|Justice Coate chairing Royal Commission hearing|
Geelong Grammar should repay the school fees of abuse victims because the elite school failed children and parents, a former student has told the royal commission.
The student, referred to as BKM, told the child abuse royal commission, which is hearing evidence about five decades of child abuse at the school, his final year was ruined when a teacher indecently assaulted him.
“They made my father pay an exceptional amount of money in school fees for me to attend the school and yet they failed me and him,” BKM said.
In my soon to be released book, Wolves in Sheep's Clothing - The Emma Fretton Story, I argue a similar case, only Emma was abused from the first grade for several years literally trashing her education at Northside Christian College, in Bundoora, not far from Geelong.
All private schools charging for educating children who are subsequently sexually abused should have to repay every dime of tuition starting from the first occurrence of sex abuse.
Geelong Grammar 'more worried about scandal than abuse in hypnosis'
“I was sexually abused and repeatedly and seemingly uncaringly re-exposed to the situation that allowed the abuse.”
BKM, who described Geelong Grammar as one of the best schools in the world, said the schools and institutions involved in abuse cases should pay back the fees paid by parents as compensation.
“It shouldn’t be hard to get some of the richest, most connected, profitable and best insured institutions in Australia to pay back the fees they took – with interest.”
Luke Benson, one of 40 Geelong Grammar students abused by live-in boarding house assistant Philippe Trutmann between 1985 and 1996, said his father was extremely proud to send his children to Australia’s most prestigious school.
“My dad made huge sacrifices to send me to the school. I felt rotten telling him that the abuse occurred because it was like taking away the one decision he was proud of as a parent.
“Other than private boarding schools, I don’t know of situations where parents have paid to have their kids sent somewhere only for them to be abused.”
The royal commission was due to hear from its final victim witness, BIW, on Thursday, before several current and former school staff give evidence.
Counsel assisting the commission, David Lloyd, said BIW told then matron Catherine Parsons in 1989 that he had been sexually abused in his room, but was not sure by whom.
He had been at the school for about three days, Lloyd said. He said there would be contested evidence about what was said at a meeting between Parsons, BIW and two other staff members.
BIW was expelled after discussing the matter with another student, Lloyd said. Parsons was also expected to give evidence on Thursday.