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Queensland Child Protection Director Charged With Child Sex Offences

Queensland Child Protection Director Charged With Child Sex Offences

The child protection director for public schools in Queensland has been charged with a series of child sex offences against pupils at schools where he taught as a Catholic Brother in the 1980s.

52-year-old Brett Anth­ony O’Connor was arrested on March 20 for offences alle­gedly committed at two NSW schools, in Hunters Hill and Campbelltown.

O’Connor was working as the director of child safety at the Department of Education and Training (DETE) when the offences were reported to police late last year.

The BrisbaneTimes report: Last month, Mr O’Connor was charged by NSW detectives over indecent and sexual assaults allegedly committed against a 12-year-old boy when he was a Marist Brother at Sydney’s prestigious St Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill in 1987.

He was also charged with sexually and indecently assaulting a 12-year-old-boy at St Gregory’s College, Campbelltown in 1989. Both colleges are large independent Catholic day and boarding schools for boys, run by the Marist Brothers.

O’Connor later left the religious order and qualified as a psychologist.

Police said both matters were reported to them in late 2014.

On March 20, O’Connor was arrested at Tweed Heads Police Station and charged with four counts of indecent assault of a child aged 16 and under authority, and six counts of sexual intercourse with a child under 16 and under authority.

He was granted conditional bail, including a $5000 surety, to appear at Tweed Heads Local Court on Monday, April 13. He is to live at an address in Mount Gravatt, a suburb of Brisbane.

In 2013, he was engaged by Independent Schools Queensland to advise that sector on “creating safer independent schools”. He spoke at a seminar on reporting sexual abuse, how to identify grooming behaviour and strategies for incorporating safety in the school curriculum.

A spokesman for the Queensland Department of Education and Training said in late March a public servant was suspended after a range of child-related offences were laid by NSW police. The spokesman said Mr O’Connor had a high level policy position, which did not involve direct contact with children on a regular basis.