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Sex abuse: Prestigious NSW boy’s schools hit with 1500 lawsuits

Daily Telegraph – 31/01/17

SOME of the most prestigious boys’ schools in NSW face multimillion-dollar lawsuits alleging systemic sexual abuse on an “outrageous” scale.
Lawyer Jason Parkinson has more than 1500 cases against such schools as Trinity Grammar, Knox Grammar, St Patrick’s at Goulburn, Newington College and De La Salle colleges at Revesby Heights and Marrickville.
Mr Parkinson said the scale of litigation was similar to the flood of cases following the revelation of the dangers of asbestos in the 1970s and ’80s.
“There has not been a common thread of criminality or negligence that has affected more Australians than child abuse and it is more egregious than asbestos because these institutions’ reason for being was caring for children,” Mr Parkinson said yesterday.
“There are schools and organisations like the Scouts where abuse was happening on an outrageous scale.”
He said state schools were the cleanest institutions because mandatory reporting of sex abuse was implemented more than 20 years ago, while prestigious schools tried to keep abuses quiet.
Parents who struggled to give their children the best in life had been dealt a cruel blow, Mr Parkinson said.
“One of the cruellest things to realise is that mothers took second jobs to pay for the school fees to find out 30 years later that the teachers or the Catholic brothers were molesting their children and these families were paying for it,” he said. “Now their children are paying for it.”
Other law firms have multiple claims for damages against the same schools and others, including The Scots College and Waverley College.
The sex abuse royal commission laid bare the truth of the abuse that schools tried to hide to protect reputations.
About 85 per cent of the victims were boys at the time.
“It’s costing the taxpayer a fortune in Medicare costs,” Mr Parkinson said.
“These men are going to see psychologists and psychiatrists for help because they were never able to tell their doctors of their abuse when it occurred because they feared they would not be believed.”
Many cases are now being settled at the door of the court.
Last November, the Catholic Church reached a confidential settlement with two sisters sexually abused decades ago by paedophile Father Denis McAlinden in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese.
The terms of the settlement were sealed by the court, only to be opened by a judge.
McAlinden died without ever being charged


Courtesy of News Corporation, The Daily Telegraph, 2017

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