Boy denies attempted rape charge, King's head tells parents
Headmaster ... Timothy Hawkes. Photo: Michele Mossop
THE headmaster of The King's School has written to pupils' parents to say that a student charged with attempted rape has ''strenuously denied'' the allegations and had been suspended for behaviour that was known to have occurred.
Timothy Hawkes stressed that the accusation of sexual assault against a year 10 boy was ''an allegation at this stage'' and that due legal process must occur.
As reported on Sunday, the 16-year-old student was charged with the attempted rape of a 16-year-old girl while on exchange at Loretto, a prestigious co-educational boarding school in Scotland.
''This allegation is strenuously denied by the boy and the matter is now in the hands of police,'' Dr Hawkes wrote yesterday.
''We have been in close contact with the head of the overseas school in order to ensure proper support is given to all parties, and the two schools have been co-operating fully with the relevant authorities.
''The boy in question has been brought back from overseas and is currently suspended from school for infractions that are known to have occurred.''
Dr Hawkes declined to comment to Fairfax Media yesterday on what those infractions were. The chairman of King's governing council, the Reverend Martin Robinson, also did not respond to requests for comment.
''It is worth remembering it is an allegation at this stage,'' Dr Hawkes wrote. ''The allegations are dreadful if true, and dreadful if not true. The school takes matter such as this very seriously.''
The Department of Education and Communities would generally enforce a long suspension of a student at a public school if they were charged with a serious criminal offence while at school, or undertaking activities related to the school, such as an exchange or excursion.
Such a suspension is usually 20 days' long but can be extended if extra time is required to resolve a criminal matter. Even then, the student's return to school was not guaranteed, said a department spokesman.
''Even if there was no criminal conviction as a result of the matter, it could still involve a breach of discipline,'' he said.
The alleged incident took place in the grounds of the Scottish school on November 10.
In his letter, Dr Hawkes said he hoped to keep the exchange program running, as it had generally been a success in previous years.
Clarification: The original article said the boy was charged with rape. Further information provided to the Herald indicates that the charge was attempted rape, which is also covered under section 1 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009, although is not mentioned in the wording of the section.