The King’s School lacked funds to help alleged sex abuse victim, royal commission hears

The King’s School in North Parramatta. The King’s School headmaster Tim Hawkes outside the royal commission in 2015. Photo: Daniel Munoz
Nanjing Night Net

The King’s School headmaster Tim Hawkes told a former student who’d allegedly been sexually abused as a boarder that the school “did not have enough money” to help him, a royal commission has heard.

John Williams boarded at the school, which now charges fees of up to $55,000 a year, in the 1960s.

He told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse he was molested by an older boarder on a number of occasions which resulted in severe mental and sexual health problems.

At one point, the commission heard, he considered cutting off his penis with a knife.

Mr Williams, now 64, told the inquiry he discussed the alleged abuse with Dr Hawkes in 2002.

“He was very concerned about the school’s image and said that if my story went public it would have a negative impact on the school,” he said.

“He also talked about the school not having enough money to help me.”

Mr Williams’ evidence is that Dr Hawkes offered to “forgo a few computers” to give him money.

“I was not going there to get money,” Mr Williams said. “I was trying to get an indication that they understood what had happened.”

Mr Williams told the commission Dr Hawkes was “very concerned” about boys finding out about the allegations.

Another former King’s School student, given the pseudonym CLG, told the inquiry of horrendous abuse he suffered as a boarder in the 1970s, including allegations of digital penetration and being tied up naked and assaulted.

“I couldn’t complain to the masters because of the repercussions,” he said. “I couldn’t speak to the chaplain. He just wanted you to pray and commit your life to Jesus.”

He compared his last two-and-a-half years at the school to: “Sitting in a prisoner of war camp and waiting for the war to end and trying to to work out if I was brave enough to kill myself.”

The man, now in his late 50s, told the commission that schools could improve the way they report abuse to the authorities.

“While we now have mandatory reporting, there are numerous occasions where institutions have failed to notify police,” he said.

“Unfortunately public relations remains the priority first and foremost.”

Dr Hawkes is expected to give evidence on Tuesday.

The inquiry into public and private schools continues before Justice Peter McClellan​.

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