Elite Sydney private schools face sexual abuse suits

By Jacob Saulwick

Updated April 6, 2016 — 11.19amfirst published at 7.04am


The royal commission into child sexual abuse has triggered a fresh wave of litigation against Sydney private and Catholic schools.

Sydney lawyer Ross Koffel says he has filed 10 claims on behalf of abuse victims against elite schools, including De La Salle College Revesby Heights, Knox Grammar School, The Scots College and the previous administrators of Waverley College, and more are in the works.

Prestigious private schools around Australia are facing multimillion dollar lawsuits from alleged victims of sexual abuse. Vision courtesy ABC News 24.


Mr Koffel said he been contacted by multiple former students across Sydney before and after representing former Knox students at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse last year.

“It just seemed to me to be the same problem in school after school after school, and yes the surprise to us was how many schools, how many students are affected,” Mr Koffel told the ABC’s7.30 program.

Sydney lawyer Ross Koffel has filed 10 claims on behalf of abuse victims against elite schools.CREDIT:ABC 7.30

Mr Koffel said he had been particularly affected by the abuse at Knox, where he studied.

“I had a recollection of the places, the rooms, the school, the playgrounds where it occurred,” he said.

“I knew a lot of the teachers by name, and I was just completely floored.”

One of Mr Koffel’s clients, Adrian Coorie, is suing De La Salle College for damages.

Former De La Salle College Revesby Heights student Adrian Coorie is suing his old school over his alleged sexual abuseCREDIT:ABC 7.30

Mr Coorie alleges the school knew, or ought to have known, that a former teacher, Errol Swayne, was a habitual sexual abuser of boys and failed to ensure Mr Coorie’s safety as a student.

Mr Coorie was encouraged to make the claim after telling the royal commission of the assaults he allegedly suffered at the hands of Mr Swayne, who lived on a caravan on the school grounds.

“Sometimes you can think that you are the only person that something has happened to but that’s not the case,” Mr Coorie told 7.30.

“And that’s where that was confirmed that other people had already been there and spoken to the royal commission about the same person, so that was a bit of an eye-opener too,” he said.

Mr Swayne, who has since killed himself, allegedly showed Mr Coorie pornographic films in the caravan on weekends, and molested him in his office during school hours.

Mr Koffel told Fairfax Media his clients were seeking damages ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to claims in the millions.

“That in each case varies but it is made up of past medical expenses, past economic loss, future economic loss – it’s a complicated formula,” he said.

“There’s obviously a systemic problem amongst all of these schools and one hopes that taking these actions, our clients who are the victims not only will be compensated but will get apologies from various institutions and recognition that the school has done the wrong thing by them,” he said.

“The outcome hopefully is that each school will have better procedures in the future so it will never happen again.”

Mr Koffel said three of the cases were against Scots, in relation to the school’s former maths department head John Joseph Beckett, who has already been convicted of the assaults.

The claim against the school is that it did not protect students from teachers.

“They had a responsibility to look after their teachers and we say that the school is liable for the actions of their teachers,” Mr Koffel said.

In a statement to the ABC, the Presbyterian Church of Australia on behalf of Scots College said it did not want to make any statement that may impinge on the court process.

“We support those who have come forward to tell their story of what happened to them and we respect their courage in doing so,” the statement said.

A Knox Grammar spokesman told the ABC he was unable to comment while the claims were before the court.

A spokeswoman for Waverley College said the school was aware of a claim in the Supreme Court regarding an accusation of abuse.

“This claim has been filed against the Trustees of the Christian Brothers, the previous administrators of the school, as distinct from the school’s current administration,” the spokesman said.

“The Christian Brothers ceased administration of the College in 2007 and as such we have no records of the alleged events. Waverley College has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind,” she said.

The action against De La Salle College, Revesby Heights, is against De La Salle Brothers, which had governance of the school at the time.

A spokeswoman for De La Salle Brothers Australia said she could not comment on matters before the courts. 

“More broadly the De La Salle Brothers are committed to working compassionately and cooperatively with complainants in the civil process,” the spokeswoman said. 

Separately, the royal commission said in November it wanted to hear from former students from either The King’s School or Tudor House Preparatory School with information about abuse.

❏ Support is available by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732; Men’s Referral Service 1300 766 491.

RETRIEVED https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/elite-sydney-private-schools-face-sexual-abuse-suits-20160406-gnzbam.html

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The plot thickens …

Having re-watched a favourite TV Series (Da Vinci Demons), attention was drawn to something that’s now screaming out louder and loader. Despite the appalling deception, tomfoolery & murders committed in the times of Leonardo Da Vinci (15th Cen.) in this staged re-enactment, the common powers possessed by the Catholic Church was always taken for granted. Social dynamics included a default framework of the church’s primary inclusion in the basic ecosystem. Australia’s recent mis-focus on Captain Cook, ahead of Captain Flinders & Bungaree. Each summarises how History has been remembered, not genuinely proven.

Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse had been the Initial national confrontation, followed by numerous other global countries addressing this common issue. Catholic Vatican’s Pope (Francis) has at least begun publicly addressing this issue, after Millenia of denials-hiding evidence-moving wrongdoers & almost a century of rewritten Papal Orders advocating sins being hidden. As mammoth an issue this is, what’s becoming apparent is the immensity of addressing it. The lives of these children is paramount, as is the resulting residual impacts these Sexual Abuses has had. Postings such as these help share some of these factual truths.

As numerous bodies of Surviving Victims, Medical, Commercial & Community bodies provide help, News reports in the Journalism of individual to broad scale cases & each country offering their own nuances of interpreting & reacting to these ordeals – the immensity of this understanding also risks being ‘swept under the carpet‘ as CSA had been, to grow to what it had. Together, we need to openly address this publicly, openly, transparently & suitably as possible. Groups such as this RoyalCommBBC are only getting started on our mission & via your simply sharing these posts about your contacts – another Survivour may remember things & get suitable help, pictures may remind a family of an unsolved mystery or News of someone being caught out for inappropriate behaviour triggers off flashbacks leading to arrest. We hope this helps out open up our lives.

Planning for the Silly Season

Planning for the #SillySeason, with Medication & having an Action Plan are v helpful: prepare early! #MentalHealth #abcnews

Delays in Institutions run similar to Facebook tactics

Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis” is what a New York Times Article is titled, followed by the overplayed icon photograph:

Facebook has gone on the attack as one scandal after another — Russian meddling, data sharing, hate speech — has led to a congressional and consumer backlash.CreditCreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/14/technology/facebook-data-russia-election-racism.html

Having paid significant attention to moments that FB-Facebook has appeared on Australia’s ABC, I recognised similarities between one monolith & that of church Institutions in Australia. National Redress Scheme is applicable to any Child Abuse Survivour, yet hearing of deaths before Compensation &/or Redress is made seems to reignite the fire.

The long, painful wait for abuse survivors to see redress

Please read through the linked Article above: “The long, painful wait …” to read information such as the following:

“These figures confirm what we have known; there is huge inequity between the Catholic Church’s wealth and their responses to survivors,” said Helen Last, chief executive of the In Good Faith Foundation, which supports abuse survivors.

“The 600 survivors registered for our foundation’s services continue to experience minimal compensation and lack of comprehensive care in relation to their church abuses. They say their needs are the lowest of church priorities.”

Healy said the church’s meeting the claims of survivors whose complaints of abuse were upheld was “amongst its highest priorities”. He said that since that report the church had paid an extra $17.2 million to survivors.

The Age’s investigation also calls into question the privileges the church enjoys, including exemptions from nearly all forms of taxation and billions of dollars in government funding each year to run services – $7.9 billion for its Australian schools alone in 2015.

It involved obtaining property valuations from 36 Victorian councils, including most of the Melbourne metropolitan area, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo, many under freedom of information.

It identified more than 1860 church-owned properties with “capital improved value” (land plus buildings) of just under $7 billion.

SOURCES: https://www.theage.com.au/interactive/2018/catholic-inc-what-the-church-is-really-worth/

https://newviralstory.com/the-long-painful-wait-for-abuse-survivors-to-see-redress/

Comparison: Cannes and BBC

The powerful speech @AsiaArgento during the closing ceremony of Cannes. “I was raped here in 1997 by Harvey Weinstein.” Going on to describe Cannes as HW’s hunting ground; many BBC past Students & their Families will remember how BBC was remembered as a ‘hunting ground’. Even the term “hunting ground” can be remembered in some of BBC’s (un-admitted) Offenders of the 1990’s. Perhaps this why any public announcements correlate with a psychological effect, that’s been hidden to some level. Even decades and decades after the events happened, any reminders of them may trigger some reaction(s).

This is where LivingWell have provided their resources, suitable to these male Survivours and their Families. “We all benefit from maps of life’s territories. We do not live our lives in straight lines” is from the Indigenous themed clip ‘No Straight Lines’.

CSA and gradual unearthing!

It is with bewilderment that some Survivors of CSA bring forward their stories and certain ‘foundations of society’ do not show any compassion, only displaying defence. Throughout the current Royal Commission in Australia, I have experienced challenges and legal threats, for somethings included in my own “Coping Mechanisms”.

From the growing multitude of evidence, witnesses and cited Institutions – Australia is truly `leading the way’ amongst our world’s countries. This is truly a much-needed change, away from a long-term culture of “Hidden Secrets”.