Principal Terry Hayes, assistant principal Megan Wagstaff, student protection officer Catherine Long and senior Catholic Education Office staff Chris Fry and Ian Hunter first heard pedophilia allegations against a Toowoomba primary school teacher Gerry Byrnes in September 2007.
None of them ever told police or parents.
The former bishop of Toowoomba, Bill Morris, who didn’t hear about the abuse until after Byrnes’ 2008 arrest, can’t understand why all five failed to report him.
“It’s stunning, I know. I can’t get my head around it. Like I said to someone – well, we spoke about it recently. It’s not rocket science,” the bishop told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse on Monday.
The Catholic Church has proved it had a system on paper to report pedophilia, but witnesses have spoken of a more deeply ingrained culture of silence and protecting the Church.
“Do not compromise the bishop,” was the motto of the diocese at the time, claimed Mr Hayes, Mr Fry and Mr Hunter.
Bishop Morris said Church culture was to not believe child sex abuse victims.