Friday, 12 June 2015

Scots College Head to be sentenced

The former head of the mathematics department at Sydney's prestigious Scots College private school has pleaded guilty to indecently assaulting three students during an excursion in the Australian outback in 1989, amid allegations that the school failed to act when one victim complained. John Joseph Beckett, 76, will be sentenced in the South Australian District Court on Friday afternoon over three indecent assaults inflicted on 13- and 14-year-old boys between August and December 1989. 

The incidents occurred at Oodnadatta and Marree in the South Australian outback while the students were taking part in a three-week excursion to the Red Centre led by Beckett. Beckett continued to work at the school for nearly 10 years after the assaults, taking a number of other groups of students on the same excursion before resigning in 1998.  Beckett was first interviewed by police in 2010 and charged in 2012, but steadfastly denied all of the allegations against him until this week when he was due to stand trial.

Years after the assault, the victim complained to the school's principal but that nothing was done. "The first authority figure I told [about the abuse] was the school principal; subsequently he denied I had reported the matter," the victim told the South Australian District Court. "That caused me further distress." Beckett is due to be sentenced today. 

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