Posts Tagged ‘Education Department’


Mills – Paul Edward - Photo

‘Horny’ teacher jailed for sex offence

4 Jun 2013, midnight

A FORMER Albury teacher, who called himself “Mick Horny” and made sexually suggestive online comments to a girl, 14, has been jailed until November next year.

Paul Edward Mills, who taught music at Murray High School, was sentenced by District Court judge Colin Charteris.

He had pleaded guilty to using a carriage service to procure a person under 16, using a carriage service to transmit indecent communication to someone under 16 and having child abuse material.

Mills, of Thurgoona, was jailed for from nine to 24 months and will be in prison until at least November 23, next year.

He will have to remain of good behaviour for 3½ years as part of the sentence.

Mills, 46, had been on bail until May 24 and was sentenced in Sydney last Thursday.

He had pleaded guilty in Albury Local Court on February 19.

Mills was suspended that day without pay by the Education Department and was fired the following day and put on a list stating he should not be employed again.

He had been removed from the school and classrooms as soon as the original charges were laid.

An Education Department spokesman said Mills’ performance and conduct had not previously been subject to suspicion.

Mills had been caught after a tip-off from US detectives examining an “inappropriate conversation” with a girl, 15, in Illinois.

Officers from the child exploitation unit posed as a sexually naive girl, 14, and began online communications with Mills.

Mills used the social network name “Mick Horny” and his profile picture was a penis.

He asked sexually inappropriate and explicit questions online during a series of recorded conversations.

They included Mills making sexual instructions to the girl and highly inappropriate comments.

Officers from the child exploitation internet unit went to Mills’ home at 6.50am on July 9 last year with a search warrant and arrested him.

He was found to have child pornography with images of children as young as three.

Mills made full admissions about what he had done but claimed he thought 14 was legal.


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Simon Birt - Photo3

Investigation into former Gold Coast teacher’s employment could spark changes to legislation

February 23, 2016 1:00am

A LOOPHOLE that allows suspended Queensland teachers to find work at another school is to be closed.Education Minister Kate Jones yesterday vowed to change the law after it was revealed former teacher Simon Birt was employed at the Australian International Islamic College in February and March last year while suspended from Bellevue Park State school, after allegations he had dealt inappropriately with students.“As a mother and a minister, I think this case highlights a situation where you’ve got to balance natural justice with the community expectation of safety,” Ms Jones said.

“It’s the threshold of information about employment ­details that needs to be ­examined.

“This is the first time that I have had a case like this since I’ve been a minister.”

Mr Birt was suspended in August 2014 while the allegations were investigated by the education department. They were eventually deemed to be unfounded.

On May 7, 2015 while Mr Birt was still being investigated, police charged the former teacher with possessing seven sexually explicit photos of children and an 11-minute video of boys aged 9 to 12.

Mr Birt’s Queensland College of Teachers licence was suspended on May 11.

He pleaded guilty in Southport District Court on February 10 to possessing child exploitation material and was given probation and let off without a conviction.

Ms Jones said that while she was still seeking clarity over the specifics of Mr Birt’s story, it seemed there was a loophole in the legislation. She said she believed the problem arose because there was no official channel through which the Islamic College could verify Mr Birt’s character.

Ms Jones said had Mr Birt applied to teach at another public school, he would have been knocked back.

She said there needed to be a better flow of information between government departments and independent schools.

“It was an accusation and he was immediately suspended,” she said.

“There was no way he would have been employed in a state school while he was on suspension.”

Ms Jones said she was determined to address the loophole and would look at ways she could change the Queensland College of Teachers Act.

Islamic College head of campus, Imam Mohammed Azhari, said he had checked Mr Birt’s registration and was outraged that information regarding the investigation had not been available.

“(When I found out he had been suspended) I contacted the Queensland College of Teachers and asked them what was going on, because he had been teaching at our school,” he said.

