Revelations of sexual abuse at prestigious Geelong Grammar are set to have a big impact on the school, according to a letter to the past and present parents of the school from principal Stephen Meek yesterday. Meek warned in the letter that upcoming hearings at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse would be “confronting for the School community”. Hearings start on September 1 and are expected to proceed until September 11, covering issues dating as far back as 1956 at the prestigious school.

“It is expected that a number of significant issues will arise in the course of the hearing which will be confronting for the School community and, particularly, for victims of abuse. I have no doubt that providing evidence to the Royal Commission would be a harrowing experience for every victim and I commend their courage in coming forward.”

The letter implies that the hearings will reveal that the school did not react well to allegations of abuse. “I greatly regret that not all of our students received the care and support to which they were entitled,” Meek wrote.

Meek said he would attend each day of the commission to hear directly from victims, but that the school would not be commenting to the media during the proceedings. “The school absolutely condemns any form of abuse, feels deeply sorry for, and profoundly regrets, the abuse that has occurred at the School in the past and continues to co-operate fully with the Royal Commission,” Meek said in the letter.

Former art teacher John Buckley pleaded guilty in December to molesting seven boys at the school’s Toorak campus in the 1980s, and in 2005 a former boarding house assistant at the school, Phillipe Trutman, pleaded guilty to more than 40 charges of indecent assault in the 1980s and 90s.

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Peter Fray

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