Former students are suing a church after they were molested as little girls by international cricket umpire Steven Randell.
Former students are suing a church after they were molested as little girls by international cricket umpire Steven Randell.

Women sue church over famous umpire child sex offender

FOUR ex-Marist Regional College students are suing Archbishop Julian Porteous for negligence after they were sexually abused in the 1980s by paedophile teacher and international cricket umpire Steve Randell.

The women are taking action directly against Hobart's Catholic Archbishop as the successor in title of Guilford Clyde Young, who held the position at the time.

Randell was jailed for four years in 1999 after he was found guilty of molesting nine students, and was slammed by Supreme Court judge Peter Underwood for treating the girls as his "sexual playthings".

As one of the world's leading umpires, and having stood in an Australian record of 36 Tests, 88 one-day internationals and 68 Sheffield Shield matches, Randell was about to leave for London to stand in the first England-South Africa Test when he was charged.

Randell, who married a former Miss Tasmania, had been a quasi-celebrity in the state before his fall from grace.

Former Australian cricket umpire Steve Randell leaving Tasmania Supreme Court.
Former Australian cricket umpire Steve Randell leaving Tasmania Supreme Court.

 

A picture of Steve Randell from the 1990s.
A picture of Steve Randell from the 1990s.

 

 

While sentencing, Justice Underwood said Randell likely believed his victims felt "too ashamed, embarrassed or awkward to speak out" at a time when society wasn't ready to accept the word of a child against a person in his position.

Now, according to court documents, four of Randell's victims - all in Grades 6 or 7 between 1980 and 1983 - want the Catholic Archdiocese of Hobart to answer for what happened to them.

 

 

Archbishop Julian Porteous. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN
Archbishop Julian Porteous. Picture: LUKE BOWDEN

One of the women Randell repeatedly sexually assaulted her at the Burnie school, including underneath a doona he pulled over the pair while he was reading to the class.

The woman also said he seriously sexually assaulted her in a cabin at Ulverstone's Camp Clayton and after he "ingratiated" himself with her family to get access to her bedroom.

Another woman said she was in Grade 6 in 1981 when Randell assaulted her, including at the idyllic nature reserve Fern Glade, and on one occasion after calling her to the front of the class on the pretext of discussing her work.

All four of the women say as a result of the abuse, they variously suffer from chronic post traumatic stress disorder, adjustment disorder, anxiety, depression and chronic dysthymia - continual low mood.

Steve Randell, aged 24. Picture: National Nine News
Steve Randell, aged 24. Picture: National Nine News

 

On Tuesday, Supreme Court of Tasmania Associate Justice Stephen Holt ordered the matter go to private mediation before returning to court.

He also asked the Archbishop's lawyer, Jackson Pannam, if the Catholic Church had committed to model litigant guidelines like other institutions had, meaning it would comply with the orders of the court and produce documents in a timely fashion.

In their claim, the women said the then-Archbishop allowed Randell to perform teaching and pastoral activities at Marist when he knew or should have known about the teacher's "predatory sexual disposition", placing him in a "position of power and intimacy".

They say the Archbishop owed them a duty of care, and should have encouraged students to report sexual misconduct and removed teachers with known predispositions for predatory behaviour.

The women are seeking compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, economic loss, and the costs of medical and psychological treatment, and they're also seeking exemplary damages - which are usually awarded when the court wishes to send a message denouncing a defendant's behaviour.

The matter will go to private mediation on February 2 and 3 next year before a further directions hearing to be set down after February 16.

Originally published as Ex-Marist girls sue church over paedophile teacher



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