Home Australia Katrina Munting was awarded damages after launching a legal fight against the state of Tasmania and former teacher Marcus James Pollard

Katrina Munting was awarded damages after launching a legal fight against the state of Tasmania and former teacher Marcus James Pollard

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Katrina Munting was awarded $2,016,135 in damages after she sued the state and her former teacher

A court has awarded $2 million to a survivor of child sexual abuse in Tasmania following a legal battle over the extent of the state’s liability.

Katrina Munting was abused by her science teacher Marcus James Pollard while she was a student at a Hobart secondary school in the late 1990s.

Pollard pleaded guilty in 2020 to persistent sexual abuse of a juvenile and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Ms Munting launched a civil action against Pollard and the state of Tasmania for damages, saying she had failed to reach her full potential.

In a ruling on Monday, the Supreme Court of Tasmania awarded Ms Munting a total of $2,016,135 after a trial that concluded in March 2023.

The State had accepted indirect responsibility for Pollard’s abuse, but Ms Munting argued that its level of responsibility was higher.

Katrina Munting was awarded $2,016,135 in damages after she sued the state and her former teacher

“While this is a very satisfactory outcome, no amount of money will remove the harm caused by my abuser and his enablers,” Ms Munting told the court on Monday.

‘I finally get the State to be accountable for its failures. For him to be one of his employees and for them to be spectators.

“They knew it and did nothing.”

Judge David Porter found the abuse was specifically reported to the school’s then headteacher and senior figures in the education department in February 2000.

Marcus James Pollard (pictured) was sentenced to three years in prison

Marcus James Pollard (pictured) was sentenced to three years in prison

Shortly after, Pollard was “effectively suspended” and resigned in April 2000.

Tasmania Police were not notified and no complaints were made to them until Ms Munting commenced criminal proceedings in November 2018.

Pollard also breached his duty of care by engaging in retributive and vindictive behavior following the sexual misconduct, Judge Porter ruled.

The judge described Mrs Munting as an excellent student who was involved in many aspects of school life.

He has experienced considerable psychological suffering over many years, has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, has periods of dissociation and takes antidepressants and other medications, the court heard.

Ms Munting told the civil trial she was offered a PhD at the University of Tasmania but turned it down because Pollard was teaching there at the time.

She said she decided to become a teacher so she could protect children.

“I’m here for my case, but I’m also here for a large number of other victim-survivors who for many reasons cannot appear before (the court),” he said.

Katrina Munting (right) was supported by her husband Danny (left) in court on Monday.

Katrina Munting (right) was supported by her husband Danny (left) in court on Monday.

‘They will also get only a small amount of healing from that.

‘I hope the State takes this case and thinks very carefully about the approach they took and what they put me through.

“I hope it inspires them to change.”

Pollard and the state were ordered to pay $1,976,135; the state was also forced to pay aggravated damages of $15,000 and Pollard $25,000 in exemplary damages.

About $1.38 million of the figure covers Ms. Munting’s loss of past and future earning capacity.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Support Service for Reparation and Sexual Abuse 1800 211 028

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