Teacher sues school over relationship with ex-student

Anderson and Martin

A teacher sacked after entering into a relationship with a former student is suing the Victorian Catholic school for discrimination, reports The Herald-Sun.

John Martin, 58, claims Padua College on the Mornington Peninsula was wrong to end his 17 years of teaching at the school over the nature of his relationship with a now 20-year-old former student.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal yesterday heard that the school launched an investigation into Mr Martin’s conduct after another teacher raised concerns about him meeting Samantha Anderson at an external gym.

Ms Anderson was in year 12 at the school’s Mornington campus at the time.

But Mr Martin, a technology teacher at the Rosebud campus, who also helped students at another gym at the school, claims the pair’s interactions weren’t out of the ordinary and Ms Anderson’s parents were aware of the meetings outside of school.

He told VCAT that he was astounded when the school’s principal, Christopher Houlihan, confronted him with the claims in October 2012. 

Mr Martin said the pair did form a relationship — on December 27, 2012 — but it didn’t become sexual until she was almost 19 years old.

Mr Martin’s lawyers claim the Catholic school discriminated against him by factoring lawful sexual activity with the young woman into its decision to sack him on June 5 last year, even though that didn’t occur until after she graduated.

Dr Ian Freckelton, QC, representing the school, said the sexual activity had not unduly influenced the school’s decision for the dismissal.

FULL STORY Teacher sues Padua College for sacking him over relationship with ex-student (The Herald-Sun)

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