GGS student expelled after reporting abuse

A student was told he may have imagined being sexually abused and was lucky to be at Geelong Grammar School before being expelled, an inquiry has heard.


BIW was one of 41 students sexually abused by Philippe Trutmann, whom a long-time Geelong Grammar staffer said brought evil and sadness to the school.

BIW had been a boarder for two weeks when the 14-year-old woke up to a man masturbating him, but he could not see the offender clearly in the dark, the child abuse royal commission heard.

#GeelongGrammar victim sexually abused two weeks after starting at school: “it seemed to go on forever & at one pt he was very aggressive”

— Sarah Abo (@_SarahAbo) September 3, 2015

BIW said he felt Highton campus master Robert John Bugg and deputy Paul Claridge did not believe him about the 1989 incident.

“They both put to me that I could have been dreaming, that I was imagining it,” BIW said on Thursday.

“I explained to them that as good as my imagination was, no I was very much awake and it was like the fear of God with what was going on to me at the time.”

Victims tells #CARoyalComm that #GeelongGrammar staff questioned whether he was “dreaming” or “imagining” the sexual abuse @SBSNews

— Sarah Abo (@_SarahAbo) September 3, 2015

Matron Catherine Parsons said just before she was asked to leave the meeting it turned hostile.

“It was just put to him that, you know, how lucky he was to have a place at Geelong Grammar School,” Ms Parsons said.

BIW said he was expelled for “speaking up” and breaking an agreement not to discuss the incident by speaking to two other students.

“I was tormented for years, knowing that I had been expelled from school for reporting the truth, and my abuse was never reported to the police.

“I felt terrible guilt that I had left other children at school in the hands of a sex offender. I knew other children would be abused because no one would listen to me.”

He said Geelong Grammar sent his mother a $2500 bill to cover fees for the rest of the term, which was not paid.

Ms Parsons, who still works at the school as a nurse, said she was very upset by the incident and the way it was handled.

“As far as I know the incident was never investigated further and that was the end of the matter.”

Trutmann, a live-in Highton boarding house assistant, was jailed for six and a half years in 2005 for molesting 40 students between 1985 and 1995.

After BIW made a police complaint in 2010 Trutmann pleaded guilty to indecent assault and received a wholly-suspended 12 month sentence.

Ms Parsons said there was a lot of sadness in the school community because of Trutmann’s abuse.

“It has brought evil into what was on the whole a beautiful, happy, wonderful, caring boarding house,” she said.

Middle school head Tony Inkster apologised for the abuse of students while he was the Highton boarding house master.

“I had absolutely no idea that such was occurring. I am deeply sorry.”

Ms Parsons denied having told Mr Claridge that BIW told her something about an initiation ceremony or rite.

The commission heard Mr Bugg has no recollection of the meeting with BIW.