Teacher denies lewd acts with young student

A FORMER Toowoomba secondary school teacher accused of indecent acts with one of his students has pleaded not guilty to five counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16.

The Crown claims John George Murdoch had developed a friendship with the then Year 8 or 9 boy through their mutual love of sports in 1993/94.

Opening the prosecution case, Crown prosecutor Jessica Goldie told the court the pair had initially bonded with the lad's mother believing it to be an older brother or role model relationship, but over time the relationship had become "sexual and indecent".

Though the now 35-year-old complainant couldn't put specific dates on incidents, he believed it was toward the end of 1993 and early 1994 that a number of incidents took place when he was about 12 or 13, she said.

The first incident occurred at the teacher's home when he had allegedly played a pornographic movie while the lad sat on the lounge and, while the movie depicting a man and woman having sex was playing, the accused had allegedly performed a sexual act on himself.

Other allegations included Murdoch trying to get the lad to run around a Toowoomba oval naked, but when the boy declined he had stripped off and run around the oval in front of the boy.

On a later occasion when he dared the boy to run around another oval naked, the lad had accepted the challenge but noticed the teacher taking photographs of him as he ran naked, Ms Goldie said.

Eventually when the young boy told him enough was enough, Murdoch had allegedly threatened to spread rumours about him and his mother should he tell anyone and also threatened to kill himself, she said.

After he was injured in a car crash in May 1994, the lad and his mother had visited Murdoch in hospital when it was alleged he had told them he had destroyed the nude photograph of the lad.

When Murdoch returned to school, the boy had complained to a school official about the incidents and Murdoch had been spoken to after which he resigned.

Ms Goldie told the jury it would hear evidence from the investigating police officer during the trial that explained why the complaint hadn't been put to police until 2013.

For much of the first day of the trial the court was closed to the public while the complainant gave evidence.

The trial before Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC continues.


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