It has always been one of the great mysteries of the Kevin Lynch paedophile scandal at Brisbane Grammar.
How was it that Lynch, the school’s unusual student counsellor, was able to commit his abuse at Grammar for so long without anyone in authority being tipped off?
The abuse was thought to have occurred on almost industrial scale within Grammar’s grounds in school time when dozens of teachers were on duty.
A number of his victims have alleged they complained directly to teachers at the school over the years.
But until now, no former or current teacher from Grammar has ever gone public to admit receiving a complaint – something that could have major implications for the multitude of compensation claims the school has faced.
As a member of the investigative reporting team that uncovered the Lynch scandal in 2000, I interviewed Francis along with other former teachers at the school as we journalists sought to stand up allegations which at the time were being vigorously rejected by many.
Francis, who had left the school, agreed to speak only off the record.
He confirmed he had some knowledge of a complaint.
But he stressed that the information be treated confidentially for a number of reasons including concerns for the unknown situation of the complainant.
His admission, while off the record, was important as it provided another layer of corroboration of Lynch’s crimes enabling the first articles about the abuse to be published – some of which alluded to students trying to report the abuse.
Abiding by the journalistic code of ethics, I respected Francis’ request that his comments were off the record and his name not be published and hoped that he would one day make a public statement.
It has taken a number of years and the protection of the royal commission for him to stand up and do so and it will be welcomed by victims as better late than never.
Even though it has arrived late, his statement should now serve as an example to others who may have had received complaints about Lynch’s conduct and embolden them to come forward, as such admissions can still help Lynch’s many terribly damaged victims.
Rory Callinan was a member of the investigative three person reporting team that won a Queensland media award for investigative journalism for revealing the Lynch abuse. He is a former Brisbane Grammar student.