping onto the former headmaster.

Pearson reiterated his allegation Paterson had lied when he said he had reported to police that an intruder wearing a balaclava had sexually assaulted a boy in 1988.

In a terse exchange he asked Pearson if when he was a policeman he had a problem with record keeping and complained about the need to keep a lot of documents.

Pearson replied that had happened in 1981 and bore no relationship to his tenure at Knox.

He said he was not suspended from the police force but resigned for health reasons.

Harrowell: “So you are suggesting your failure to keep copies of relevant documents at Knox was purely because Dr Paterson and not because you were inclined not to keep those documents.”

Pearson: “Some documents I kept copies, others I did not”.

He said he would not have kept the most sensitive documents because the protocol at Knox was that those went to the headmaster.

He said in the case of Nisbett the headmaster had stipulated that all documents be given to him.

Mr Pearson said he left Knox in 1990 for a variety of reasons, including the fact he had lost confidence in Dr Paterson because of Nisbett and other issues.

He said by then his confidence in Paterson had broken down “and I think it was mutually reciprocated”.

Last week, the current headmaster of Knox, John Weeks, who ordered an independent investigation into Nisbett, described him as a “protected species … protected by the headmaster”.

Nisbett was allowed to resign in 2004. He is now in South Africa beyond the reach of the royal commission.

The Guardian

Australia’s top rabbi resigns after giving evidence at sex abuse royal commission

Published February 17, 2015 by misty534

Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant steps down after commission hears he called the father of three abused sons a ‘lunatic’

Manny Waks
Abuse victim Manny Waks said Kluwgant should resign from all his positions. Photograph: Mal Fairclough/AAP

The most senior rabbi in Australia has resigned, days after appearing before the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant, the president of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, stepped down on Monday morning, the immediate past president, Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, confirmed.

Child sexual abuse victims said Kluwgant’s position was untenable after the commission heard on Friday that he had called the father of three sons who were sexually abused a “lunatic” who was guilty of “killing” the Orthodox Jewish Chabad community within which his sons had been violated.

Zephaniah Waks told the commission how he and his family were ostracised and bullied by religious leaders after speaking out about the abuse within Chabad’s Yeshivah centre headquarters in Melbourne.

The commission heard that as Waks was giving his evidence, Kluwgant sent a text message to the editor of the Australian Jewish News that read: “Zephaniah is killing us.

“He is a lunatic on the fringe, guilty of neglect of his own children,” it said. “Where was he when all this was happening?”

Waks’s son Manny, who was abused within the centre, said Kluwgant’s resignation was welcome.

“I hope this is his first step towards educating himself about child sexual abuse and that he can contribute towards being a part of the solution to it from now on,” Waks said.

“But he is unfit to hold any leadership position. As he holds several high-profile positions within the Yeshivah community, I feel he should resign from them all.”

Kluwgant’s resignation is the second to result from the hearings. The director of the Sydney Yeshivah centre, Rabbi Yosef Feldman, resigned last week, after offending child sex abuse victims and members of the Jewish community during his evidence.

Since 2013, the commission has been investigating how institutions such as schools, churches, sports clubs and government organisations have responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.

The past fortnight of hearings was the first time the orthodox Yeshivah centres had come under its scrutiny. The Yeshivah centres in New South Wales and Victoria run schools, religious activities and youth programs. Failures to address child sexual abuse within the centres were highlighted before the commission at Melbourne’s county court.