February 20, 2005

Boys' sex acts 'not unusual'

The Advertiser

By Nigel Hunt
A PSYCHOLOGIST has described the handling of a major sexual misconduct incident at a top Adelaide private school as "appalling".

It has emerged that Adelaide's St Peter's College staff told parents of two boys involved in a sexual incident with two others last year that such behaviour was "not unusual" among young boys.

The Year 7 boys were playing "truth or dare", which led to two of them performing sexual acts on the others.

Adelaide psychologist Paul Kassapidis, who has treated two of the boys, said he had been "particularly disturbed" by the school's reaction.

He had sent a letter to then acting principal Reverend Michael Whiting, questioning its response and attitude.

"The details of these assaults were quite disturbing and I feel ethically compelled to draw to your attention that the school's response, as conveyed to me, was quite appalling with particular reference made by senior teaching staff advising both lads that the behaviours experienced were somehow 'not uncommon' and age-appropriate sexual experimentation," the letter says.

It says the boys' actions "are most certainly not typical behaviours experienced by twelve-year-old boys and I am particularly disturbed that this view was expressed by senior staff and the school counsellor." Mr Kassapidis yesterday declined to comment on the case because of client confidentiality. In the past two years, the school's handling of abuse cases has been under intense scrutiny, including the inquiry into the Anglican Church's handling of child abuse cases that led to the resignation of Archbishop Ian George.

Posted by kshaw at February 20, 2005 08:14 AM