School stays silent amid calls for resignation

A Catholic college in Christchurch is refusing to respond to calls for its rector to resign over his handling of a teacher's historic sexual offences.

Former Dunedin man Peter Boock revealed his story to ODT Insight earlier this month, naming Robin Pettit as the man who abused him in Dunedin.

Mr Boock was 13 at the time the abuse occurred, over about nine months in 1967-68, while Mr Pettit was a 19-year-old student.\

Mr Pettit eventually became a teacher, and was working at St Bede's College in Christchurch when Mr Boock revealed details of the historic offending to the college's rector, Justin Boyle, in 2011.

Peter Boock. Photo: supplied
Peter Boock. Photo: supplied

However, although Mr Pettit admitted the offending to Mr Boyle - as well as to ODT Insight earlier this month - he was allowed to remain a teacher at the college until he retired in 2015.

The decision was defended by Mr Boyle, who maintained the proper process had been followed and accepted by Mr Boock at the time.

But a support group, the Network of Survivors of Abuse in Faith-based Institutions and their Supporters, last week demanded the resignation of Mr Boyle.

Group spokesman Murray Heasley said Mr Boyle ''enabled a self-confessed child sex offender to continue teaching students at St Bede's''.

It was therefore ''untenable for Mr Boyle to continue in his duties'', Dr Heasley said.

''This is actually a pretty open and shut case.''

Mr Boock said he, too, would like to see Mr Boyle resign.

''I believe that a person with integrity would resign.''

Last week, RNZ reported Mr Boock's concerns would be considered at a meeting of the St Bede's College board of trustees on Monday.

Neither Mr Boyle nor board chairman Warren Johnstone responded to ODT Insight questions, including whether Mr Boyle would resign, on Monday.

Yesterday, a college spokeswoman, responding through Mr Boyle's email, would only say the college was ''unable to make any further comment as the issue is now the subject of an inquiry by the Education Council''.

Mr Boock said the gravity of the situation meant he ''would have expected an immediate response''.

''I had hoped that the response would have been an admission by Mr Boyle of a profound error of judgement, and that the [board of trustees] then acted on that.

''Mr Boyle enabled a self-confessed child sex abuser to keep teaching boys at the school. That is indefensible.''

chris.morris@odt.co.nz


 

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