The headmaster of a Melbourne private boys’ school has resigned in the wake of an investigation in his endorsement of a sports coach convicted of sexually grooming a student.
The headmaster of a Melbourne private boys' school has resigned in the wake of an investigation over his endorsement of a sports coach convicted of sexually grooming a student.
St Kevin's College announced headmaster Stephen Russell's resignation today, following a week of immense scrutiny on the school's handling of the matter brought to light on ABC's Four Corners.
Dean of Sport Luke Travers has been formally stood down as well.
According to a letter sent to parents, Mr Russell's resignation is "effective immediately".
Mr Russell said he decided to resign because he always tried to put the school and students' wellbeing at the "top" of his priorities.
"I believe the current situation means that the best way to achieve this is to resign," he wrote.
"I have a deep and abiding passion for this school community and am very grateful for the 24 years of nurturing I and my family have received.
"I extend my best wishes and encouragement to the current student body to be 'good people', the way so many who went before them have been across the decades."
He thanked his family, particularly his wife, as well as former students and parents for their support.
The resignation comes after Mr Russell admitted he made a mistake in providing the reference at the request of the convicted former coach Peter Kehoe, which was given to a court in 2015.
The former sports coach was found guilty of grooming a child under the age of 16 in April 2015 and was sentenced to a community corrections order and placed on the sex offenders register for eight years.
Childhood trauma support centre the Blue Knot Foundation welcomed the resignation.
"The position of the headmaster of St Kevin's was untenable," Blue Knot Foundation President Cathy Kezelman said in a statement.
"His resignation hopefully represents the beginning of a critical change in child safety and accountability at St Kevin's moving forward.
"It is not acceptable to ever ignore the suffering of victims and the impact of the crime of child sexual abuse in favour of institutions and their hierarchy.
"It is outrageous that any institution should, despite the recent child abuse Royal Commission, preference perpetrators over victims.
"We cannot as a society stand by as misogynistic destructive cultures predominate and taint the development of young men to learn to respect and honour women."
Wayne Tinsey, the executive director of Edmund Rice Education Australia, which governs St Kevin's, said John Crowley would step in as acting headmaster.
Mr Crowley is principal of St Patrick's College in Ballarat.
Mr Tinsey said the organisation "accepts the gravity of the matters raised in recent days".
He also directed an apology to Kehoe's victim.
"We are so sorry and we let you down," Mr Tinsey said.
"Importantly, it must be stated that we find the crimes of Peter Kehoe abhorrent and we strongly condemn all behaviour of this nature."
Edmund Rice Education Australia will conduct an independent cultural review at St Kevin's.
"Please know that the safety and wellbeing of students and young people is at the centre of all we do," Mr Tinsey said.
"We have an unshakable commitment to embracing the recommendations of the Royal Commission and to the support of all victims and survivors of abuse.
"We have very clear expectations of all our schools in relation to the paramount importance of child safety."
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/st-kevins-college-headmaster-resigns-after-abuse-scandal-melbourne/176adb8f-3ce6-4467-97bc-4a0a62fe6870