A Perth jury has found a former music teacher at an exclusive boys' school guilty of repeatedly sexually abusing a teenage student in the 1980s.
The District Court jury took less than four hours today to convict Lindsay Hutchinson, 63, of 12 charges, including carnal knowledge against nature, unlawful and indecent assault and indecent dealing with a child.
Hutchinson pleaded guilty to three indecent dealing charges, involving touching the victim between 1984 and 1985, but denied the more serious charges, including rape.
Hutchinson was the music teacher at Christ Church Grammar School in Claremont from 1981 to 1985 and an organist at St George's Cathedral.
The jury heard the victim was sexually abused on a school camp, country hotel rooms on music tours, the St George deanery and Hutchinson's own home, but that he felt powerless to stop or report his teacher.
Hutchinson had been convicted in the 1990s of molesting a male student in South Australia and several witnesses, who were former Christ Church, gave evidence at this trial of inappropriate sexual touching and behaviour from Hutchinson, including taking photographs of boys in a fake speedo competition.
Those allegations did not form any of the charges.
Hutchinson was extradited from Melbourne in 2011 to face the charges after the victim reported the abuse in 2010 - 25 years after the offending stopped.
Closing the State's case yesterday, prosecutor David Davidson said Hutchinson engaged in "brazen, blatant and risky" behaviour with the victim, who he "chose" because he was attracted to the teenage boy, who was 13 and 14 at the time, and his "urges" needed to be "fed".
Mr Davidson said the offending was so significant, the victim could not have concocted it.
"Very traumatic things stay with you until you draw your last breath," he said.
Defence lawyer Mara Barone questioned the credibility of the victim's memory.
"(His) memories are borne out of loathing, hurt and pain," she said.
Ms Barone said her client had a sexual interest in young boys and "touching" was his "fetish", and argued there was not much proof he had sexually penetrated the victim.
Hutchison was remanded in custody and will be sentenced in April.
In a statement today, Christ Church Grammar School headmaster Garth Wynne expressed the school’s deep sorrow for the victim’s pain and suffering, but applauded his courage for coming forward as well as other former students involved in the case.
“Lindsay Hutchinson, who left the school some 27 years ago after four years of employment, is solely responsible for his abhorrent crimes and quite rightly deserves to face justice. The school has been uncompromising in doing all that it can to assist police in its prosecution of these matters,” he said.
The victim, who was in court yesterday to hear the verdicts, told the jury last week that in 1991 he went to see Canon Frank Sheehan, the school’s chaplain and director of ethics, and after confessing to being sexually abused claimed Canon Sheehan told him to “forget about it and put it behind me.”
In another statement today, Canon Sheehan, who is still employed at the school, emphatically denied ever telling the abused man to “forget about” what had happened.
He said he fully supported the efforts of the victim and the father of another student to “expose” Hutchinson for his “disgraceful crimes”. Canon Sheehan said he remembered telling the man that he believed he was telling the truth and reassured him he had done the right thing in speaking out.
“The sexual abuse of vulnerable people by those in authority is something I abhor. I have never and will never hesitate to actively assist in providing support to victims in exposing such horrible crimes,” he said.
Canon Sheehan said he talked about the allegations with a senior staff member, who believed the matter was being taken to the police by the father of a former student. He said he repeatedly tried to contact the victim after his meeting, but was unsuccessful.Mr Wynne said Canon Sheehan had the school’s full confidence and support.
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