The Daily Telegraph (Sydney)

Perv jailed un­til 80

Elite school teacher’s rape sen­tence

- JANET FIFE-YEOMANS Crime · Society · Child Abuse · Discrimination · Sexual Abuse · Courts · Violence and Abuse · Human Rights · Law · District Court · Sydney Grammar School · Knox Grammar School

A PER­VERTED for­mer teacher who worked at some of the state’s most pres­ti­gious schools was yes­ter­day jailed for at least 11 years for a se­ries of sick­en­ing sex­ual as­saults on boys as young as 11.

As for­mer Trin­ity Gram­mar School teacher Neil Futcher’s sen­tence was handed down in the Dis­trict Court for rap­ing and sex­u­ally as­sault­ing boys, there were shouts of “hope you die in there Futcher you pig”.

But a court stuff-up robbed his six vic­tims of look­ing him in the eye as jus­tice was fi­nally meted out.

An “ad­min­is­tra­tive er­ror” meant Futcher, 69, was not brought to court from Nowra jail for his sen­tenc­ing of a max­i­mum of 18 years and min­i­mum of 11, which in­stead had to be done via a last-minute vide­olink.

“That was a big dis­ap­point­ment,” one of his vic­tims, Rob An­der­son, 53, who has con­sented to his iden­tity be­ing known, said out­side court.

How­ever, Mr An­der­son said the lengthy jail term, which had to be im­posed based on sen­tenc­ing prac­tices at the time of the of­fences from 1974-1981, was “amaz­ing”. It is one of the tough­est ever handed down in a his­toric child sex abuse case of this age. He would be 80 when re­leased.

Ha­tred from a packed pub­lic gallery had been pal­pa­ble at Futcher’s last ap­pear­ance, when vic­tims’ im­pact state­ments were read. His six vic­tims, men who were then boys aged from 11 to 15, had sobbed in court when a jury con­victed him on all 22 counts in Septem­ber last year.

Four of the vic­tims were pupils of Futcher’s at Trin­ity Gram­mar at Sum­mer Hill in Syd­ney, and the other two were taught swimming by him at Pym­ble. One de­scribed one episode of abuse as like a “scene from hell” .

Futcher had pre­vi­ously taught at Syd­ney Gram­mar School and was also board­ing mas­ter at Knox Gram­mar School.

None of the six boys had known each other at the time of their abuse but were brought to­gether by the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the sex­ual preda­tor, which only be­gan after Mr An­der­son gave ev­i­dence to the child sex abuse Royal Com­mis­sion.

The court heard that he had first gone to po­lice in 1990 but there was no in­ves­ti­ga­tion. He again re­ported it in 1997.

Judge Jen­nie Gird­ham, one of two new Dis­trict Court judges whose work will ex­clu­sively be child sex­ual as­sault cases, said Futcher had been “preda­tory, sys­tem­atic, cor­rupt­ing, sus­tained” and had shown no re­morse.

She said he was “dis­torted” when he ref­er­enced in his ev­i­dence other cul­tures where child sex was con­sid­ered ac­cept­able. He had said teach­ing mas­tur­ba­tion was “ed­u­ca­tional”.

And the judge praised the vic­tims’ courage in com­ing for­ward. Futcher threat­ened some of them with harm and ex­po­sure if they re­ported him and as late as 2015 “begged” one of the men to for­get his abuse..

 ??  ?? Neil Futcher pic­tured leav­ing court last year and (in­set) while a teacher in 1974.
Neil Futcher pic­tured leav­ing court last year and (in­set) while a teacher in 1974.
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