“We’ve checked and done all the procedures that we could to avoid the situation and we feel violated and we feel hard done by.

“It should have been noted straight away.”


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Maynard - Benjamin Peter - Photo3

Former citizen of the year Benjamin Maynard loses appeal against sex-offence jailing in SA

By court reporter Loukas Founten

Fri 21 Nov 2014, 3:39pm

A former young citizen of the year who sent sexually-explicit text messages to a teenage girl has lost an appeal against his two-year jail sentence in South Australia.

Aboriginal community engagement officer Benjamin Peter Maynard, 26, was jailed in August after pleading guilty to charges including child grooming and child pornography.

He said he had no intention of taking what he called a “phone sex” relationship any further.

Maynard started communicating with the girl while working at her Adelaide northern suburbs school last year.

The girl’s friends found and reported a message on her phone which had an explicit photo.

Maynard admitted sending and receiving nude images and that he had the girl had discussed having sex.

But he argued in court he would never have done so, despite ample opportunity, and the sentence should be suspended.

The Court of Criminal Appeal found the sentencing judge correctly applied the law and the prison term was upheld.

Maynard can seek parole next May.

He was Salisbury Council’s young citizen of the year in 2011 and argued without success the judge should have given him credit for previous good character.

New legislation this year allowed courts to ignore a person’s previous good character during sentencing for some child-sex matters, including when a court was satisfied good character and lack of previous convictions had helped an offender commit a crime.

Adelaide school worker jailed for two years for sending explicit images to 13-year-old girl

By Justin Wilkey

Fri 22 Aug 2014, 12:45pm

An Adelaide school worker has been jailed for two years for sending a young girl sexually explicit images of himself and having naked images of her on his phone.

Benjamin Peter Maynard, 26, was found guilty over his relationship with a 13-year-old girl while he worked at her northern suburbs school last year as an Aboriginal community engagement officer.

Maynard admitted sending nude images of himself to the girl and discussing having sex, but said he did not find her attractive.

He said he had ample opportunity to have sex with the girl, but would never had done so.

Maynard, who was Salisbury council’s young citizen of the year in 2011 and a former state league netball umpire, described his actions as disturbingly wrong.

In May last year a school friend of the victim informed the school of the images on her friend’s phone.

In sentencing the judge said Maynard had abused his position as an engagement officer and used it for his own sexual gratification and that it was a grave breach of trust.

He said: “Although it’s reasonably possible that you didn’t want to have sex with her, you made no intention to cease communication.”

Maynard cried as the non-parole period of nine months was read out to the court.

His supporters hugged and cried as he was led away.

Maynard will be eligible for parole in May 2015.


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Bocchino – Michael Anthony - Photo.



Teacher who had child pornography jailed by SA court

By court reporter Loukas Founten

Thu 23 Oct 2014, 3:45pm

A teacher who admitted downloading and viewing child pornography has been jailed for two years and nine months by an Adelaide court.

Michael Anthony Bocchino, 59, taught at Adelaide and Marryatville high schools but resigned from the Education Department after his arrest last January.

He pleaded guilty in the District Court to two counts of possessing child pornography and one of them aggravated because the children depicted were under 14.

Bocchino’s lawyer Kristopher Handshin told the court his client had been an exemplary and inspirational teacher, and a good man who made bad choices.

“That is heartbreaking for him because he felt it was his calling,” he told the court.

“He will never teach again. This man has really thrown his life away.

“He’s been an excellent and highly regarded educator.”

Judge Paul Muscat said as a teacher Bocchino should have known he was contributing to innocent children’s abuse by viewing pornography.

“It just beggars belief that in [your] position [you were] contributing to the trauma and abuse of innocent children,” the judge said.

“Whilst you would often feel guilt, shame and remorse the morning after downloading the child pornography, you continued to return to download this kind of pornography.

“There is much going in your favour in terms of your rehabilitation. Your acceptance of responsibility and seeking treatment are good signs that you will reform.”

