Brisbane Grammar Abuse Victims Push for Tuition Fee Refund
By Leonie Mellor
March 14, 2016
|PHOTO: Brisbane Grammar School's board said the school continued to address the effects of abuse by Kevin Lynch. (ABC News)|
A group of former Brisbane Grammar School (BGS) boys sexually abused by a paedophile school counsellor are calling on the royal commission into child sexual abuse to make recommendations urging private schools to refund tuition fees.
It is an attempt to force the hand of the prestigious BGS, which has refused to pay back school fees.
The men were among many who made submissions to the royal commission last year when it was investigating the handling of complaints about counsellor Kevin Lynch, who worked at BGS during the 1970s and 80s then at St Paul's Anglican School during the 80s and 90s.
The Anglican Archdiocese of Brisbane agreed to refund school fees of victims from St Paul's, prompting BGS students to pressure their former school to do the same.
"I had felt utterly betrayed by Brisbane Grammar School, on this particular aspect," the father of one man said.
"It's my right to expect that what I pay for is what I get.
"The effect it's had on my son in particular and the consequences on relationships with his siblings with his ex-wife and his children are so great, I can't see how you can recover a person from the situation he's in at the moment.
"No matter what apologies BGS might give, no matter what psychological and psychiatric treatment they might arrange for you, I don't see the outcome will be all that good in the long term."
Mother apologised on death bed
The father told how he had worked a second job so they could afford to send their sons to BGS.
His son, who no longer works, received compensation as part of a class action taken against the school.
|PHOTO: Brisbane Grammar students were sexually abused by Kevin Lynch in the 1970s and '80s. (ABC News: Leonie Mellor)|
The victim said the abuse had ruined not only his life but had deeply affected his parents who felt enormous guilt for sending him to the school.
"I was put in the arms of a paedophile and the results of that is very apparent," he said.
"My mum felt so much guilt through the last stages of her life that she said sorry and then she died."
When contacted by the ABC, the royal commission would not comment on correspondence received.
However in its report it did not recommend providing redress to anyone who is not themselves a victim of institutional child sexual abuse
BGS issued a statement saying it would wait for the royal commission's report into the Grammar and St Pauls case study.
"We respectfully await that report and any findings available to the commission, in recognition of the established process of this inquiry," it said.
Old boys association 'needs to join cause'
Another man who was also abused by Lynch at BGS, but did not receive compensation, said he was urging the royal commission to alter its recommendations because he wanted to make the private schools where abuse occurred accountable.
"Unfortunately the only way it seems that they can be accountable is by taking money from them," he said.
|PHOTO: Students abused by Kevin Lynch at St Paul's have had their fees refunded. (ABC News)|
"In my mind, [parents] deserve their money back. Faulty product they deserve a refund."
He said he had had the same recurring nightmares since the abuse started in 1983 and no amount of alcohol, prescription or illicit drugs helped alleviate it since last year's royal commission.
His mother has also written a letter to the inquiry saying the school failed to provide a safe environment for her son.
She told how she only learnt of the abuse in 2002 after Lynch's suicide became public.
She said how the boy, who was a primary school leader and prefect at BGS, had gone on to become violent, depressed and abused drugs and alcohol.
"Things like that weren't meant to happen," she said.
"The school has to pay. They've messed up just so many lives."
She also called on the Old Boys Association to step up and put pressure on the board to refund fees.