Teacher referred to police over Dunedin abuse

A former Catholic school teacher who admitted the historic abuse of then-Dunedin boy Peter Boock is now the subject of a police complaint from two sources.

Mr Boock and the Education Council yesterday confirmed to ODT Insight they had both referred a complaint relating to Robin Pettit to police.

Their complaints came after ODT Insight earlier this month revealed a 13-year-old Mr Boock had been abused for nine months by Mr Pettit, then a 19-year-old student, when the pair were living in Dunedin.

In 2011, after learning Mr Pettit was a teacher at St Bede's College in Christchurch, Mr Boock alerted college rector Justin Boyle.

But, following an investigation, Mr Boyle decided to retain Mr Pettit as a teacher at the Catholic school.

That was despite Mr Pettit admitting his offending to Mr Boyle at the time, as well as to ODT Insight when contacted at home earlier this month.

An Education Council spokeswoman confirmed when contacted yesterday "we have made a referral to the police".

The council's own investigation into the matter was also continuing, but she could make no further comment.

"We have processes to deal with the allegations fairly, and to prevent any prejudice to the process we are unable to release details of our referral to police."

Mr Boock said he filed his police complaint on Monday and was interviewed by a detective in Christchurch yesterday.

Detective Warwick Holmes, of Christchurch police, confirmed both complaints had been received.

Mr Pettit declined to comment when contacted at home last night, saying he "didn't appreciate what happened last time".

Mr Pettit's lawyer Kerry Cook said: "We look forward to setting the record straight about what actually occurred and when it occurred. 

"We have nothing further to add publicly at this time."

He had admitted his offending when asked by ODT Insight earlier this month, saying he "had a bad period there" after finding out he was adopted.

"Yes, it was a very serious thing that I did. I'm very regretful about it all, but I can't go backwards."

Asked at the time if he was worried about a prosecution, Mr Pettit said: "No, that's not something I have dwelt on or thought about."

The police complaints this week also came after Mr Boyle wrote to parents earlier this month, reassuring them the situation with Mr Pettit had been investigated and resolved at the time.

The letter praised Mr Pettit's "long and distinguished teaching career" at St Bede's and other schools, where no other complaints had been received.

Mr Boyle has not responded to calls for his resignation since Mr Boock's story was published, but the college has launched its own "independent" review.

Mr Boyle and college board chairman Warren Johnstone did not respond to a request for comment late yesterday.

Dr Murray Heasley, a spokesman for the Network of Survivors of Abuse in Faith-based Institutions and their Supporters, said last week he was "appalled" by the college's response.

 

 

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