Bocchino has been set a non-parole term of 16 months.

SA teacher Michael Anthony Bocchino admits possessing pornography depicting children under the age of 14 years

  • 4 hours ago July 15, 2014 2:12PM

AN ADELAIDE high school teacher has admitted possessing child pornography — including images of children under the age of 14 years.

Michael Anthony Bocchino, 59, faced the Adelaide Magistrates Court today.

He was due to enter pleas to one basic count of obtaining access to child pornography, one basic count of possessing child pornography and one aggravated count of possessing child pornography.

The third offence was said to be aggravated because, prosecutors alleged, Bocchino knew the children depicted in those images were under the age of 14 at the time of the offence.

Prosecutors alleged the offences occurred at Valley View on January 27 this year.

Today, Bocchino pleaded guilty to each of the possession charges — prosecutors subsequently withdrew the first count of obtaining access.

He was remanded on continuing bail to face the District Court next month, when a date for sentencing submissions will be set.

Bocchino and his lawyer declined to comment outside court.

This afternoon, an Education Department spokesman confirmed Bocchino had resigned on February 13 this year.

“At the time of his arrest, he was directed away from the workplace,” he said.

“In line with Debelle Report recommendations, the school community was informed by letter shortly afterwards.

“Another letter will be sent to inform the community of the plea … support services will be made available as and when required.”

The spokesman said SA Police had informed the Teachers Registration Board.


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NSW to sack teacher over child porn

July 4, 2005 – 12:04PM

A NSW primary school teacher convicted of possessing child pornography will reportedly be sacked very soon.

Ken McCoy, a senior teacher at Junee Public School in the state’s south west, received a 12-month suspended sentence after pleading guilty last month to downloading 650 images of child porn on his home computer.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper said McCoy was not sacked because the education department feared he could sue, following the decision to award $28,000 to former teacher Jeff Sinclair after he had a relationship with a student.

Mr Sinclair, 53, was awarded the payout for psychological injury he suffered during an investigation into his involvement with pupil Nicki Shackle.

However, the department’s director-general Andrew Cappie-Wood now says McCoy will be sacked.

“There is absolutely no place in our schools for anyone convicted of such a crime,” Mr Cappie-Wood said in a statement.

“Anything to do with the sexual abuse or exploitation of children is totally abhorrent and I will act in the strongest possible terms against any department employee involved in such activity.”

McCoy, 59, has been on leave since being removed from the school as soon as the department was told by police he was under investigation for the possession of child pornography, the statement said.

None of the matters for which McCoy was convicted related to his employment as a school teacher, the statement said.

NSW Opposition Leader John Brogden said it was clear the government decided to sack McCoy only after the matter was raised in the media.

“The fact is that until this appeared on the front page of the newspaper he was not going to be sacked,” he told reporters.

Mr Brogden demanded to know if the government’s failure to sack the teacher before the July 1 beginning of the new financial year would benefit his superannuation entitlements.

No-one convicted of possessing child pornography should remain employed by the government, Mr Brogden said.

“My view is anyone convicted of being in possession of child pornographic material doesn’t deserve to be in the employ of the government,” he said.

An education department spokesman said the timing of McCoy’s dismissal was not influenced by any possible impact on his superannuation entitlements.

“We’d never consider that as part of the disciplinary process at all,” the spokesman said.

Assistant principal gets suspended sentence for child porn

Posted Fri Jun 24, 2005 11:04am AEST

An assistant principal of a primary school in the New South Wales Riverina has received a 12-month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to possessing child pornography.

The Education Department says it removed 59-year-old Kenneth John McCoy from face-to-face duties at Junee North Public School after his arrest in March.

But McCoy is still employed by the department.

He pleaded guilty to the two charges yesterday.

Detectives found more than 650 images on his home computer depicting children in sex acts.

A spokesman for the Education Department says disciplinary action is now being considered.

