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Lawyer warns media over coverage of claims ag -

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ELEANOR HALL: The sexual assault case against a former priest at one of the country's leading
boarding schools could be prejudiced by media coverage of the story.

That's the warning today from the defendant's lawyer, as reports emerge that the New South Wales
police are investigating allegations from 13 former students of Bathurst's St Stanislaus' College.

The 65-year-old former priest was arrested in May and charged with 33 counts of sexual assault and
gross indecency.

He's alleged to have committed the crimes in the late 1970s and early 1980s, on boys aged between
10 and 18.

David Mark has our story.

DAVID MARK: Bathurst - 200 kilometres west of Sydney is Australia's oldest inland settlement.

It became a prominent regional centre when grazing expanded beyond the Blue Mountains and then
boomed during the 1850s gold rush.

With that money background it became home to some of Australia's oldest and most prestigious
boarding schools, among them St Stanislaus' College.

Among the old boys are former International Rugby Union players, and a Young Australian of the

But the school's proud reputation has been damaged by serious charges laid against a former priest.

Superintendent Michael Goodwin is the local area commander at the Bathurst-based Chifley Command.

MICHAEL GOODWIN: Last year Bathurst detectives established strike force Heador where our
allegations of a sexual nature were investigated in relation to a former student of a college in
the Bathurst area.

As a result of those allegations, a 65-year-old Sydney man was charged in May this year with 33

DAVID MARK: The 33 charges of sexual assault and gross acts of indecency initially related to
allegations against five boys in the late 70s and early 80s.

MICHAEL GOODWIN: We've established five victims from our initial inquiries and subsequent to that
we've had a further eight people come forward so at this stage were looking at 13 victims and who
are co-operating with the police at this stage.

DAVID MARK: The school's headmaster, John Edwards, says a search warrant was served on the school
in July.

JOHN EDWARDS: That listed the names of a number of former students and the names of three former
staff members. We've assisted police in their enquiries in this matter.

DAVID MARK: Can you tell me whether those other two staff members were teachers?

JOHN EDWARDS: One of them was a former teacher at the school, and the other person worked in other
capacities at the school.

DAVID MARK: This morning's Daily Telegraph newspaper lists some of the allegations against the
defendant in some detail.

Superintendent Michael Goodwin.

MICHAEL GOODWIN: Yes, well I'm aware of what's in the media at the moment, however I can say that
the police aren't... the origin of those allegations but what I can say is that it's a very
sensitive investigation that is currently before the court and there is also the ongoing
investigation which we have to clarify with statements from victims.

So I don't intend at this stage to go into the intricacies of what were alleging, due to the, as I
said, the sensitive nature of it.

DAVID MARK: The solicitor representing the former priest, Greg Walsh, says the paper's reportage
has damaged his client's case

GREG WALSH: I was gravely concerned because what it does, it suggests the particular accused in
this case is already guilty. This is a mass contaminated case, it's one in which, I just, sincerely
hope the police properly investigate it so as to ensure that justice is done.

DAVID MARK: The school's headmaster, John Edwards, acknowledges the school's reputation has been

JOHN EDWARDS: I think it is damaging to the extent that it's a matter of grave concern that
allegations of this type have been made. If indeed they have taken place, it's a totally repellent
set of actions that have taken place at this school. It would be a cause of great concern that
people have been harmed in those ways.

But the issue at point is, I think it is absolutely a requirement for this matter to be open, for
this matter to be addressed and for this matter to be resolved.

This school is very concerned to ensure that children are treated well and their interests are

And I think if it's an open matter, anyone who has issues to come forward should bring them
forward, it should be addressed comprehensively.

DAVID MARK: The case will be back before the court on the 15th of September.

ELEANOR HALL: David Mark reporting.