Revelations that a Launceston General Hospital paediatric nurse allegedly sexually abused children for decades has sent shockwaves throughout the community.
The Examiner revealed late last year that a 69-year-old Legana man had been accused of extensive child sexual abuse and molestation offences across Launceston.
He had evaded detection for 26 years before being formally charged in October 2019.
Due to legal restrictions in Tasmania at the time, the man's name could not be published.
But this week that changed when James Geoffrey Griffin was identified publicly as the offender.
Griffin died less than a month after the charges were announced, and before he stood trial.
He had worked on the children's ward at the LGH since 2001, volunteered as a sports trainer at local organisations and been an ambulance officer with the Tasmanian Ambulance Service.
Griffin's 2019 charges
- Eight counts of indecent assault
- Distribution of child exploitation material
- Involve person under 18 years in production of child exploitation material
- Produce child exploitation material
- Possess child exploitation material
- Maintain a sexual relationship with a young person
Health industry watchdog AHPRA said it became aware of the allegations on August 1, 2019.
"In response, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia proposed to suspend Griffin's registration," AHPRA said.
Griffin surrendered his registration a week later on August 8, 2019.
Beyond Abuse founder and survivor Steve Fisher, who has been involved in numerous child sex offence inquiries, called for the state government to step in and find out how Griffin was able to avoid detection for so long.
"It raises so many red flags that this has slipped through. We need to know why, and victims need to know why," Mr Fisher said.
"The only way I see forward is for the state government to step up. The Premier should order the health minister to order the hospital to release any documents.
"Something has to happen. We need every document and maybe even to go as far as a commission or inquiry. I imagine the government will be open to everything. They would be horrified."
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Mr Fisher said the case was one of the worst he had heard.
"This is just one of those stories you hear about once every 20 years," he said.
"I'll guarantee there are hundreds and hundreds of victims that have been abused by this disgusting pedophile."
Health Minister Sarah Courtney said the government acted swiftly after the charges were laid against Griffin.
"I have been assured the Tasmanian Health Service took immediate action following the suspension of this individual's registration to work with vulnerable people," Ms Courtney said.
"I have asked the Secretary of the Department of Health to examine the THS's policies and processes relating to these issues, as well as with respect to this particular case."
Griffin was named as part of a podcast released by Camille Bianchi, a journalist who formerly worked in the Launceston area.
Ms Bianchi worked on the podcast for nine months after receiving a tip off last year, and is still working towards its culmination.
Ms Bianchi said her hope was the podcast would receive a different reception now laws have been passed enabling victims to name their abusers.
"It is timely because the laws have caught up. The laws have changed and there are more options," Ms Bianchi said.
The podcast, called "The Nurse", was released on Tuesday and can be listened to here.
National sexual assault support: 1800 RESPECT, Laurel House (03) 6334 2740 (Launceston), (03) 6431 9711 (Burnie and Devonport), Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS) on 1800 697 877.
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