Ian Perry promoted to Barwon Downs principal despite child abuse allegations

A teacher who was later convicted of child sex abuse was promoted to principal, despite the education department allegedly being made aware of concerns about his behaviour years earlier.

Ian Perry was hired as principal at Barwon Downs Primary School, near Colac, in 1991.

It was the ninth school he was employed at before he was convicted of child sex abuse in 1994, which occurred both at that school in the 1990s and Myrniong Primary School near Bacchus Marsh the decade prior.

Arnold Thomas and Becker lawyer Aleksander Dukovski said the Education Department was aware of allegations concerning Perry’s behaviour with students as early as 1981 when a complaint was made by a concerned mother.

“The complaint was investigated and dismissed but a police report was never raised,” he said.

“He continued to abuse children even after he was transferred to other schools, eventually becoming the principal of Barwon Downs Primary School.”

Mr Dukovski said Perry was allowed to remain teaching in his position for a eight months before being charged in 1993 and convicted in 1994 for abuse against five victims between about 1981 to 1993.

He said the firm had successfully resolved four cases in relation to Perry, with a combined settlement of more than $3.6m, and was currently looking for any witnesses.

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