College facing multiple sex abuse lawsuits
Sydney's prestigious Waverley College is facing multiple lawsuits with claims that some Catholic priests and Christian brothers sexually molested scores of students over four decades.
A former student, now lawyer, Jason Parkinson has put the call out in newspaper advertisements for former students to contact him if they believe they were victims of sexual abuse at the hands of the men.
Mr Parkinson of Porters Lawyers said he has been contacted by students who allege they were abused by Brother Patrick John Skehan, known as "Beanie'', who died in 1988, and Brother David Donatus Kinsella, who died in 1992.
"And there are more names to come, I am hearing stories from former pupils about others,'' he said.
Mr Parkinson is also calling for people who know anything about Father John Sydney Denham, who has been convicted of sexual abuse of students at other schools, to come forward.
Porters Lawyers, who act for clients across Australia who are suing the Australian Catholic Church, placed an advertisement two months ago naming one convicted abuser, Brother Skehan, who was at the college while Mr Parkinson was there in the 1970s but never taught him.
He recently placed new advertisements calling for more people to come forward.
"There have been people contacting me who were at the school at the same time in other years below and above me," he said.
While he usually acts for victims from schools he has not attended, Mr Parkinson admitted dealing with allegations against his former school made it personal.
"It's disturbing to know this was happening when I was at the school. The pain and suffering these Old Boys suffered and continue to suffer makes you seriously question the education and treatment we received, as well as the values we were taught.''
As well as former students, Mr Parkinson said his firm would like to speak to former boarders, teachers or parents from the 1960s through to 1990s.
"There will be people who will have evidence that will assist our clients in their claims to get compensation for what they endured,'' he said.
Waverley College said they would encourage anyone who may have been abused to contact police.
"Waverley College abhors abuse of any kind and fully supports the police and justice system in its work. Every child has the right to feel safe and should be free to trust those who are in positions of care and leadership around them. For this to not happen is deplorable,'' a spokesman for the college said on Thursday.
"In the time period in question, the school was under previous administration, the Trustees of the Christian Brothers, as distinct from the school's current administration, Edmund Rice Education Australia. The Christian Brothers ceased administration of the College in 2007."
"Waverley College encourages any complainant or victim to immediately report the matter to NSW Police as the police must investigate any criminal allegations."
*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.
Originally published as Waverley College facing multiple sex abuse lawsuits