Source: adelaidenow


UPDATED:  September 2014

Sex offender who sparked SA Debelle Royal Commission has jail term increased

By Loukas Founten

Updated about 2 hours agoMon 29 Sep 2014, 3:45pm

A paedophile who triggered an inquiry into how authorities handled a sexual abuse case at an Adelaide school has had his jail sentence increased.

Mark Christopher Harvey had been due for release in May but following an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) he will stay in prison until at least August 2018.

DPP Adam Kimber told the Court of Criminal Appeal the sentence given to Harvey was manifestly inadequate and should be increased.

He told the court the judge who sentenced Harvey may have failed to fully appreciate the seriousness of the offences.

Harvey was serving a prison sentence for abusing a child when he was found guilty of sexually abusing four girls at a school in Adelaide’s western suburbs while working as an after-school-hours carer.

He was serving a cumulative sentence of eight years in jail with a non-parole period of three years and three months.

The appeal court has increased the head sentence by three years and doubled Harvey’s non-parole period meaning he cannot seek parole until August 2018.

The ruling stated the head sentence and non-parole period had to reflect that the offending was a gross breach of trust.

“It was not an aberration or a momentary lapse of judgement,” the ruling said.

“It is was committed against four victims over an extended period of time and it has caused a feeling of outrage and revulsion in the community.”

The Debelle Royal Commission was conducted after it emerged parents of children at the school where Harvey abused four pupils had not been told about an earlier assault case involving him in 2010.

The school community had told the court its reputation was tarnished and its staff and students suffered as a result of Harvey’s crimes.

Mr Kimber said the impact of Harvey’s offending was felt beyond the victims and their families.



Mark Christopher Harvey: DPP appeals sentence given to SA paedophile

By Candice Marcus

Updated 11 hours 28 minutes ago

South Australia’s Director of Public Prosecutions will appeal against the jail sentence given to the paedophile at the centre of the Debelle royal commission, Mark Christopher Harvey.

Harvey, 43, was sentenced two weeks ago for sex crimes against four young girls who were in his care while he was the director of an after-hours school program at a primary school in Adelaide’s west.

His offending sparked South Australia’s Debelle royal commission into how authorities handled cases of child sexual abuse.

Harvey was already serving a jail sentence for sexually abusing another young girl at the school at the time he was sentenced for the other crimes.

His head sentence was increased to eight years and a new non-parole period was set at three years and three months.

But with time already served, Harvey will be eligible for release next May.

A spokeswoman for DPP Adam Kimber says he has decided to try to have the sentence extended and lodged the paperwork in the Court of Criminal Appeal on Monday afternoon.

A date for the hearing will be set later.



Paedophile Mark Christopher Harvey jailed longer for Adelaide after-school care sex abuse

Updated Mon 30 Jun 2014, 10:31am AEST

A paedophile has been jailed for more sex crimes at an Adelaide school, but will be eligible to seek parole next year.

Mark Christopher Harvey, 43, was found guilty of molesting four girls who were in his care at the out-of-hours program at the school in western Adelaide.

His offending sparked the Debelle royal commission in South Australia into how authorities handled cases of child sexual abuse.

Harvey has been jailed for a total of eight years, with his latest two-year head sentence added to his previous six-year term.

He already was serving time for unlawful sexual intercourse involving a young student.

After that offending was publicised, more victims came forward and the further charges were laid.

Harvey’s latest sentence has a non-parole term of three years and three months which could make Harvey eligible to seek parole next May because the term has been back-dated to February 2012.

Crimes had wide-reaching impact

The offences for which Judge Michael Boylan now has sentenced Harvey actually happened before the crime for which he already had been serving jail time.

Harvey told the court last time that his offending had been an isolated incident but the judge now says that clearly was not so.

“The offence (dealt with previously) of unlawful sexual intercourse was not isolated, rather it was committed after you had been committing the offences for which I must sentence you [now],” he said.

