CONTENT WARNING: This article contains descriptions of child sexual abuse and may cause distress to some readers.

A Year 7 student who was indecently assaulted while on school camp was later blamed by the school’s principal for the bullying that resulted, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse has heard.

The student, who attended The King’s School in Parramatta, Sydney‘s west, was sleeping in April 2013 when he rolled over and saw another boy had ejaculated on his sleeping bag.

When he told his friends, the boys began teasing him mercilessly. According to council-assisting the inquiry David Lloyd, the students began calling the boy – identified only as CLC – “cum rag” and “cum dumpster”.

Yet when the incident was reported to Headmaster Dr Timothy Hawkes, he not only failed to report the incident to police – later claiming to have misunderstood an email from his Deputy Headmaster – but blamed the boy for his own bullying.

“Dr Hawkes said that CLC bore some of the blame and responsibility for the bullying, because he did not report the camp incident when it occurred,” Mr Lloyd said.

“In a subsequent letter … Dr Hawkes said to CLC’s parents that one of the principal people to keep the cadet camp incident secret from the school and CLC’s parents for so long was CLC.”

Charges were never laid, but one of the perpetrators left the school and two others were suspended. CLC later transferred to St Ignatius College, Riverview in Year 11 and reported a positive experience after being supported by students and a counsellor.

It’s just one of several horrifying stories that were heard before the Royal Commission yesterday, which is hearing evidence about responses to harmful sexual behaviour at three unnamed New South Wales primary schools, three faith-based private schools (King’s, St Ignatius, and Trinity Grammar School), and Shalom Christian College private school in Queensland.

Mr Lloyd used his opening address to say Trinity staff knew about the sexual abuse of a Year 7 student, identified only as CLA, for a month before action was taken.

“Between 11 August 2000 and 7 September 2000, at least some staff at the school were aware of multiple written accounts of students who alleged that there had been repeated incidents of rape or simulated rape of young boys in the boarding house by the use of a wooden dildo and other implements,” he said.

“Yet no notification of the detail of these incidents was given to the NSW Police or the Department of Community Services.”

CLA’s father broke down before the enquiry describing how his son was tied up and raped “at least 50 times” by two wooden dildos nicknamed Excalibur and Anaconda made in woodwork class.

“We had no idea of the nature of the assault – that it was actually rape,” said the father, explaining how they were not told of the details of their son’s assault by the school, and instead read them in a police transcript.

He said he believes that Trinity staff “had no idea how to deal with an incident of this magnitude” and “tried to bury it”, failing to expel the students when he requested they do so, and the headmaster even suggesting CLA live with him on campus as a solution.

“I feel like the school leadership was only interested in protecting the school,” he said.

Source: ABC / The Australian.


If you or someone you know has experienced abuse, or if you would like to speak to a trained counsellor, please contact the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or the National Child Abuse Helpline on 1800 99 10 99.