St Kevin’s College director Stephen Russell (photo) wrote a glowing reference letter for convicted sex offender and former coach Peter Kehoe prior to his 2015 sentence. Mr. Russell resigned on Wednesday
The director of an elite school in Melbourne involved in a childcare scandal has resigned and the head of the sport has been resigned.
In a letter to parents on Wednesday, St Kevin’s College Director Stephen Russell said that student welfare was his top priority and “the current situation means the best way to achieve this is to resign.”
The resignation comes after Mr. Russell and head of sports Luke Travers have written glowing character references for Peter Kehoe in court, as revealed in an explosive report from ABC’s Four Corners.
Kehoe, a former running coach at the $ 19,000-a-year school, was convicted of taking care of a student under the age of 16 in 2015.
Headmaster and Dean of Sport at Elite Melbourne private boys’ school St Kevin’s College (photo) have been accused of cleaning up with an athletics coach after allegations of childcare have been made by a student
The childcare worker said he had no comment about the controversy and claimed that he was the victim of intimidation when he was approached by The Australian.
He threatened to “file a complaint with the police regarding (sic) harassment” if the publication contacted him again.
A St. Kevin spokesperson said that Mr. Russell’s resignation was immediate.
The sports dean of St. Kevin, Mr. Travers, has also been withdrawn pending an investigation.
Mr. Russell said he was grateful to the school community of St Kevin for the “24 years of cherishing” he and his family had received.
“I wish my best wishes and encouragement to the current student group to be good people, like so many who have gone before them in recent decades,” Mr. Russell wrote.
The director praised his colleagues for their hard work and said: “Thanks to their loyalty, dedication and discernment we have been able to create the beautiful school that St. Kevin is today.”
Mr. Russell thanked his family for their support during his time as headmaster.
“The well-being and safety of my family and long-term happiness have also been factors in my decision,” he said in the letter.
Mr. Russell was under heavy pressure to resign this week after the ABC had lifted the lid on its character reference for Kehoe.
Peter Kehoe received a two-year assignment for community corrections and 100 hours of community work.
Mr. Russell and Mr. Travers wrote references to the court character for Mr. Kehoe.
Former running coach of Peter Kehoe of St. Kevin was sentenced in April 2015 and sentenced to a community promotion
Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA), the St. Kevin’s governing body, confirmed that John Crowley would take over.
Crowley, currently the director of St Patrick’s College in Ballarat, will be headmaster until the end of the 2020 school year.
The EREA statement released on Wednesday added that Mr. Travers had formally resigned “pending further investigation into issues raised during the Four Corners program.” No replacement has been mentioned for Mr Travers.
The student was in year 9 when his athletics coach Peter Kehoe started sending him disturbing messages on Facebook.
They included telling the boy that he loved him and said that his thighs were “beautiful” and that he was “the best since sliced bread.”
When the victim, now 20, said he had a Japanese oral presentation, Kehoe replied, “That’s not the only oral thing you should do.”
The schoolboy also said that Kehoe commented on chocolate milk dripping over his face, making him feel “tense.”
The most traumatic incident occurred one day after training, when Kehoe invited the boy to his house to view old yearbooks.
Luke Travers, the dean of sport, also provided evidence to support Kehoe during the trial. He was dropped off awaiting an investigation
“It was probably one of the scariest times of my life,” the boy told ABC’s Four corners.
The student only escaped the nervous situation when his mother called and Kehoe had to drive him home.
The boy and his mother went to the police after the incident and Kehoe was accused of counting a child under the age of 16.
The schoolboy left the school while the case was being dealt with in court.
Bravely discussing how he became a victim of childcare, he said “everything changed in my life” from the moment he interviewed the police.
The school has issued a statement that “the care and development of students, staff, and the wider St. Kevin community is and has always been our first priority.”
“The actions of Peter Kehoe were completely unacceptable and St Kevin’s College strongly condemns them. After his conviction, he was immediately denied access to the school or had any contact with the college or her students, “it was said.
Athletic coach Peter Kehoe sent disturbing messages to the student of Year 9 (photo: models of the messages he sent)
Messages include the boy he loved and said his thighs were “beautiful” and that he was “the best since sliced bread”
“For legal reasons, St Kevin’s College is unable to comment further at this time.”
Prior to the release of Four Corners’ exposé, Mr. Russell wrote a letter to parents warning him that the course would appear on the program but did not go into detail.
“Dear parents and guardians,” the letter provided to 3AW begins.
“We are aware that St Kevin’s College will be featured in an ABC Four Corners program. It will probably be broadcast on 17 February.
‘We thought it was important to inform our parents about this program.
“We are currently seeking professional advice and will be better able to respond and communicate with you again once we have seen the actual program.”
The leader of the prestigious Catholic school then promised that children would receive “support” in the aftermath of the television report.
“Our students will be supported and spoken the day after the program at addresses and meetings suitable for their age,” he continued.
Kehoe (photo) was sentenced and sentenced to a community promotion in April 2015
“It would be inappropriate to comment further until then. In the meantime, you can be sure that, as always, caring for our students is our first priority. “
Last October St Kevin’s College got into controversy after a video surfaced of students singing a sexist song in a tram.
The school responded by immediately suspending the students involved, but a second video came to light several days later from students still performing an x-rated rap.
After the leaked videos had generated negative publicity, a former student spoke out against the “misogynistic culture” that he believed was deeply rooted in the boys’ school.
St Kevin’s College, founded in 1918, is a leading Catholic boys’ school in Toorak, the most expensive suburb of Melbourne.
The student filed a civil claim at the school last year.
St Kevin’s College Toorak, founded in 1918, is a leading Catholic boys’ school