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School Abuse Inquiry Extended To More Cases

POLICE are investigating up to 15 potential new cases of sexual abuse involving students at Blackfriars Priory School.
Various allegations - ranging from abuse to possession of pornographic photographs - that involve up to six former teachers at Blackfriars are being scrutinised.
The allegations - none of them involving current students - have been made by people who have contacted either the hotline established by Blackfriars Priory School last month or CrimeStoppers.
They come as another former teacher, this time from Trinity College, was arrested by Elizabeth detectives yesterday on sexual abuse charges.
The teacher was employed at the college during the late 1980s.
Adelaide Anglican Archbishop lan George and Trinity College headmaster Luke Thomson last night both expressed their concern over the latest allegation, with former students who may have been affected urged to come forward.
In the Blackfriars' investigation, sources have told The Advertiser five cases involve a teacher who was the subject of an internal school inquiry in 1991 after allegations of inappropriate behaviour were made involving one student.
The teacher left the school after the internal inquiry, but his alleged actions were reported to welfare authorities. In 1997, he was convicted of unrelated pedophile offences and served a short jail term.
In January, Blackfriars principal Dr Paul Hine ordered an inquiry into the school's handling of the abuse allegations in 1991.
Another five allegations involve students who were allegedly abused by a former teacher who was charged by police in January this year.
The man is facing 19 charges relating to the alleged sexual abuse of another five students. The remainder involve allegations made against another four former teachers at Blackfriars. Some of the allegations date back to 1960.
Senior police confirmed the new investigations were being conducted by detectives from the Child Exploitation Investigation Section of the Major Crime Investigation Branch.
"Child Exploitation detectives win be contacting all people who have provided information," Major Crime Acting Superintendent John Venditto said.
"Each of the people who have made contact will have their information assessed to determine if they are a victim of sexual abuse or witnesses in other cases."
Blackfriars principal Dr Paul Hine confirmed "all, relevant information has been passed onto SAPOL for consideration."
"Blackfriars is now considering how it can best respond to individual issues which have been raised by some callers," he said.
"To date our focus has been offering pastoral care to those in need and ensuring we continue to co-operate with police. I strongly urge anyone with any information related to child protection they believe may be helpful to police, or should be brought to the attention of the school to call the hotline or CrimeStoppers.
"Blackfriars started this process not knowing what would emerge, but with a determination to deal with whatever came to light."
On March 18 The Advertiser revealed a former teacher had been charged with sexually abusing Blackfriars students over a 12-year period.
The alleged offences occurred between November, 1977 and December, 1989 when the man was a teacher and then involved at Blackfriars in another capacity.
The man allegedly befriended the boys at the school and on school camps and then took them on private camps where the abuse allegedly -took place. Blackfriars established the hotline on March 17 after alerting current and former students and the wider school community to allegations of abuse involving the former teacher. So far almost 70 people have called the hotline for counselling, to provide information or seek information.
Trinity College also has set up a support network for students, staff and parents that may be affected by its former teacher's sexual abuse. People are encouraged to call the college if they wish to discuss the matter or seek help.
"Sexual abuse is totally unacceptable to our college community," Mr Thomson said.
He said the college had in place a child Protection policy which included employee and volunteer screening, staff training and mandatory reporting if any indication of sexual abuse was noted.
"We will stand against the problem of child sexual abuse with determination and the force of the law," he said.

Adelaide Advertiser 3-4-2004
Nigel Hunt

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