Alleged sexual abuse at Tasmanian school

A former boarder is suing a Launceston school over alleged sexual abuse in the 1960s and '70s.
A former boarder is suing a Launceston school over alleged sexual abuse in the 1960s and '70s.

A former boarding student is suing a Tasmanian private school where he was allegedly sexually abused by fellow students more than 50 years ago.

The man, who attended Launceston Church Grammar in the state's north in the 1960s and '70s, claims the then-boarding school master did nothing after he reported the abuse to him.

An older boarding student sexually abused and raped the complainant at night in the dormitory on numerous occasions over six to 12 months, it is alleged.

In documents lodged with the Supreme Court of Tasmania in Hobart, the man claims boarding students sexually abused him with a stick up to 13 times on the weekend and at the school.

The man says he told the boarding school master that he had been sexually abused.

The master took "no steps in response to what the (man) told him about his sexual abuse", the court writ alleges, and the complainant "continued to be abused".

The man alleges he was pushed and surrounded by five boarding students in the shower and forced to masturbate as they watched.

He was also allegedly punched, restrained, grabbed by the genitals, spat on and threatened with sexual and physical violence.

He is seeking damages, interest and costs, saying he has suffered major depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

It is claimed the school owed the man a duty to protect him from the risk of physical, sexual and emotional abuse while he was a student and boarder.

"The physical, sexual and emotional abuse and the (man's) injuries were caused by breaches of duty of care," the court writ reads.

It is alleged the school failed to take steps, or adequate steps, to respond to the man's complaint about the abuse at the hands of other students.

It also failed to initiate and maintain any, or any adequate, system to protect him, the document claims.

It further alleged the school didn't train, or adequately train, teachers about the risks of children being abused and that the school didn't adequately supervise the complainant or other students.

In a statement, Launceston Church Grammar School apologised wholeheartedly to any alumni who have been sexually abused while in the care of the school.

"Child sexual abuse is an abhorrent crime and the school takes all matters of alleged sexual abuse very seriously," a spokesman said.

"Recently, the school received a Supreme Court writ issued from a former student enrolled during the 1960s claiming damages for sexual abuse by other students.

"The safety and protection of all students is our highest priority.

"The school is currently working through the process to be externally accredited as an Australian Childhood Foundation Safeguarding Children School early in 2022."

Australian Associated Press