Sydney Grammar School wishes to apologise to one of its former students who was the victim of serious sexual abuse by a teacher at the School.
On 9 May 2017, a former teacher of the School, Ms Bronwen Williams, pleaded guilty to offences of serious sexual abuse in 2016 against a student attending the School. By law, his name cannot be published. The District Court of NSW convicted Williams in early 2018 of a number of offences, and sentenced her to a full-time prison term, which she has now served.
The abuse took place during 2016 after an extended period of inappropriate conduct towards the student by Ms Williams. This had, and continues to have, a profoundly harmful impact on the student. Williams’ conduct was reported by the student at the end of 2016. The School acknowledges that this took enormous bravery on his part, and respectfully records its admiration of his courage in coming forward. It remains truly grateful that he found the strength, in impossible circumstances, to ensure that other students were kept safe from Williams and that she was brought to justice for her misconduct. The School is proud of the brave example he set in reporting the sexual abuse, preventing there being further victims, and it encourages all victims of abuse to report it. The abuse of male students by female teachers is just as serious, and damaging, as the abuse of female students by male teachers, and it is regrettable that this was not acknowledged in some of the reporting of this case.
Williams’ offending has caused the School to review its policies and procedures, which did not prevent or detect the abuse against its former student. For that, and for what occurred, the School is deeply sorry, and apologises unreservedly to its former student and his family.