Former Geelong Grammar Music Chief Abused Girl after Giving Evidence at Sex Abuse Commission

By Erin Pearson
The Age
August 2, 2019

A former head of music at Geelong Grammar and Order of Australia recipient has been jailed after admitting to sexually abusing a young girl in 2017 and 2018.

Eminent musician and composer Malcolm John will spend his 85th birthday in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of sexual abuse of the eight-year-old girl.

Former Geelong Grammar head of music and Order of Australia recipient Malcolm John has been jailed for sexually abusing a child.

The girl used a mobile phone to record some of the abuse before showing her mother in 2018, who reported the matter to police.

John, the music head at the elite private school for 23 years, admitted in the Geelong County Court he had behaved inappropriately with the child for several years before the charges.

The girl later told police she was unable to count the number of times the behaviour had occurred.

John continued to abuse the girl before and after giving evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses Child Sexual Abuse when he was called to give information about another teacher suspected of being a paedophile.

Justice Gerard Mullaly described John’s crimes as “deplorable” and “heinous”, ordering he serve 11 months behind bars effective immediately.

He said the offending had deeply traumatised the young girl and torn apart her family.

Justice Mullaly noted the case was unusual because most elderly sex abuse offenders were facing charges over crimes committed "decades before".

That John's abuse continued after his appearance at the sex abuse royal commission was "most concerning".

“Sexual abuse of young children is heinous offending striking at the heart of what is considered a decent society,” he said.

“Those who enter the dark realm of sexual abuse of children attack important social values.

“You committed grave crimes and there must be consequences.”

Crown prosecutor Jessica Fallar told the court John disguised his predatory behaviour as a secret game, which had a “devastating impact” on the victim.

“The video speaks for itself. It shows a very real manifesting of [John’s] growing sexual desire,” Ms Fallar said.

In her victim impact statement, the child’s mother revealed the life-changing toll the abuse had taken on her family.

In April 2018 she was admitted to her local hospital’s emergency department after suffering panic attacks, but told the court: “there was nothing they could do because it was my heart breaking”.

John had previously enjoyed an illustrious music career spanning decades and subsequently was awarded an OAM for his services to the community.

Justice Mullaly questioned whether John was "devoid of insight" into the harm he'd caused and ordered he be placed on the sex offenders register.

John was also sentenced to a 24-month community corrections order to be completed on his release from jail.








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