The Advertiser, August 22, 1998

Court action over school punishment
By Fiona Clark

A MAN is suing the Christian Brothers, claiming the corporal punishment he endured as a student in the 1960s has left him permanently psychologically scarred.

The man, now in his 40s, has lodged documents with the District Court alleging he was abused by a teacher at a private school run by the religious order.

It is claimed the man now has a fear of authority and a difficulty in forming relationships.

He says he has never held down steady work.

He is paranoid, hostile and suffers from depression and mood swings.

In particular, it is claimed he has difficulty dealing with supervisors.

As well as suing the individual teacher, the man is also suing the Christian Brothers as the proprietors of the college at which he was a student.

The court documents allege a number of occasions of abuse by the same teacher, in class and out.

For legal reasons, alleged details within the documents cannot be published.

The normal time limit for legal action has expired, given that the events occurred more than 30 years ago.

However, the documents say the alleged link between the man's current behavioral and psychological problems and his school years was uncovered only in 1996 when he received treatment.

The man is seeking damages, interests and costs, claiming the school owed a duty of care to protect him and ensure the teacher was properly trained and behaving appropriately.

The teacher is accused of behaving in a way "not proper or reasonable in the context of teaching students".

Alleging the teacher could be liable for assault and battery, the documents claim many of the teacher's acts were "calculated to cause physical harm to the plaintiff".

The damages order sought from the court is requested to be of an interim nature pending the medical and psychological assessment of the full ramifications of the teacher's alleged behavior.

No defence documents have yet been filed with the court.

The case will be in court again next month.

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