Ex-principal who ignored sexual abuse claims unfit to teach

A FORMER principal of a Toowoomba Catholic school rocked by a teacher's sexual assault of students has been found unfit to teach.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) found the former school principal, who cannot be named under Queensland law, failed to properly investigate and report allegations a teacher was engaging in sexual conduct with young students.

A written decision published on the QCAT website ruled the conduct of the principal fell well below the standard expected from someone in the profession.

The Brisbane Times website reported the tribunal found the man, who has since been dismissed from his position as principal at a Toowoomba school, received a complaint in 2007 from the parent of a Year 4 student who said their teacher had behaved inappropriately.

The principal confronted the teacher, who confessed to placing young girls in his lap and giving them lollies.

However, the teacher denied kissing any of the students or touching them through their shirt or on their thighs as has been alleged in the complaints.

The teacher, 61, was sentenced to 10 years' jail, to serve a minimum eight years, after he pleaded guilty before Toowoomba District Court in October 2010 to 10 counts of rape and 33 counts of indecent treatment of a child arising from the offences at the school in 2007 and 2008.

In all, 13 primary school-aged girls were involved.

The tribunal heard that not only did the principal fail to report the matter to police or further investigate the allegations, he obtained approval for the teacher to be re-employed on a casual basis after his retirement.

Lawyers acting for the Queensland College of Teachers told the tribunal they believed the former principal should be reprimanded for his behaviour.

However, the tribunal has asked for submissions on why the penalty should not be more severe.

No date has been set for a further hearing on the former principal's penalty.


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