Provest demands answers over teacher sex abuse claims

Tweed MP Geoff Provest has asked for an investigation into claims of sex abuse at three Tweed schools following a My Daily News report last week.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest has asked for an investigation into claims of sex abuse at three Tweed schools following a My Daily News report last week. Blainey Woodham

TWEED State MP Geoff Provest has asked the police and education departments to investigate allegations of sexual and physical abuse made against a teacher who taught at three Tweed primary schools from the late 1980s.

Mr Provest has revealed he knows the teacher at the centre of the allegations reported by My Daily News on Saturday as the man who taught his own children at Centaur Primary School.

He said he was deeply concerned about the claims made by Banora Point resident Fiona Barnett also includes allegations that the police failed to properly follow up the claims.

As reported by My Daily News on Saturday, Ms Barnett appeared before the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse last Wednesday.

The 43-year-old said she was questioned for two hours by two commissioners and a lawyer in Brisbane after submitting a 27-page report outlining accounts of abuse at Murwillumbah East Public School's Special Education Unit, Tweed Heads South Public School and Centaur Primary School.

The document included 12 signed witness statements from teachers, parents and former students, which Ms Barnett had gathered.

It also included a letter dated March 2006 from Jill Carlon, Chief Investigator for Employee Performance and Conduct of the Department of Education and Training, sent to concerned Tweed Shire parents stating that as a result of an investigation into the teacher "steps have been taken to ensure that the person will no longer be employed or involved in school, TAFE or student-related activities".

Ms Barnett believes there were at least 20 victims of the teacher but that was likely to be the tip of the iceberg.

Mr Provest said he took a full statement from Ms Barnett after meeting with her for 1.5 hours on the weekend and has referred her allegations to the relevant departments.

"It will go through the channels now," he said.

After nine years of intense work to expose the teacher and related paedophile activities, Ms Barnett said she was optimistic progress was being made.

"I think it's starting to snowball and getting to the point we can't turn back," Ms Barnett said.

My Daily News has not named the teacher for legal reasons.

Topics:  geoff provest royal commission tweed schools

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Artist's 43-metre Gold Coast mural

AWESOME: Street artist Guido van Helten will paint on a 10-storey building at Southern Cross University's Gold Coast Campus.

Big art comes to Gold Coast Campus

Music is life... so play on Elizabeth

SHOWSTOPPER: Elizabeth Swain ready to celebrate her 80th birthday this weekend.

Festival of Elizabeth in Brunswick Heads.

Local Partners