Trinity College Former Principal "Stunned" by Alleged Sex Assault of Student on Rugby Tour
By Rebecca Turner
March 25, 2020
|PHOTO: Trinity College is an all-boys school located on the Swan River foreshore in East Perth. (Supplied: Saint Lucy)|
WARNING: this story contains graphic content that some readers may find upsetting
The former principal of a prestigious Perth Catholic school was "stunned" to hear allegations that one of his students had been sexually assaulted with a carrot by some teammates while on a rugby tour to Japan almost three years ago, a Perth court has been told.
Ivan Banks, who was principal of Trinity College for almost 11 years, was giving evidence on the second day of the trial of two former Trinity teachers who have been charged under mandatory reporting laws.
Ian Francis Hailes and Anthony Paul Webb have both pleaded not guilty to failing to report an incident of child sexual abuse.
They are the only people to be charged as a result of the alleged incident at a Japanese hotel on the outskirts of Tokyo in April 2017.
|PHOTO: Anthony Paul Webb has pleaded not guilty to failing to report an incident of child sexual abuse. (ABC News: Hugh Sando)|
Mr Banks told the Perth Magistrates Court that he first learned of the alleged incident in September that year, while he was in an acting principal role at a Catholic high school in Broome.
"I was stunned that it had happened," he told the court.
"I had never heard of it happening before."
Victim's parents not notified of allegations for five days
The court heard how Mr Banks was told about the alleged assault by the acting principal in his absence, Peter Norman, who kept him updated with daily emails and phone calls about how the incident was being handled.
Mr Norman told the court that he sought advice from the school's two governing bodies Catholic Education WA and Edmund Rice Education Australia, which oversees Christian Brothers schools throughout Australia soon after he learned of "rumours" of the alleged incident.
It was five days before the parents of the alleged victim whose identity has been suppressed and is known as AB were notified.
|PHOTO: Ian Francis Hailes and another former teacher have denied a charge of failing to report an incident of child sexual abuse. (ABC News: Hugh Sando)|
Mr Norman also told the court that AB's mother had given him examples of the bullying her son had suffered on the tour, including vision of him being whipped with a belt as he slept that was posted online.
He said Trinity had recognised it needed to change the culture of bullying in the rugby club by cancelling rugby tours for two years and investigating cyber-bullying.
Mr Banks resigned from Trinity in mid2018 and now works for the School Curriculum and Standards Authority, an independent statutory authority which reports to the WA Education Minister.
Mr Norman left Trinity at the end of last year and is now head of the senior school at Wesley College, a Uniting Church private school.
The trial before Magistrate Evan Shackleton continues.