Investigation underway into St Bedes rector’s conduct

An investigation is under way into why a teacher was allowed to continue working at St Bede’s College after sexual abuse allegations surfaced against him.

In spite of confessing to sexually abusing Peter Boock in the 1960s, former St Bede’s teacher Robin Pettit was allowed to continue teaching at the college until retiring in 2015.

An Education Council spokeswoman said yesterday it had “received a complaint about the matter recently and we are in the early stages of an investigation”, but would not comment further.

Mr Boock’s concerns regarding the school’s reaction in light of the abuse being revealed was considered at a meeting of the St Bede’s board of trustees on Monday, reported Radio New Zealand.

A St Bede’s spokeswoman told The Star yesterday the college was unable to comment due to the matter being investigated by the Education Council.

Mr Boock told St Bede’s rector Justin Boyle of the abuse in 2011, and is calling for Mr Boyle’s resignation over his inaction in light of the claims.

Mr Boock said he had hoped for an admission by Mr Boyle of a “profound error of judgement”, and that the board of trustees would have acted on that.

“Mr Boyle enabled a self-confessed child sex abuser to keep teaching boys at the school. That is indefensible,” Mr Boock said. Mr Boock told the Otago Daily Times earlier this month that Mr Pettit had abused him in Dunedin over a period of about nine months between 1967 and 1968.

Mr Boock was 13 at the time, while Mr Pettit was a 19-year-old student.

While Mr Boock revealed details of the historic offending to Mr Boyle in 2011, Mr Pettit was allowed to remain at the college for four more years.

The decision was defended by Mr Boyle, who maintained the proper process had been followed and accepted by Mr Boock at the time.

The Network of Survivors of Abuse in Faith-based Institutions and their supporters are also calling for Mr Boyle to resign over his handling of the allegations.

Group spokesman Murray Heasley said it was “untenable for Mr Boyle to continue in his duties” after he enabled the confessed “child sex offender to continue teaching students.”

RESIGN: Peter Boock says he wants St Bedes College rector Justin Boyle to resign over his handling of sexual abuse allegations.

St Bedes College rector Justin Boyle