Trinity, Marist Brothers reps: Children ‘safe in our care’
SICKENING violations of trust like the ones carried out by former St Joseph's principal John "Kostka" Chute and former St Carthage's Primary School teacher Gregory Sutton will never happen again, Lismore Trinity Catholic College and Marist Brothers representatives have said.
Details of the ongoing and systematic sexual abuse of school children by Brother Chute and former Br Sutton at schools across NSW, Queensland and the ACT are being heard at the child abuse Royal Commission in Canberra this week.
Trinity Catholic College principal Br John Hilet said a wide and thorough range of measures and processes were in place to ensure history did not repeat itself.
These measures, which were enforced in schools across the state, included the screening of all teachers, employees and visitors, registration requirements for teachers and criminal history checks for all staff and volunteers in the school as well as mandatory reporting.
"At the start of every year I spend quite a long amount of time literally taking the entire staff - and that's every member of staff from teachers to cleaners to gardeners to admin staff - making abundantly clear that we all have a collective responsibility for the safety of the young people in our care," Br Hilet said.
"I also indicate there's requirements under mandatory reporting law to report to me any suspicions they might have in relation to behaviour towards young people at the school and I also outline the processes in terms of how any allegations would be investigated.
"I can assure you that if an allegation was ever made against any member of staff here, that person would be stood down immediately."
Marist Brothers deputy provincial and former Trinity principal Br Peter Carroll said much had been learnt in the past 20 years.
"Over these last couple of days … we heard some tragic stories of abuse and suffering by victims," he said.
"The Marist Brothers are truly sorry that that happened and that their inaction led to further distress.
"And as much as it's no comfort really to victims past, a lot has been learnt and we believe the situation now is much better, that young people in our schools and institutions are as safe as they are anywhere.
"We are committed to dealing with any victims compassionately and fairly."