The trial heard Harvey had been popular in the school community before his offending came to light.

Judge Boylan says victim impact statements have made clear the wide-reaching impact of the crimes.

“The predominant theme of those statements is the extent to which you breached the trust placed in you by the school, by the families, by all of the students and of course by those students who you abused,” he said.

“By your crimes you have sown the seeds of mistrust.

“Parents found themselves no longer trusting their children with other adults. There was huge mistrust at the school to the extent of false allegations having being made there.

“One can only hope that your victims and their families will eventually recover.”

School covered up abuse

Outside court, a former work colleague of of the convicted paedophile, Gloria Armitage, says she remains upset the school covered up the abuse.

“We were told to keep quiet by the school and that has really upset me and I felt perhaps if I’d have come forward [it might have helped] and that’s the guilty feeling I’ve had for all this time,” she said.

“Those little girls, it just breaks my heart. I’m devastated.”

Ms Armitage says she felt compelled to be at court for the sentencing.

“I just had to be here today for the sentencing, I haven’t been here before,” she said.

“Those little girls … I don’t think they’ll ever get over it, as years go by it will come back to them and that’s the sad part about it.

“You want your children to have a happy, healthy life, not have things like that on their little minds. I wanted to say so much before and I wasn’t allowed to say anything.”

Director of Public Prosecutions Adam Kimber is reviewing the sentence and yet to decide whether to lodge an appeal.



Mark Christopher Harvey: Suppression lifted on paedophile’s latest conviction

Updated Thu 8 May 2014, 8:35am AEST

It can now be reported a convicted paedophile whose crime sparked a royal commission in South Australia into handling of school sex abuse cases has been convicted of more sex offences against young girls.

Mark Christopher Harvey, 43, went on trial this year for sexually exploiting four girls when he was the director of an out-of-school-hours care program in Adelaide’s north-western suburbs.

The court heard Harvey regularly removed the girls’ socks, gently bit their toes, touched their chests and exposed himself.

A judge found him guilty of charges last month but the outcome of the trial could not be reported until a publication ban was lifted today.

Submissions on Harvey’s sentence will be heard next month.

Harvey already is serving a six-year jail sentence for sexually abusing another young girl at the same school care program.

Ex-after school care director goes on trial on child-sex offences

By court reporter James Hancock

Updated 2 hours 54 minutes ago

A former director of an out-of-school hours care program in Adelaide has gone on trial accused of sexually exploiting four children.

Mark Christopher Harvey, 43, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of persistent sexual exploitation of a child.

The Adelaide District Court was told Harvey was an enthusiastic and dedicated director who had been popular

with parents and loved by students.

But prosecutor Mark Norman alleged Harvey was a paedophile and said the accused man got sexual pleasure

from touching the girls on the chest and softly biting their toes.

He said Harvey disguised his offending as innocent play and the girls were never forced to take part.

The court heard the trial was expected to be lengthy because Harvey needed Tuesdays and Thursdays off for dialysis.

Police to check paedophile’s time at Scouts

ABC Updated November 5, 2012, 8:52 pm

South Australian Police say they are looking into convicted paedophile Mark Christopher Harvey’s past involvement in children’s organisations such as Scouts SA.

Harvey was sentenced to six years jail in February for sexually abusing a girl at an after-hours care program at a school in Adelaide’s north-western suburbs in 2010.

Parents of children at the school were not told about Harvey’s arrest and the matter is being independently review by retired Supreme Court judge Bruce Debelle.

Harvey also volunteered for Scouts SA and its chief executive says the organisation was also kept in the dark about the charges.

Deputy Commissioner Grant Stevens says police are investigating that claim.

“We’re currently reviewing the situation regarding his involvement in the Scouts and once we’ve pulled that information together we’ll take any police action that’s neccessary but also advise Justice Debelle of the findings,” he said.

