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School a ‘candy shop’ – inquiry

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A man who was abused by a paedophile at Sydney’s prestigious Knox Grammar School said he was surprised to discover the teacher was still employed there 15 years later.

In a statement read to a royal commission hearing on Monday, Matthew O’Neal, who was abused by music teacher Barrie Stewart, said when his brother started at the school in 1990, Stewart was still there.

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“A gay paedophile in a boys school is like a kid in a candy shop. He should never have been working there,” Mr O’Neal said.

Another former student, Scott Ashton, 44, gave evidence on Tuesday.

Mr Ashton said he was nine when he went to Knox. From the start he was abused “openly and brazenly” by Stewart.

Some of the abuse happened at dimly-lit music rehearsals where Stewart also abused other boys.

In 2009 Stewart was convicted of five counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault. He was given a suspended sentence.

Mr Ashton said he remembers bleeding from his rectum when Stewart used his finger to molest him.

He also told of depression, confusion and substance abuse since leaving Knox. He ended up working in the sex industry.

Mr Ashton said he was already fragile when he arrived at Knox. He was adopted and his mother then had a baby boy whom he loved dearly.

He and his two-year-old brother were hit by a car on a pedestrian crossing. His brother was killed.

Boys at Knox beat him up and tried to get him to say he was responsible for his brother’s death.

Mr Ashton was too distraught to read his own statement. It was read by his friend, Gretel Pinniger, who is the well-known dominatrix Madame Lash.

The second half of Mr O’Neal’s statement was read on Tuesday.

He said he went to the school when his younger brother was starting and he recalled a comment Stewart made to his mother.

“I recall Stewart saying ‘Matthew is better looking than (his brother)’,” he said.

Mr O’Neal said he was relieved because it made him think at least he would not be interested in abusing his brother.

He said Knox had done absolutely nothing to help him.

“They have not offered counselling, support, compensation, nothing.”




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