Women allege rapes in school dungeon
ALMOST 50 women have come forward to tell detectives they were raped and sexually assaulted at a former Sydney girls’ school, many claiming they were attacked in the school’s notorious sandstone dungeon.
Detectives set up Strike Force Bilvo to investigate the claims and are focusing on two of the three former officials at the notorious Parramatta Girls Training School who are still alive.
The two persons of interest were named in the child sex abuse royal commission as Frank Valentine, 75, who now lives in a beachside apartment block at Redcliffe in Brisbane’s northeast, and Noel Greenaway, who lives at Normanhurst in Sydney.
The two men were referred to police as part of the largest investigation to come out of the royal commission which last year examined the experience of women who were sexually abused as children at the school between 1950 and 1974.
Detectives yesterday made a public appeal for former staff members of the school, who worked there from 1960 to 1973, to come forward.
“They may be able to provide information regarding the alleged abuse of the girls at the school during that period,” Acting Superintendent Robert Toynton said yesterday.
“Further information is sought from anyone able to provide information relating to allegations of sexual abuse against former residents.”
Mr Toynton, acting Parramatta Local Area Commander, said as a result of the royal commission, almost 50 former residents of the school had made allegations of being raped and sexually and physically abused by former male senior staff members.
Thousands of pages of historical documents had been seized by the strike force through 44 separate search warrants, he said.
“Strike Force Bilvo was created to investigate the complaints and the former staff members named at the royal commission hearings are now at the centre of the investigation,” he said. “The investigation is focused on two living alleged offenders who were senior officers of the school and were named at the royal commission in 2014.”
Mr Valentine and Mr Greenaway have vigorously denied any wrongdoing.
The existence of the dungeon with convict- built walls was confirmed at the royal commission. For years, no one would believe the former students when they told of being locked in there and abused.
Most of the girls were sent to the now- closed school, from as young as 10, by the courts for being “uncontrollable” or in moral danger. Many were guilty of merely being poor.