Xavier College grapples with historical sex abuse claims

Brisbane Times

January 26, 2020

By Samantha Hutchinson

Xavier College is grappling with the challenge of marking the death of a former principal who died suddenly in December after being named in relation to child sex abuse allegations on a controversial website run by old boys.

The prestigious Catholic boys school in Kew, which counts former Labor leader Bill Shorten and former archbishop of Melbourne Denis Hart among its alumni, is understood to be preparing an obituary for the former principal Philip Wallbridge, which will be circulated in the first newsletter of the year.

Mr Wallbridge, who resigned as principal in 1993 and went on to run the AFL’s SportsReady program for more than a decade, died by suicide in the days before Christmas, at least 18 months after his name was published on a website of alleged sex offenders at Xavier run by former students.

The school operates under the Society of Jesus in Australia, which is better known as the Australian Jesuits, and has referred all questions on the allegations and the website to Australian Jesuits.

Australian Jesuits confirmed it had cooperated with a police investigation into Mr Wallbridge last year. The organisation handed information and documents regarding the former priest and principal to police investigators.

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