But was he registered?

A man alleged to have committed sex crimes against children in Australia was presumed dead has actually been teaching in New Zealand for 40 years.

A teacher accused of abusing boys he taught in Tasmania in the late 1960s, has been found living in the Manawatu more than four decades after he evaded arrest and quit Australia.

Ronald Thomas, 77, has retired after teaching in New Zealand for four decades, The Australian newspaper reported.

The New Zealand Teachers’ Council confirmed he had taught here, and was seeking his file.

New Zealand police were also investigating whether he had been the subject of complaints.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse was told he habitually and violently abused boys when he was a young music teacher at Hobart’s elite Hutchins School in the late 1960s.

Police had given evidence he confessed to child abuse in 1970, but fled to South Africa days before he could be arrested, ending the investigation.

The commission later named Thomas, as it considered he had died.   

Tracked down near Bulls by The Australian, Thomas rejected allegations, made in sworn evidence to the commission, of sexual abuse levelled by two former students of the Anglican boys’ school.

He said he had not made any confession or admission to police when interviewed in 1970, and there was never any question he would be arrested.

He did not flee to South Africa, but left Australia for a job in Western Samoa, at the end of the 1970 school year, he said.

A witness whose name was suppressed told the commission he was repeatedly sexually abused by several teachers, including Thomas, while a student at Hutchins in the mid to late 1960s.

“While I was playing the piano, he (Mr Thomas) would grab my penis and would often rub himself up against me,” the witness told the commission.

Another witness told a similar story. Both reported psychological damage as a result.

When The Australian provided Thomas their witness statements he insisted there was “no truth” in them.

He criticised the commission for failing to find him, assuming he was dead and for naming him.

Police at the time of the investigator said Thomas and another teacher were “likely to be arrested” but when he returned to “formally arrest” them they had fled overseas.

Seems a very strange case.


– Fairfax


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  • Gaynor

    Is the other teacher here as well?