We have run a series of exclusive articles on this site in recent days exposing the life and crimes of a News Corporation ‘journalist’ named Grant Stockwell (above), a criminal with a history of criminal offences spanning 25 years, including convictions for drug possession and production, violent assaults (including on police officers), and breaches of community service orders.
Today we can exclusively reveal that despite possessing this highly concerning criminal record, in 2015 Stockwell – who is unable to obtain a Blue Card required by people working with children – was engaged as a media contractor by the exclusive Sheldon College, an independent school based in Redland City, south-east of Brisbane.
Under the terms of his contract with Sheldon College – a multi-age educational facility catering for children aged from 15 months through to Year 12, that charges tuition fees of between $10 000 – $12 000 a year – Stockwell was required to and did work on campus for a minimum of 2 days per week; took part in all Board and Executive Team meetings under the direction of Dr Lyn Bishop, the school’s founder and current Principal; and represented the school at off-site meetings with partners, agencies and government regulatory bodies such as Education Queensland.
In his role Stockwell was responsible for the preparation and production of both the Sheldon College newsletter and all of the school’s social media output, including the official college Facebook page, meaning that he was able to access the sensitive personal details and photographs of children and parents attending the school or using its website or social media pages.
The convicted criminal was also authorised to, and did, take photographs of students for use in the newsletter and on these social media sites, which is of huge concern from a child protection perspective given the nature of subsequent allegations that have been made and reported to police about his conduct around that time with a young child in a regional Queensland area.
What is even more concerning is that at the time of his engagement with the school Stockwell was facing court after being charged with a series of serious alleged crimes including multiple breaches of Domestic Violence Orders, Common Assault on a woman that resulted in extensive facial and other injuries, Serious Assault on a Police Officer, Committing a Public Nuisance, and Assault or Obstructing a Police Officer.
A simple police record check (as above) conducted by the College prior to Stockwell’s engagement would have revealed this highly disturbing information that by any reasonable analysis would and should have disqualified the convicted drug producer and violent offender from employment with children, but it appears that no such checks were attempted or made by Sheldon College management.
In any circumstances this would be a shocking abrogation of responsibility by the College, but the gross neglect by those running the school is even more concerning given that it is one of the very few educational institutions that pays its Board Members for their services, and that these payments impose extended fiduciary responsibilities on the Directors to ensure the proper and lawful of the school and its related subsidiaries and parent body the Sheldon College Foundation.
A check of the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission records reveals that the Directors of Sheldon College, including the founder and Principal Lyn Bishop and her husband Bob, are paid approximately $1000 per two hour meeting in their roles on the Board, and that one of the Directors paid this fee is man named Michael McKay, a former Acting Superintendent in the Queensland Police Force.
So why didn’t Sheldon College conduct a simple police check prior to employing a man facing criminal charges of serious violence against women, children and police officers?
A man that the school allowed on campus at least 2 days a week, and permitted access to the personal information of students and their parents?
A man that school management explicitly allowed nay, asked – to take photographs of vulnerable young children like those he had previously caused irrepairable harm to in his domestic and personal life?
A man who did not hold a Blue Card and could not be granted one?
A man who believed personally (and correctly) that he would never be granted an authorisation to work with children?
A man who believed that he was about to lose his job because of this?
A man who believed that he was going to be (and should have been) sent to prison for his breaches of Domestic Violence Orders?
A man who went to the home of a woman he was legally prohibited from approaching and did this to her.
Why didn’t Sheldon College conduct a police check on this man they allowed – nay, required – to work on the school grounds?
Why did they allow a man facing court on charges of gravity – including a serious assault on a police woman by spitting in her face – to work with children and take photographs of them on and off the school grounds for the better half of the year when he didn’t hold, and couldn’t obtain, the Blue Card required to perform such work?
Questions, questions, questions, all of them extremely serious and concerning.
Here’s another one.
Why, in light of all of the above, were Sheldon College preparing to extend this criminal’s contract even further FIVE MONTHS after he had failed to produce the Blue Card that he didn’t have and would never get?
The College Principal and her handsomely paid Board of Directors have a lot of explaining to do to parents of the school and to Education Queensland.
A hell of a lot of explaining to do.
Love, laughter and learning may well be the school’s motto.
But Stockwell’s victims aren’t laughing.
And nor are we.
Editors note: Dr Lyn Bishop was contacted in the preparation of this story, but failed ove three days to respond to our email request for comment