A SENIOR English teacher has worked with students for the past decadedespite allegations he sexually assaulted a boy repeatedly for fouryears.The man - whose identity is suppressed - will now facedisciplinary action, 10 years after his former student accused him ofpedophilia.
The Department of Education and Children's Services has been unable to actbecause of laws preventing investigation of pre-1982 sex offences, and a SupremeCourt challenge.
With the law changed and the challenge having failed, the man has been movedto a non-teaching post and investigations have restarted.
The man is accused of sexually assaulting the student multiple times between1974 and 1977.
Although a complaint was filed in 1996, he continued working as a principal,exam setter and marker for the Senior Secondary Assessment Board of SA.
Last week, Supreme Court Justice Tom Gray threw out the man's civil claim,which argued re-opening the case was "oppressive".
He said an inquiry was "manifestly in the public interest".
"Trust is reposed in the schools, the department and, critically, in theteachers," he said.
"Public confidence must be maintained in the institution . . . proper andthorough investigation of complaints must be undertaken."
The student claimed the man performed oral sex and masturbation upon him, andattempted anal sex, between 1974 and 1977.
The matter was investigated by police and the department in 1996 but wasstymied by the law.
The department wrote to the man advising "the file on this matter has beenclosed".
New evidence arose in April, 2004, and, in January the man "emphaticallydenied" the allegations.
"A nine-year delay has occurred which is solely the responsibility of DECS,"he said.
"At the time the allegations were initially made, (my) ability to defend andrefute them was compromised by the passage of time. The further delay hasplainly exacerbated that prejudice."
He sought Supreme Court intervention but Justice Gray refused.
"There is strong public interest in ensuring students are protected fromteachers who may engage in inappropriate sexual behaviour," he said.