A serial paedophile and former Geelong Grammar teacher who Victoria Police was set to charge with abusing students at the elite school is free in Ireland after being deported in an extraordinary inter-agency bungle.
The man had served time in a Queensland prison on child abuse charges, but was deported on his release after Victoria Police failed to flag their investigation with Immigration.
The Irish citizen was accused in last year's federal child abuse royal commission of fondling the penis of a pre-teen Geelong Grammar boy while masturbating in church, stroking a six-year-old student's penis in bed, and instructing senior students to perform sexual acts in underground rooms.
The man, a former Geelong Grammar student, has been convicted of child abuse offences on four separate occasions, and was set to face new charges over alleged abuse at the prestigious school between the late 1960s and mid-1970s, and in 1980.
Victims now fear it could take years before the man is brought to justice.
There is also a risk that an extradition bid could be rejected if it is found the 74-year-old, whose name has been suppressed by the royal commission, is mentally or physically unfit to face trial in Australia.
The victims are also concerned about the man's possible contact with children in Ireland.
His visa was cancelled under tough laws introduced by former immigration minister Scott Morrison in late 2014.
Under the changes, non-citizens convicted of paedophilia or jailed for more than 12 months are deported to their home country.
Security officers waited at the gates of Wolston Correctional Centre on May 6, the day of the man's release, and escorted him onto a flight to Ireland.
It is believed this is the first time someone under police investigation has been deported under the Migration Act changes.
The Australian Border Force claimed it alerted the Australian Federal Police and the Queensland Police Service before deporting the man, but was unaware that he was under investigation in Victoria.
A spokesman said Victoria Police had failed to alert the Border Force.
"The individual was not listed as having any outstanding matters with any law enforcement agencies and was subsequently removed," the spokesman said.
Victoria Police confirmed the man was being investigated, but would not comment further. It had told at least one victim that charges were imminent.
The victim, who told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that he was abused as a nine-year-old, reported his abuse to police in late 2014.
He received a call last week from Victoria Police informing him of the deportation – four months after the paedophile had left the country.
"I've obviously been waiting a long time for this," he said. "It's going to be a lot more difficult to extradite him from Ireland."
Lawyer Angela Sdrinis is launching a fresh civil claim against Geelong Grammar on behalf of eight victims.
"It's a very difficult thing to come forward in the first place and make a police complaint about child sex abuse," she said, blaming Border Force for the bungle. "To go through all of that only to be told, 'Oh sorry, we temporarily lost him', is pretty soul destroying."
Another victim had told the commission he was relentlessly abused by the former teacher from 1968 to 1973.
The victim said that in 1968, when he was 11, the teacher told him to perform oral sex on him, and in 1969, the teacher took him to the last row of benches in a chapel and touched the boy's genitals while masturbating.
"I felt ashamed of what had happened and that it had happened in the house of God," the victim said.
When the boy was in year 11, the teacher guided him into a dimly lit underground room, and instructed him to masturbate in front of another boy while the man watched, he said.
"I feel I have received a 47-year sentence which started when I was 11 years old. I have carried this sentence all my life without any remission."
The teacher also dropped his pants in a biology class – an act described by the then headmaster as "blotting his copy book" – yet was moved to the junior campus, before being sacked by a new principal in 1974, the commission heard.
The commission was told he was rehired as an emergency teacher in 1980, and went on to abuse a nine-year-old student.
The man was convicted of child abuse in 1987 and was given 200 hours of community work. In 1995, he pleaded guilty to exposing a child to pornography and indecently dealing with a child, receiving a minimum of four months in prison.
In 2005, he pleaded guilty to two charges of child abuse and was jailed for a minimum of 10 months.
In 2013, he pleaded guilty to six child abuse charges, and was sentenced to a minimum of 12 months.
Geelong Grammar and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton declined to comment on the story.
In a separate case, Maurice Blackburn lawyers on Wednesday revealed Geelong Grammar has paid compensation for four former students who were sexually abused by ex-housemaster and convicted paedophile John Buckley in the 1980s.
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