Alleged Paedophile Offender: Peter Garland

peter garland ben venue public school

Due to the actions of NSW Police and the NSW Department of Education, Peter Garland lived out his life in peace, even receiving a prestigious Order of Australia Medal, despite numerous allegations of child sexual abuse.

Peter Garland was the principal of Ben Venue Primary School from the early 1970s until 1986. During his time at the school, he was referred to by students as “the feeler” due to his habit of locking children in his office to touch them or forcing them to touch him. In recent years, evidence has emerged to suggest people recall witnessing his offending at a previous school, Woodstock Public School, as early as 1964.

Are you a survivor of child sexual abuse by Peter Garland? Click here to share your story with us. You may be eligible for compensation.

Over the course of his career and retirement, at least five separate families reported Garland to the NSW police; however, no charges were ever laid. Police told some of these families that Garland was a “respected member of the community” and dismissed their complaints without investigation.

At least one family also complained to the Education Department, only to be told that if they pressed the complaint, they would not be believed as it would be the word of one child v the word of the principal.

Shockingly, Garland was one of three paedophile offenders at Ben Venue in the 1970s, with Ian Berryman and John Ferris also facing criminal charges for the sexual abuse of students. It has been alleged by some that Garland enabled Ferris and Berryman’s offending for fear of his own behaviours being revealed.

Victims of Berryman, in particular, have reported that Garland was aware of the abuse but did not notify their parents or report it to the police.

Despite decades of criminal behaviour, Garland was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in retirement and lived out his days as a respected member of the community. It was not until 2014, four years after his death, that NSW Police conducted serious investigations into his behaviour. At least 15 victims came forward with allegations, and that number has continued to rise since this time.

If you suffered abuse in a NSW school, we want to hear from you. We will fight for you. Click here to share your story, or call us on (02) 4907 4200.

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