On Thursday 22nd January 2015 The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse announced that it would hold a public inquiry into the response by Knox Grammar School and the Uniting Church in Australia due to concerns raised about instances of child sexual abuse at the school in the past.
Knox Grammar School has suffered from multiple counts of child sexual abuse between the 1970’s and 2012. The school was the focus of Strike Force Arika which arrested five people from the school including Damien Piers Vance, Adrian John Nisbett, Barrie Tiffin Stewart and Craig Treloar.
Treloar pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault and one of inciting a boy to an act of indecency between 1984 and 1987, plus he also admitted to two other child sexual offences and possessing child pornography. Treloar was jailed in 2010 for a minimum of two years.
Vance pleaded guilty to inciting a 14-year old student into an act of indecency when he lured the boy into the Q Store under the chapel in 1987.
Stewart, who taught with Treloar was charged with indecently assaulting former students of the prestigious school.
Nisbett was the Knox Boarding Housemaster in the 1970’s and 1980’s was given a suspended sentence for indecently assaulting three students. Judge Anthony Garling commented at the time of Nisbett’s sentence “it was his [Nisbetts] duty to ensure that these boys were safe and protected [but] he betrayed that trust and quite clearly did it for his own sexual gratification.”
In December 2009 Knox Grammar and the Uniting Church said; “The Uniting Church and Knox Grammar School are sincerely sorry and unreservedly apologise for the abuse of these students while they attended the school.”
Understandably, Knox Grammar School has tried vigorously to put these episodes behind them and in a statement this week John Weeks (headmaster) said “These matters were well publicised in 2009. The School has always accepted its responsibility and sought to support firstly the Police enquiries and, most importantly, any former students who were identified as having been sexually abused.”
The Public Inquiry will commence on February 23rd.