The last thing a school counsellor should be doing is exacerbating problems or traumatising students further. However, Brisbane Grammar School’s former counsellor, Kevin Lynch, used his unique position of power to abuse dozens of children at the school in the 1980s.
Lynch was a teacher and later a counsellor at Brisbane Grammar School between 1973 and 1988. He went on to complete more “counselling” work at St Paul’s School in Bald Hills from 1989 to 1997.
He was also a follower of the Christian Brothers.
Lynch offered counselling services to Brisbane Grammar School’s students behind two large, soundproof doors with red and green light signals to control student or teacher access, and had stocks of baby oil, tissues and towels which he used to wipe up semen.
He was never questioned about his unorthodox office set-up. According to former Deputy Principal David Coote, Lynch was trusted to do the right thing and there was nothing wrong with their monitoring process.
However, in 2015 a survivor of Lynch’s abuse – known only as BQK – told the Royal Commission the room was a “sick conveyor belt of victims for Lynch”. Behind closed doors, Lynch was abusing children in the most sadistic fashion imaginable.
“He would regularly masturbate me to the point of ejaculation and sometimes would make me ingest my own semen,” BQK told the Royal Commission.
BQK was a teenager. He received counselling from Lynch in years nine, ten and eleven. He trusted Lynch and assumed these were normal treatment methods – he didn’t fully understand that he had been abused until he was an adult.
In 2002, BQK took legal action against Brisbane Grammar School along with scores of other survivors. The school offered an “insulting” $30,000 to settle and avoid a class action, which the survivors rejected.
BQK didn’t settle with Brisbane Grammar School until 2014.
Others were masturbated or masturbated Lynch.
Lynch was also known to give drugs to the children. Another survivor, BQK, was given tablets which made him drowsy or relieved his stress. Lynch would then masturbate BQK and anally penetrated him on two separate occasions.
Fellow students accused of BQK of being homosexual because it was common knowledge Lynch was touching students. BQK ended up skipping classes and acting out at school.
On one occasion in 1982, BQK claims the headmaster walked in and BQK had his pants down around his ankles. Howell called BQK a “sick individual” and told him to go back to class – which Howell denied before the Royal Commission.
Deputy Principal Coote confronted BQK about his “inappropriate relationship” with Lynch. The highest authorities at the school were blaming him for the abuse. BQK went on to have anger management issues as an adult and made multiple attempts to end his life.
Lynch moved onto St Paul’s School in Bald Hills in 1989. He continued to abuse students until 1997 when a student took a recording device into a counselling session and secretly recorded Lynch’s confession.
Later that year, Lynch was charged with committing sexual crimes against dozens of children. However, during prosecution, he committed suicide and failed to clear his name.
The Royal Commission spoke with more than 80 former students of Brisbane Grammar School and St Paul’s School.
Lynch abused scores of students and even though some claim to have reported the abuse to the headmaster and other members of the school board, they were often mistreated, not believed or, alternatively, the headmaster claimed not to know about it.
The counsellor was allowed to provide “treatment” for vulnerable young boys behind closed doors, no questions asked. No one looked in his drawers and saw the baby oil, towels and tissues – odd items to find in a counsellor’s desk.
Coote and Howell assumed Lynch could be trusted and when things went wrong, it was the student’s fault.
This kind of victim-blaming and institutional neglect is disgusting. We won’t stand for it – but we’ll stand by you.
Get the justice you deserve with Kelso Lawyers. We want to hear your story. Call (02) 4907 4200 or complete the online form before you accept payment from the National Redress Scheme.
Image: Courier Mail