News

Alleged 18-year spree of sexual abuse at Tweed Shire schools

A woman has claimed a Tweed teacher had abused as many as 20 children starting in the 1980s.
A woman has claimed a Tweed teacher had abused as many as 20 children starting in the 1980s.

A BANORA Point whistleblower has told a royal commission into child sexual abuse of an alleged 18-year sexual and physical abuse spree by a teacher working at three Tweed Shire primary schools, starting from the late 1980s.

Fiona Barnett said she was questioned for two hours by two commissioners and a lawyer in a Brisbane hotel room on Wednesday after submitting a 27-page report outlining accounts of abuse at Murwillumbah East Public School's Special Education Unit, Tweed Heads South Public School and Centaur Primary School.

The document included 12 signed witness statements from teachers, parents and former students, which Ms Barnett had gathered.

It also included a letter dated March 2006 from Jill Carlon, Chief Investigator for Employee Performance and Conduct of the Department of Education and Training, sent to concerned Tweed Shire parents stating that as a result of an investigation into the teacher "steps have been taken to ensure that the person will no longer be employed or involved in school, TAFE or student-related activities".

Ms Barnett said she knew of at least 20 victims of the teacher but that was likely to be the tip of the iceberg.

She told the commission, known as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, that almost immediately after the teacher began working at East Murwillumbah Primary, allegations of inappropriate behaviour began to emerge.

They include locking himself in a storeroom with female students, a colleague catching the teacher with a naked disabled female student on an excursion and the teacher insisting on toileting female students alone.

It was also claimed the teacher coached mainstream schoolboys in how to sexually assault disabled girls.

Ms Barnett said despite numerous complaints, she believed school authorities failed to act against the teacher.

The 43-year-old, who grew up at Terranora, said she began investigating the teacher and related pedophilia activity after her younger sister almost became one of his victims

She is urging others with information regarding the teacher to contact the commission and share what they know.

"If others don't come forward it is likely that there will be no further investigation," she said.

She also wanted police to reopen the investigation against the teacher.

The NSW Department of Education did not comment prior to publication.

To share your story with the commission, contact the hotline on 1800 099 340 or email registerinterest@childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au.

Topics:  child sex abuse, royal commission



Mooball plans on the moo-ve

BIG PLANS: The village of Mooball from above.

Big plans for he quaint village of Mooball have the green light

Tweed United gunning for a top-four, finals’ finish

Tweed United captain and top goal scorer Michael Kolovos and his side are hell-bent on a top-four finish in season 2016.

"Our Destiny is in our own hands."

Charges against accused Lone Wolf bikie dismissed

Mark Clinton Atta-Singh leaving Tweed Heads Local Court, cleared of all charges.

Charges against accused Lone Wolf bikie dismissed

Latest deals and offers

Superheroes of the big screen enjoy sounds of Splendour

CHRIS Hemsworth and his Avengers mates drop by Byron festival.

Dynamic pics from Splendour Day 1

The Strokes perform at Splendour in the Grass 2016. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Check out the latest pictures from Splendour in the Grass.

Bindi Irwin: 18 magic photos to mark her 18th birthday

Bindi Irwin with a python.

Photos: Bindi Irwin from babyhood to 18

Aussie director makes his mark on new Roots mini-series

Malachi Kirby as Kunta Kinte in a scene from the TV series Roots.

BRUCE Beresford behind final episode of remake of iconic series.

The Avalanches pull plug on live broadcast of Splendour set

The Avalanches are an Australian electronic music group.

RADIO listeners won't be able to tune in to the band's show tonight.

Who's got Richie's heart all aflutter?

Richie Strahan stars in season four of The Bachelor.

THE Bachelor has found his dream woman second time around.

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started