Sex abuse secrecy

WESTBURY Primary School parents were not told by the Education Department that allegations of child sexual abuse had been made against a school volunteer.

Allegations against the school's breakfast club volunteer and Order of Australia recipient Desmond John Jarvis were first raised in late 2012. 

The department says Jarvis was immediately stood down from his role. 

In January this year Jarvis was jailed for six weeks for indecently assaulting a Westbury Primary School pupil by  tongue-kissing her and touching her breasts off school grounds. 

Jarvis had got to know the girl through the school's breakfast club.

Last month the 71-year-old was found not guilty of offering a child $10 in return for sex on school grounds in a separate case.

According to the school association, parents were not informed about the allegations even after some had been proven in court. 

 However, association member Konrad Chung  backed the process followed by the school and the  Education Department. 

``It didn't happen at school so it's not a school issue, so parents don't need to be told,'' he said. 

``It's not even mentioned at school, (there's) no talk of it at school, so parents aren't even concerned.''

According to a department spokeswoman, the school was guided by legal advice and ideas of  natural justice  in deciding not to inform parents.

The department instead deferred to the grapevine, saying it ``was well known in the school community that an accusation had been made against the volunteer''.

At the time of Jarvis's almost decade-long involvement with the school, he had no criminal history.

Jarvis had also been subject to a current good character check that  included a National Police Check by the department. 

The department's general manager of Learning Services North, Laurie Andrew, said student safety was always the highest priority at the school. 

``The principal immediately advised the volunteer that they could no longer volunteer at the school, and school staff were made aware that the volunteer was not to come on to school premises,'' he said. 

``Support was provided through Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. The school also ran a protective behaviours program for all students at the school.''

The school association was advised that the principal was being subpoenaed in a court case and was told of the charges against the volunteer in late 2013.

Jarvis, who founded the school's breakfast club for disadvantaged pupils, received an OAM in 2004 for volunteering. 

pbillings@examiner.com.au

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