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Published: 19 February 2020
Author: Jessica Steele and Ron Pearce

Camberwell Grammar School – where some students report learning fear

Over the years, Camberwell Grammar School, also known as Camberwell Church of England Grammar School, has joined the ranks of prestigious schools to be rocked by allegations of historical child abuse.

Early warning of the horrors to come

In his testimony to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual abuse, Max Howell, former Deputy Headmaster of Camberwell Grammar School until approximately 1965, indicated that he was aware during his tenure of rumours of sexual impropriety on the school grounds involving a master’s conduct towards his students. Mr Howell gave evidence that these rumours were brought to the attention of the Headmaster and that the master in question was consequently dismissed.

Despite this warning to the School, it seems that little was done subsequently to prevent teachers from abusing young students, and history went on to repeat itself.

Trevor Alan Spurritt – paedophile masked as teacher and carer

In 2017, former Camberwell Grammar teacher Trevor Alan Spurritt was charged with 14 counts of historical indecent assault involving seven males. Some of the victims were students, whom he abused on school camps and in classrooms during the 1960s and 1970s.

In August 2019, Spurritt was found guilty of nine charges of indecent assault against boys under the age of 16 years. The initial guilty verdict was subject to a suppression order, with a second trial due to commence, however, this was later dismissed. On 12 February 2020, Spurritt was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of five years and eight months, but must serve at least three years before being eligible for parole.

RCT Law's Abuse Law practice acts for a number of survivors of abuse at Camberwell Grammar.

RCT Law specialises in civil claims for compensation for physical or sexual abuse that occurred in an institutional setting.

RCT Law is the largest Abuse Law practice in Victoria. Since the early 1990s, we have acted for more than 3,000 clients who have suffered physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, cultural abuse and/or neglect.

RCT is a pioneer in representing survivors of sexual and physical abuse. We have acted for abuse survivors for decades, back when legal obstacles made it almost impossible to take claims to court. We are still fierce advocate for the rights of those abused as children now there are fewer legal barriers to take action.

Our first appointment is free and we work on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. Survivors are encouraged to make an enquiry via our website, by email at enquires@rctlaw.com.au or call 1300 366 441.

CORRECTION

An earlier version of this article published on 21 October 2019 stated that the allegations of abuse by Trevor Spurritt dating back four decades had been reported to Camberwell Grammar and Victoria Police at the time of the offending. This is incorrect.

An earlier version of this article published on 21 October 2019 incorrectly referenced Trevor Spurritt as having engaged in grooming behaviours with his students and encouraging students to play strip poker with him on camp. This is incorrect.

We apologise for the factual inaccuracies.

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