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



Students foster bush tucker label

GOOD TUCKER: Some of the team behind the Aurora Jahla food label, Elle Tavalli, Tillara Williams,  Maggie Williams, Tom Hanson and Preston Campbell.

Banora Point High students create new bush tucker label

Misty mornings strike eerie chord

MYSTICAL: Misty morning shot over Clarrie Hall Dam.

Behind the Lens with Tweed photographer Ryan Fowler

Tweed teen targets Tokyo

LOADED UP: Rachel Loder after her title win.

Tweed teen wins national boxing title

Local Partners

Students foster bush tucker label

FORMER NRL legend Preston Campbell gives the thumbs up to Banora Point High indigenous students for creating a new bush tucker food label.


Kernaghan's a 'boy from the bush' with a timeless quality

Country music singer Lee Kernaghan.

Lee Kernaghan is celebrating the 25th year of his breakthrough song.

Man builds playground entirely out of packing tape

Artist Eric Lennartson is in the process of completing his huge tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery.

VIDEO:And here's where you can play on it.

Cooly sings out for carols

Santa gets ready to skydive into the Coolangatta Christmas Carols on Sunday, December 13. Photo: Scott Powick Daily News

Santa dropping in for Christmas Carols at Coolangatta

Kernaghan's a 'boy from the bush' with a timeless quality

Country music singer Lee Kernaghan.

Lee Kernaghan is celebrating the 25th year of his breakthrough song.

Irina Shayk and Bradley Cooper happy as baby looms

Irina Shayk and Bradley Cooper are in an "extremely happy place"

Brad Pitt bids to keep custody battle private

Brad Pitt will go to court to keep his custody battle private

Sia has split from her husband

Sia has split from her husband Erik Anders Lang.

Amy Schumer thanks Barbie trolls for hateful comments

Amy Schumer is in the lead role for the new Barbie movie

Shannen Doherty's husband is suing for destroyed sex life

Shannen Doherty's husband is suing her former manager

Horse haven on big acreage in Murwillumbah

55 Glencoe Road, Murwillumbah

Check out this week's feature property.

INSIDE STORY: The highlights of your $150 million CBD

GRAND PLAN: The highlights of the Ipswich CBD redevelopment and where they will be located.

Work on city heart's radical transformation to begin next year

VOTE IN OUR POLL: Sand mine opponents face serious dilemma

Public meeting for the proposed sand mine at Maroochydore last week.

Coast MP calls on Minister to stop KRA proposal with stroke of a pen

Developer's grand new multi-million dollar estate

NEW ESTATE: This is the only plan revealed by the property developer's new Billabongs Estate in Agnes Water.

DEVELOPER given the go ahead for a massive estate with 149 homes.

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!