A Canberra academic has lost his fight to keep teaching students, after a past conviction for abusing several children when he was a school teacher came to light.
- Academic failed a working with vulnerable people check last year
- Check revealed he abused several students in the 1980s
- He claimed he had now found religion and had written testimonials from students he had since tutored
The man, whose identity is protected, told the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) he had worked as a tutor and lecturer at the Australian National University (ANU) for several years, but was asked to undergo a working with vulnerable people check at the start of 2017.
The check uncovered that in the 1980s the man, who was then employed as a school teacher in Western Australia, had abused several female students under the age of 14.
As part of the check the academic declared, “I am in the process of applying to the WA Police and/or WA Australian District Court [sic.] to have a 37-year-old conviction spent.”
“I was a school teacher and pleaded guilty to charges against minors.”
According to the tribunal, which finalised the man’s case this week, he was convicted of sexual assault and indecent dealing against 10 girls.
In the ACAT, the man provided evidence that he had found religion, and provided written testimonials from students he had tutored in the past.
“A number of these testimonials only refer to the author’s experience of the applicant’s teaching,” ACAT senior member Mary Brennan said.
“They did not demonstrate that the writer had any knowledge of the applicant’s prior convictions involving children.”
The man claimed he committed the offences during a psychological breakdown and was subject to a psychiatric evaluation as part of the tribunal’s review.
The tribunal confirmed the decision to deny the academic a working with vulnerable people certification.
University unable to locate tutor’s records
A spokeswoman for the ANU said the university was unable to provide details of the man’s employment, because his name had been suppressed.
“The Australian National University has not had any reports in relation to this matter and based on the information provided cannot verify the claim that this person has been employed by ANU,” she said.
“The university prioritises the safety and protection of students, staff and members of our community above all else.
“We would never knowingly engage, directly or indirectly, anyone who poses a risk to children of any kind, nor support any university activity that endangers children or fails to comply with our standards.
“The university responds immediately to any allegation of misconduct, in accordance with its procedures.”