CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses sexual abuse.

The embattled principal of elite Melbourne high school St. Kevin’s College has tendered his resignation, following reports he issued a character reference to a former athletics coach convicted of grooming a St. Kevin’s student.

The ABC reports headmaster Stephen Russell issued a letter to parents today alerting them of his decision, which comes after a Four Corners investigation into how senior school staff responded to the 2015 child sex crime trial. 

“In my time at St. Kevin’s I have always tried to put the school before self and the students’ wellbeing at the very top of my list of priorities,” Russell said in the letter, which was shared online by Four Corners journalist Louise Milligan. 

“I believe the current situation means that the best way to achieve this is to resign.”

Russell said he has advised the head of the Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA), the Catholic school network of which St. Kevin’s is a member, of his resignation.

On Monday, Four Corners reported that Russell issued a character reference for volunteer athletics coach Peter Kehoe after Kehoe was convicted of grooming a student at the school.

The exposé also revealed claims that Russell did not back the boy through the trial.

The ABC reports EREA Executive Director Dr Wayne Tinsey also announced the school’s dean of sports, Luke Travers, has also been stood down pending an investigation.

The Four Corners report stated Travers also provided a character reference for Kehoe after becoming aware of the allegations made against him, and provided character evidence for him during the trial.

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino yesterday said the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority will open a review of St. Kevin’s compliance with child safety regulations.

When asked if Russell should be sacked, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews yesterday said “That’s entirely a matter for the board, and the people who employ him.”

“I don’t employ him. Things might be a bit different if I did.”

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Image: St. Kevin's College