Culture of cover-up at Trinity: father

The responses of Sydney schools to sex abuse by students will be heard at the abuse royal commission (AAP)

A distraught father of a former Trinity Grammar School student who was raped with a hand-made wooden dildo says the school promotes a culture of cover-up.

A culture of cover-up was at the centre of a top Sydney school's response to a boy who was raped with an assortment of pole-like implements, the abuse royal commission has heard.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse began fresh hearings on Thursday in Sydney, this time casting a spotlight on schools' responses to children with "problematic or harmful sexual behaviours".

Prestigious Anglican school Trinity Grammar, in the inner-western suburb of Summer Hill, is the first of several schools to come under the inquiry's spotlight over the next two weeks.

The commission heard of two boys in the school's boarding house in 2000 who reported they had been repeatedly "raped" with a range of implements that their attackers had nicknamed the Anaconda, the Excalibur and the Dagger.

The items were kept under one of the boys' beds, the commission heard.

The father of one boy, named CLA, gave evidence on Thursday that on his son's birthday, his son was bound with tape and raped with a wooden dildo, which one of his attackers had made in woodwork class.

Speaking through tears, the father said his son had endured at least 50 such attacks.

It was a similar story for another boy, called CLB, who gave a statement to the school counsellor that he was raped about 50 times with "pole-like" implements such as saucepan handles and cricket bats.

Counsellor Katherine Lumdaine - then known as Kate Pearce - told the commission that deputy headmaster Peter Green did not believe CLB's claims.

"He (Peter Green) said to me: If CLB said something happened 50 times, it was probably only 25. He always exaggerates," Ms Lumdaine said.

Despite Ms Lumdaine's efforts to deal with the incidents, she told the commission the school's leadership gave her the impression she should keep her mouth shut.

CLA's father said he and his wife did not find out about the "birthday" incident until at least four weeks after it had happened when his wife received a phone call from a child protection investigation team.

"The school should have contacted us directly, as soon as they reasonably knew that something had happened," he said.

Ms Lumdaine said that the "birthday" attack on CLA had taken place during a lunch break and the boys who did it had left him alone afterwards, legs still bound with tape, and no teachers had came to search for him when he didn't turn up to class.

CLA's father described an unusual meeting with principal Milton Cujes, where he turned up unannounced as they were picking blackberries at a friend's place, asked to pray with them and offered for their son to live with him.

The father said he pushed for a resolution through the courts, rather than "transformative justice" - a kind of mediation process between his son and the students responsible - which Mr Cujes had strongly advocated.

The school ended up settling with the family and paid them $500,000, which they used to pay their legal costs and put their son, who is now 32, through university.

The father said Trinity Grammar teachers had a "beyond normal" loyalty.

"This loyalty I believe prevents teaching staff from being objective and reporting harmful behaviours, instead promoting covering up," he said.

The hearing before Justice Peter McLellan continues on Friday.

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 (for young people aged 5 to 25).

Source AAP

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