Christchurch’s best boys’ school admits failure of historic handling of sexually abusive teacher

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Inappropriate sexual behavior by a teacher with a ‘group’ of students at an exclusive boys’ school in Christchurch was’ swept under the rug ‘and not passed on to the police.

The teacher was fired and it later emerged that he had previously sexually assaulted a number of boys in Australia – and used “unqualified” references to secure his job at Christ’s College in the 1980s.

Now, over 30 years later, the prestigious school has denounced the “regrettable” decision not to act – saying there is “no doubt” that the welfare of students will come before “its own reputational interests” if a similar situation occurs. now.

And he has pledged to immediately refer any new complaints about the sex offender to the police.

In February 2013, Lindsay William Hutchinson was convicted by a Perth jury of repeatedly sexually abusing a teenager in the 1980s.

Hutchinson, then 63, was convicted of 12 counts, including indecent assault and indecent assault with a child.

He pleaded guilty to three other counts of touching the victim between 1984 and 1985.

He was sentenced to 12 years in prison and must serve 10 years.

He is eligible for parole in 2023.

In the 1990s, he was convicted of assaulting a student in Adelaide.

The Herald can reveal that between his offense in Perth and Adelaide, he was employed as a music teacher at Christ’s College.

College spokesperson and Board Chairman Hugh Lindo spoke to the Herald about Hutchinson – and the lack of action against him.

He confirmed that Hutchinson had been employed for 18 months from 1985 to 1987.

Lindo said Hutchinson used “unqualified references” from Christ Church Grammar School in Perth and the Anglican Diocese of Perth “to secure the post.

“He was fired when (Christ’s College) became aware of inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature on his part involving a group of boys who were rowing,” Lindo said.

“The college investigated and sought legal advice.

“The result of the investigation in conjunction with this legal opinion was that there was not enough evidence to implicate the police.

“In hindsight, Hutchinson’s behavior should have been reported to the police – and the police left to determine whether there was sufficient evidence or not.”

Lindo revealed that the school was contacted by police in 1997 and passed on all information about Hutchinson.

“After contact with the Australian Police who were then investigating the allegations against Hutchinson at the time, the College provided the information it had on Hutchinson to the New Zealand Police and a statement was made by the Director at the time. where Hutchinson was employed and laid off. ”he said.

Since then, no further complaints have been received by the school regarding Hutchinson to date.

“If an old boy made a complaint against Hutchinson, we would pass it on to the police, apologize and offer our support to the survivors,” Lindo said.

When Hutchinson left Christ’s College, he received no referrals.

The Herald was contacted about Hutchinson after former Christ’s College student James Goodwin told the Royal Commission on Abuse in Care that he was sexually assaulted by older students in part of a tradition of “transport”.

The Commission learned that teachers were aware of the abusive culture when Goodwin was a boarder in 1970 – but did nothing to stop it.

Of Hutchinson, a former student said: “Christ swept him under the rug and we were horrified when the story broke in Australia 25 years later.

“The fact is that Christ never denounced him and did it very badly.”

Lindo said that following Goodwin’s testimony, he and current executive director Garth Wynne wrote to all of the alumni for whom they had contact information.

Coincidentally, prior to his role in Christchurch, Wynne was the principal of the same school in Perth where Hutchinson offended.

He was not working at this school when Hutchinson was working there.

Lindo said that following the post, a number of people came forward and mentioned Hutchison, although no new allegations were made.

“We have received a number of responses to this communication referring to Hutchinson,” said Lindo.

“The feeling expressed by these Old Boys was that the case had been swept under the rug.

“It is true that the boys of the College of the time were asked not to discuss the departure of Hutchinson, outside the school.

“Hutchinson’s file has been disclosed to the Royal Commission.”

He admitted that Christ’s College had not properly handled the situation with Hutchinson when it arose.

“There is no doubt that if the same circumstances presented themselves now, the police would be contacted immediately and the college would put the interests of the boys concerned and their families ahead of its own reputational interests,” he said. declared.

“Unfortunately, we cannot now change the way the College decided to deal with Hutchinson at that time.

Lindo said he and Wynne had asked any old boys who wanted to discuss “any aspect of how they were treated in college” to contact them directly.

“We have also appointed an independent facilitator to help support any old boys who may be survivors of abuse in college,” he said.

“As I said, looking back, the Hutchinson case should have been treated quite differently.

“For all of the old boys who were touched by their experiences with Hutchinson or who survived abuse in middle school, we want them to get in touch with us so that we can
apologize and do everything possible to facilitate a proper remedy for them. “

THE CHRONOLOGY OF HUTCHINSON’S ABUSE
• Hutchinson is convicted of sexually assaulting a boy in Durham, England in the 1970s.

• Hutchinson was a music teacher at Christ Church Grammar School at Claremont in Perth from 1981 to 1985. During this period he was also organist at St George’s Cathedral. There he repeatedly sexually assaulted a boy. The abuse began when the boy was 13 and performed in a school camp, country hotel rooms on musical tours, the cathedral deanery and Hutchinson’s own home. The boy told a Perth court he felt “powerless” to denounce his teacher.

• For 18 months, from 1985 to 1987, Hutchinson worked as a music teacher at Christ’s College, Christchurch. He was fired after the appearance of inappropriate sexual behavior with boys. He got this job using “unqualified references”, but received none when he was fired.

• Hutchinson was also convicted of indecent assault on another student in Adelaide in the 1990s.

SEXUAL BAD – DO YOU NEED HELP?

If this is an emergency and you think you or someone else is in danger, call 111.

If you’ve been a victim of assault or sexual abuse in the past and need to talk to someone, contact the Safe to Talk confidential hotline at:

• Text 4334 and they’ll get back to you.

• Send an email to [email protected]

• Visit https://safetotalk.nz/contact-us/ for an online chat

You can also contact your local police station – click here for a list.

If you have been abused, remember that it is not your fault.


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