Cath Education boss admits policies failed to protect students

Policies failed

A director of Catholic Education said on Friday that a systemic failure of child safety policies allowed a paedophile teacher to abuse students at a Queensland school over a two-year period, reports the ABC.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is sitting in Brisbane to hear evidence about how teacher Gerard Vincent Byrnes continued to molest students at a Catholic school in Toowoomba for more than a year after the allegations were first made.

Byrnes, the school's child protection contact, molested 13 female students aged between nine and 10 at the school in 2007 and 2008.

Toowoomba's director of Catholic Education, John Borserio, agreed on Friday with the assertion by counsel assisting Gail Furness that child safety policies in place at the time completely failed.

'Do you accept that the conduct of Byrnes, and the resultant dealing with the allegations that were made, indicates that there was a wholesale systemic failure within that school, which included a failure in respect of training. Do you accept that?' Ms Furness asked him.

He replied: 'Given that sad chapter in the school’s life, I can only accept that.' 

Mr Borserio said child-safety processes were later improved as a result of research that was carried out internally. '

We would have based the work that we're doing on data or information from other sources,' he said.

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