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Abuse accused fired

Mark Oberhardt

November 01, 2006 11:00pm

AN ANGLICANpriest was fired from his job at a leading Brisbane private schoolafter allegations were made he had a sexual relationship with a teenageboy from his parish nearly 30 years earlier.

The former headmaster of Brisbane's AnglicanGrammar School, David Scott, told a District Court trial he"terminated" Robert Francis Sharwood's employment as a teacher andassistant chaplain in February 2002.

Mr Scott, now the headmaster of Newington College in Sydney, saidthat after allegations about the 1970s offences were made to a schoolboard member he raised them with Sharwood, who had moved to the schoolin the mid-1980s.

He said he recalled Sharwood made no comment other than to say the matters were dealt with "long ago".

Under cross examination from barrister Gary Long, for Sharwood, MrScott confirmed there was another anonymous allegation made aboutSharwood's behaviour at the school but an investigation found there wasno substance to it. Mr Scott said he did not know the source of storiesin The Courier-Mail in 2002 about Sharwood's sacking.

In the trial the Crown is making no allegation of criminal behaviourby Sharwood at Anglican Grammar and the events relate to his time ascurate of the Sherwood parish in the mid-1970s.

Sharwood, now 62, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of indecentassault, carnal knowledge against the order of nature, permittingcarnal knowledge against the order of nature, and gross indecency.

Before evidence was called, Judge Fleur Kingham told the jurySharwood had on an earlier occasion pleaded guilty to seven counts ofindecent assault involving the same complainant.

The trial heard Sharwood was the assistant curate at St MatthewsAnglican church at Sherwood, and the Crown alleges from 1974 to 1976 hehad a sexual relationship with a boy, a parishioner, which developedthrough their mutual love of music.

The complainant gave evidence in closed court and the former rector of St Matthews, Thomas Hood, also gave evidence.

The trial continues today.

 


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Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia