Bruce Barrett – Knox Grammar School Offender
Victims of child sexual abuse are traumatized and scarred for life. Most sexual offenders, on the other hand, leave no obvious physical indications or proof of their crimes. Sexually abused children are more likely to be mentally and emotionally unstable, which shows itself in their conduct. In Australia, child sexual abuse is a serious problem that is investigated and prosecuted by the law, as well as academic research on the incidence, causes, and societal consequences. There have been 48,420 supported by facts cases of child endangerment identified only in Australian states and territories in 2011–12, of which 5,828 were victims of sexual harm.
In this article, we will look at Bruce Barrett, a Knox Grammar School art teacher who sexually molested children over a long period of time.
Knox Grammar School’s elegant veneer conceals a sad history of sexual abuse and cover-ups. For decades, students at the top grammar school were terrified of predatory paedophile instructors. Any kids who attempted to talk openly were disciplined and silenced.
After Bruce Barrett’s death, Knox Grammar created a monument for him with the inscription “He Touched Us All.” The placard was eventually taken down from the monument of the deceased art teacher who was suspected of sexually assaulting several of his students. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard that Knox Grammar in Sydney had constructed a memorial with the sign to be one of the paedophile teachers. The students were told to go to the funeral. The school, on the other hand, removed the “touch” sign when charges of child sexual abuse against the professor led to a completely different reading of the sign.
Dr Ian Paterson, sometimes called the “Snake,” the headmaster of Knox, is accused of ignoring sex-abuse complaints. When a teacher named Damien Vance was suspected of such an offence, the headmaster chose not to notify the authorities. Vance was one of five teachers found guilty in 2009 after former pupils filed police complaints.
A figure wearing a balaclava one night entered a sleeping student’s dormitory and assaulted one of its pupils. As he hid under a doona, he was pursued by other youngsters. The headmaster again failed to contact the authorities on that occasion. Teachers were advised not to talk about the event since it was an Asian invader from outside the school, according to school officials.
Paterson was the institution’s leader for most of the time period child molestation instances were reportedly occurring. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard a variety of evidence of abuse between 1970 & 2003.
A paedophile schoolteacher was compared to a “kid in a candy store” by a former pupil. Even after allegations of the instructor sexually abusing children, the kids claimed that the teacher had received no punishment from the school administration.
Former pupil Coryn Tambling said that one of the guilty professors, Craig Treloar, manipulated him. The teacher reportedly requested oral sex from him. While Tambling rebuffed the instructor, Treloar said that he was a member of Paterson’s “elite group of lads” before becoming headmaster.
Mr Ashton testified on the second day of the school’s investigation that improper touching by instructors was prevalent and that he was touched on the playground in front of another teacher. Mr Ashton said that in 1986, he was invited to a sex party at which he was paid for inappropriate activity and which was accompanied by around ten Knox Grammar instructors and some other pupils. He said that a handful of the teachers there were later found guilty of child sexual assaults. Although five former instructors were found guilty, the commission was told that the situation was much worse than publically acknowledged.
After being molested at Knox in the 1980s, Scott Ashton told the royal commission investigating child sexual abuse of his horror, embarrassment, and confusion. He said that the school had “a substantial paedophile cohort,” and that the abuse drove him to work as a sex worker as a youngster. When he was molested by a teacher at the Sydney private school, a former pupil claims that children were sexually abused so frequently that he wasn’t convinced it was wrong.
Greg Dubler was transferred to Knox, the prominent private school on Sydney’s upper North Shore when he was ten years old. His parents were experiencing marital problems and wanted to take a trip to Europe to attempt to work everything out. In 1975, their three kids, Martin, Robert, and Greg, who had previously attended Knox as day students, were sent to the school to board for three months.
Greg was the school’s youngest boarder by two years, yet he was separated from his elder siblings and became a target for bullies — as well as a suspected paedophile boarding master. Dubler, now 54, remembers this time as “extremely tough, stressful, and very frightening.”
In a statement of claim submitted to the Supreme Court, Mr Dubler claims, “My life was about to be transformed forever, and I would never be the same.” He is seeking more than $1 million in damages from Knox for endangering his life, education, job, and mental health and well-being.
It is one of “tens” of allegations of institutional child sexual abuse levelled against Knox, the vast majority of these have been resolved. Dubler’s complaint is one of five filed against Knox by the law firm Koffels, pertaining to allegations of child sexual abuse at the institution from 1975 until 1986.
“Knox and the United Church do everything they can to resolve every complaint as fast as possible by offering the claimant reasonable compensation,” a school representative said to The Sun-Herald.
During the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the names of instructors like Nisbett and Barrett came up repeatedly. All have been accused and convicted, with the exception of Barratt, Greg Dubler’s alleged abuser. However, none of those accused have served jail time. Greg claims that as the youngest member at Knox, he was an “easy target” for the other guys’ severe physical and mental bullying. He was once dangled from a balcony by his ankle.
Dubler did, however, have one form of solace.
Bruce Barratt, his art instructor, began to pay him more attention. He would follow him from class to dorm, and after school, he’d buy him milkshakes, sweets, and potato scallops from the nearby Wahroonga cafes. The increased attention, according to Dubler, made him feel exceptional.
“I started to trust Barratt and felt more at ease in his company. With all of the bullying at school, I started feeling like I had met a friend.”
Then Barratt invited him to watch television with him in his own rooms at Ewan House, where he had been the head for year 11 and 12 boarders. This, according to Dubler, is when the assault occurred.
Barratt would stroke Greg’s legs, touch his hands, and embrace him. “My parents did not love me, and they left me at Knox for him to care for me,” he stated. “I remember him saying things like, ‘I love you,’ and ‘I will look after you.’ According to Dubler, the contact became more intense until they took off their clothes. The allegations are graphic and upsetting; suffice it to say that they included masturbating, digital rape, and Barratt giving the youngster oral sex. “I did what was asked of me,” Dubler adds.
For more than three decades, he kept his secret hidden, and his life got out of hand. He details his guilt and embarrassment, falling grades, disobedience, destruction and minor criminality, teenage drug and alcohol misuse, and sexual disorientation and experimentation with males from school in his statement of claim.
When Dubler learned about another Knox instructor molesting a pupil in 2007, all of his anguish resurfaced. He proceeded to the Hornsby police station to report his own alleged assault at Knox, only to be informed that there was nothing the police officers could do. Barratt was no longer alive, having passed away nearly two and a half decades earlier in 1984.
Dubler studied cooking at TAFE, failed in business attempts, and struggled to keep down positions, mostly in real estate and land development, although his brothers both became attorneys, one advancing to Senior Counsel. Greg claims he lost a lot of money gambling, using cocaine and ecstasy, and engaging in broad sexual experimentation. His past two marriages ended in divorce.
It has been reported that Knox continues to be the target of numerous complaints about teachers abusing children. The former students focus on what the school, its principal, and instructors knew and therefore should have heard about the now-established examples of sexually abusive teachers to support their accusations. Rather than contesting the claims, Knox is concentrating on deciding how much compensation the institution should provide. Its spokesperson stated that legal advice was used to determine what a court will further honour if these claims went to trial.
Koffels Solicitors & Barristers are proud of the work we do and the groundbreaking results we obtain for our clients. If you are a victim of institutional child sexual abuse, we believe we can give you the support and advice on obtaining proper compensation to which victims are truly entitled. Please do not hesitate to contact us on our secure encrypted form. Alternatively, you may contact Mr Koffel confidentially on 02 9283 5599.