Abuse barriers begin to tumble

A lawyer representing former students at Sydney’s prestigious Knox Grammar School says evidence of abuse given at the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse has prompted other victims from other private schools to come forward.

Former Knox students gave harrowing evidence this week at the royal commission of being molested by their teachers, some of whom were allowed to stay at the school for years.

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Lawyer Ross Koffel, a former Knox student himself who now represents a number of former students who were abused, said the revelations at the commission had encouraged even more victims of abuse to speak out.

“Quite a number of people have come forward, particularly seeing their classmates giving evidence,” Mr Koffel said.

“They’ve been encouraged to come forward because they felt they’re not alone.

“And that’s caused them to say something now when they’ve never said anything in all these years.”

Mr Koffel would not disclose the number of new victims who had come forward but he said other schools would also likely be implicated in abuse allegations.

“I can say quite a number and can I say that the royal commission has also caused boys in other schools to also come forward, because they realise that it occurred in other schools,” Mr Koffel said.

“So we’ve got claims from other schools at the same time.

“We’re talking about private schools in Sydney. I’m not at liberty to say what they are, but they’re well-known schools, no different to Knox Grammar School.”

Former principal should face charges: victims support group

A victims’ support group said a former headmaster at Knox should face criminal charges.

Dr Ian Paterson this week made a startling admission to the commission that he misled police to deliberately hinder their investigation, but recanted that statement in the witness box yesterday.

“I mean, he’s accountable,” Adults Surviving Child Abuse spokeswoman Cathy Kezelman said.

“He’s arguably as accountable as the perpetrator in that, had he not lied to police then, people would’ve been brought to justice much sooner and children would have been protected,” Ms Kezelman said.

The commission can decide whether to recommend to the Director of Public Prosecutions that charges be laid.

“They may recommend or they may not,” Mr Koffel said.

“It depends on what they say and it may relate to Dr Paterson.

“It may relate to the teachers who have already been named and/or other teachers.”

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