A former teacher who admitted showing pornography to students at an elite Sydney boys school in the 1980s continued teaching there until he was arrested for sex abuse more than 20 years later.
Craig Treloar thought he’d be sacked after admitting showing pornographic films to boys at Knox Grammar in Wahroonga in 1987, but was instead allowed to pick the timing of his six-month suspension.
After returning from his suspension at the start of 1989, Treloar remained at the school until his arrest for child abuse in 2009.
He was sentenced to a minimum two years jail in 2010 for abusing boys at the school, but has also denied forcing his victims into sexual acts.
On Wednesday, he told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that, after admitting to showing porn to students in 1987, he was suspended from teaching for six months.
Mr Treloar asked headmaster Ian Paterson if his suspension could be delayed – a request Mr Treloar said was brought to the school council.
“He came back. I can’t tell you when, but he did come back and confirmed that the council would accept me starting at the beginning of 1988 and taking off the last six months of the year,” Mr Treloar said.
Mr Treloar said he became distressed when he heard Dr Paterson wanted to talk to him.
“I thought my career was over … that I would be sacked,” he said.
The commission has heard Mr Treloar admitted showing boys heterosexual porn, but evidence he also showed them videos depicting bestiality and pedophilia went undiscovered because the school held no investigation.
During his appearance at the commission, Mr Treloar described his criminal charges of indecent assault as “letting boys touch me”.
“Do you have any self-awareness of how offensive it is to say that the boys wanted to touch you and you let them?” asked Peter Skinner, counsel representing three victims of sexual abuse.
“You forced them to touch you. That’s the truth, isn’t it?” he continued.
“No, I didn’t force them to touch me,” Mr Treloar replied.
Mr Treloar, a Knox old boy who left in 1977 before returning to teach in 1982, told the commission he wasn’t asked for references when he applied to work as a resident master at a boarding home for year seven boys.
The former head of the Knox Preparatory School, Michael Jenkinson, told the commission Mr Treloar’s status as an old boy was valued when he was interviewed for the boarding house job.
After he became aware of the porn, he and Dr Paterson concluded Mr Treloar was immature.
“The only explanation we could give is that he’s just being a show off, of the level of his immaturity,” Mr Jenkinson said.
After returning from his six-month suspension, Mr Treloar was removed from the boarding house.