St. Kevin’s Principal Under Fire For Providing Character Reference To Convicted Sex Crim

The principal of Melbourne’s St. Kevin’s College wrote a character reference for one of the school’s volunteer athletics coaches even after he was convicted of a child sex offence, the ABC has revealed.

The broadcaster reports that not only did headmaster Stephen Russell write in support of former coach Peter Kehoe after his 2015 conviction for grooming a child under the age of 16, the school did not provide support to his victim in the lead-up to the trial.

The news comes ahead of tonight’s broadcast of a Four Corners investigation into the school, which has made headlines in recent months due to sexist chants uttered by students on public transport – and allegations of a boy’s club mentality among school leaders aimed at protecting its elite reputation.

Speaking to Four Corners, the victim, now 20, said he was “gutted” when he learned of Russell’s letter of reference for Kehoe, who was sentenced to a community corrections order and placed on the sex offender registry.

But that letter was not the school’s only link to Kehoe after his behaviour was revealed. ABC reports the school’s dean of sport, Luke Travers, wrote his own letter of reference for Kehoe even after the victim’s mother outlined her son’s allegations to Travers.

Travers also testified on Kehoe’s character at the trial.

At the same time, the victim’s friend testified in support of his mate. That boy’s mother claims she was contacted by Russell, who was allegedly concerned about the possibility of the boy wearing St. Kevin’s unique blazer while in court.

There is no suggestion either Russell or Travers are guilty of any offence, but in a separate announcement, the ABC states Four Corners has “uncovered evidence of how a desire to protect reputation at all costs has allowed a toxic culture to flourish” at St. Kevin’s.

The episode will air at 8.30pm tonight.

Help is available.

If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.

If you’d like to speak to someone about sexual violence, please call the 1800 

Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online

Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.