FORMER St Pius X, Adamstown teacher Edward “Ted” Hall has pleaded not guilty to sexually abusing 11 students between 1973 and mid-1986 when he resigned from the school, shortly after a boy and his parents reported abuse allegations to police.
On the first day of a trial expected to run for four weeks a court heard Mr Hall, 68, sexually abused boys at the school, at his Merewether units, at school camps and while on trips with Mr Hall to locations including Gloucester, Neath and Limeburners Creek.
Newcastle District Court Judge Tim Gartelmann was told the trial will hear evidence from one former student, 13, who will allege Mr Hall removed his clothes during a drive to Barrington Tops, asked the student to remove his clothes, and continued driving until reaching a clearing where they laid on a blanket nude. The former student will allege Mr Hall massaged him with sunscreen until the student asked to be taken home.
Prosecutor Wayne Creasey said the court will also hear from another student who told his father Mr Hall allegedly sexually abused him in the classroom. The former student is expected to give evidence that after his father met with St Pius’ principal in 1981 he was beaten by his father and caned by the principal.
The former student will give evidence that Mr Hall allegedly told him “You need to be disciplined to be a man. This is the way it works here”, before sexually abusing him.
The former student is also expected to give evidence that after his father met with the principal he continued to be sexually abused, and he believed he would be hurt if he didn’t comply.
“The complainant felt he had no option but to do what he was told,” Mr Creasey told the court.
Another former St Pius X student will give evidence that he came into contact with Mr Hall while playing rugby league and attended Mr Hall’s Merewether unit with other students at Mr Hall’s invitation.
The former student will tell the court that in 1986 he drank two or three beers at Mr Hall’s unit and after other students left he intended to sleep in the loungeroom on a sleeping bag.
He will give evidence that Mr Hall offered to give him a massage and allegedly masturbated the student while asking: “Does your girlfriend massage you like this?”
Mr Creasey told the court the student will give evidence he told his parents the next day, and Mr Hall allegedly denied the abuse.
Judge Gartelmann was told the parents and the former student reported the matter to Hamilton police on that day but “no statements were taken and nothing further happened as far as we’re aware”.
Mr Hall resigned from St Pius X a short time after the former student and his parents raised the alleged abuse with him, and contacted police.
He went on to teach at Sydney private boys’ schools including Newington College and Trinity Grammar. He was known as Tony Hall at Newington College.
Judge Gartelmann was told one former St Pius X student will give evidence that he raised Mr Hall’s name with the Catholic Education Office in Newcastle years later but was told Mr Hall was dead. He made a statement to police after reading media reports when Mr Hall was charged in July 2016 with sexually abusing former students.
Mr Hall’s barrister told the court there was no doubt Mr Hall taught at St Pius from 1973 until the middle of 1986 but he denied sexually abusing any students.
“The defence case is that he did nothing to any of these boys. He did not assault any of them at all,” his barrister told the court.
Mr Hall is expected to give evidence that he was “just not on these trips so nothing could have occurred” and will challenge the locations of some of the alleged offences.
While some former students are expected to give evidence they were sexually abused in Mr Hall’s office, “the defence case is he didn’t have an office”, Mr Hall’s barrister said.
Mr Hall pleaded not guilty to 31 charges including sexual intercourse, assault, acts of indecency and attempting to detain a boy for sexual gratification.
The hearing at Newcastle Courthouse in a judge-alone trial continues.