Geelong Grammar staff ‘knew about abuse’

Senior staff at the prestigious Geelong Grammar School knew about allegations of students being sexually abused, a royal commission has heard.

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A number of former teachers have been convicted of child sex abuse committed against a significant number of pupils at the school, counsel assisting the child abuse royal commission David Lloyd said.

The abuse occurred from the late 1950s until 2007, Mr Lloyd said on Tuesday.

The commission will hear from a number of former students who were subjected to serious and in some cases repeated sexual abuse.

“It is anticipated that there will be evidence that employees at Geelong Grammar, including very senior staff, knew about a number of allegations of sexual abuse at the school at or around the time the abuse was occurring,” Mr Lloyd said.

The commission’s two-week public hearing will focus on five convicted offenders, one of whom will give evidence.

One abuse victim, BKO, was told he might be expelled after reporting that Reverend John Davison fondled him in 1971.

“BKO will also give evidence that he was told that if he wrote a letter to the media, he would be expelled,” Mr Lloyd said.

The mother of a victim worked at Geelong Grammar’s pre-school in the 1970s and 1980s and felt her job could be at risk if she said anything further about her son’s complaints.

Sydney psychiatrist Dr Robert Llewellyn-Jones will give evidence that he was subjected to and witnessed a range of sexual and physical abuse while a boarder at Geelong Grammar in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Mr Lloyd said Dr Llewellyn-Jones would give evidence about extensive bullying he suffered, and that the school was aware.

“Dr Llewellyn-Jones did not report his abuse or the bullying because of a ‘code of silence’ which formed part of the school culture,” Mr Lloyd said.