Woman Lost Job to Act over Abuse

By Nick Henderson
The Advertiser [Australia]
July 15, 2006,5936,19791564%5E2682,00.html

A Woman forced to quit her school job so she could alert authorities to a teacher's sexual abuse of students has slammed the SA Catholic education system for inaction over her concerns.

Jenny Christall, a former education support officer at Port Pirie's St Mark's College, said she had been ignored when she told the school and Catholic authorities about sex abuse being perpetrated by religious education teacher Sunil Francis Clark in 2001.

Three years later, she had been forced to quit her job to circumvent a workplace confidentiality agreement and expose Clark's abuse, because no one had referred the matter to police.

In the District Court yesterday, Clark was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison, with a non-parole period of three years, after admitting having sex with two schoolgirls.

Clark engaged in sexual acts with the girls at his house and in classrooms, which Judge Wayne Chivell yesterday said constituted "sexual exploitation" of the girls.

Mrs Christall was the first person to alert the school and Port Pirie diocese to the abuse.

Yesterday, she told The Advertiser she had "lost everything" after coming forward and had been banned from teaching at more than 100 Catholic schools in SA.

"All this was ever about was getting Mr Clark unable to have contact with kids anymore," she said.

A statement released by Catholic Education Port Pirie said: "The Catholic Church in South Australia continually reminds its community that if anyone has information or suspicions about criminal or other inappropriate behaviour by any church personnel they should provide that information directly to the South Australian police without delay."


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.