“That’s what we’re having a look at now, making sure that the actions by the police were appropriate and once we’ve compiled that information we’ll pass that on to the independent inquiry and await those findings.”

Premier’s aide emailed

Premier Jay Weatherill has defended his chief-of-staff’s failure to tell him about Harvey’s arrest when Mr Weatherill was education minister in 2010.

It has emerged the South Australian Premier’s chief-of-staff Simon Blewett was emailed within hours of the arrest.

But Mr Blewett says he did not tell Mr Weatherill because he thought the matter already was being dealt with appropriately.

Mr Weatherill says it was not unusual that Mr Blewett took that approach.

“When matters are advised to the office and things are being attended to, how we organise work and notification in the office depends on what we’re told,” he said.

“If we’re told things are being handled it wouldn’t be a matter that would be drawn to my attention.”

Premier under pressure on abuse case

Updated 1 hour 30 minutes ago

The Opposition says it does not accept South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill was not told about a sexual assault case at an Adelaide north-western suburbs primary school in 2010.

An after-school care coordinator was charged with child sex abuse two years ago and convicted last February, but parents were only formally told last Friday.

The Premier, who was education minister at the time of the case, insists he was not told, but his office was.

Opposition frontbencher David Pisoni says an email was sent to six people about the case, but the names of four have not been disclosed.

“I think we need to know exactly who was told and why it is that, of six people that were included in this email, not one single person thought to tell the minister about the rape of an eight-year-old in a government school,” he said.

The Government says all questions will be answered for an independent inquiry headed by retired Supreme Court judge Bruce Debelle.

Meanwhile, Scouts SA says convicted paedophile Mark Christopher Harvey was a volunteer with the organisation for more than 20 years.

CEO of the organisation Dan Ryan said there was no record of Harvey, 41, having offended during his time as a leader at Semaphore.

He said Harvey left Scouts SA at the end of 2010.

“We first became aware earlier this year, when indeed the charges were laid or he was found guilty and jailed,” he said.

“Most often than not the police are very good in South Australia – they will, if they know he’s a member of ours, they will pick up the telephone and give us a heads up.”

Former judge to head paedophile probe

Posted 5 minutes ago

Education Minister Grace Portolesi says former justice Bruce Debelle is being appointed to review an after-school care paedophile case.

The minister has been under political pressure since it emerged children had been in the care of a now-convicted paedophile Mark Christopher Harvey, 41, at an Adelaide northern suburbs school.

Ms Portolesi told State Parliament her department’s silence to parents had been based on police advice.

But police swiftly contradicted that suggestion, leading the minister to order an independent investigation.

After-school care paedophile angers parent

By politics reporter Angelique Johnson, ABC Updated October 30, 2012, 3:55 pm

A mother whose two children attended after-school care in Adelaide’s north-western suburbs says she is angry the Education Department failed to tell parents the students had been supervised by a now-convicted paedophile.

Mark Christopher Harvey, 41, was sentenced last February to six years in jail for sexually abusing a young girl attending the care program.

A mother – who cannot be identified – says she was told Harvey quit his position because of ill-health and she did not find out about his conviction until after the matter went through the courts.

She says her two children have since made allegations against Harvey, which police are investigating, and she is demanding to know why the school and the Education Department did not inform parents when charges were first laid.

“For me to find out that my children were in care of a paedophile and I had to find out through my children over a year after it happened, that’s wrong,” she said.

After school carer jailed for sex abuse

Posted Fri Feb 10, 2012 7:51am AEDT

The managing director of an out-of-hours school care program has been jailed for sexually abusing a young girl in his care.

The Adelaide District Court heard Mark Christopher Harvey, 41, of Largs North had unlawful sexual intercourse with the girl in December 2010, while she was attending the care program.

Judge Mark Griffin said Harvey’s crime was a shocking breach of a position of trust.

The judge said it was important Harvey be treated for his paedophilia.

He sentenced him to six years’ jail with a non-parole term of two years.