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Instant Sack For Child Abuse Teachers
THE NSW government is to bring in a special law for
the immediate sacking of any teacher convicted of child
sexual offences, including possessing child pornography.
It follows the revelation that a teacher convicted last
month of possessing child porn was still on the public
payroll while disciplinary action proceeded against him.
NSW Education and Training Department director-general
Andrew Cappie-Wood today dismissed
Kenneth John McCoy,
from his position as a senior teacher at Junee Public School
in the state's south west.
McCoy was given a 12-month suspended sentence when he pleaded
guilty on June 23 in Junee Local Court to downloading 650
images of child porn on his home computer.
"I've signed those dismissal papers and his file will be
stamped, 'Never to be be employed by the department'," Mr Cappie-Wood said.
He said McCoy had been removed from classroom duties and
then took leave when police began investigating him as part
of an international operation against child porn users.
Under an amendment to the Teaching Services Act to be
introduced into Parliament later this year, teachers
convicted of child sexual offences would be immediately dismissed.
"Where there is a conviction for child pornography or
related activities then we can move straight from a
conviction in the court to dismissal under
our act," Mr Cappie-Wood said.
Five government school teachers convicted of child
pornography charges have been dismissed in NSW over
the past two years and another two teachers facing
criminal charges are currently on suspension.
Opposition leader John Brogden today said no-one
convicted of possessing child pornography should
remain employed by the Government.
"My view is anyone convicted of being in possession
of child pornographic material doesn't deserve to be
in the employ of the government," he said.
Mr Brogden said it was clear the Government only
decided to sack McCoy after the matter was raised in the media.
"The fact is that until this appeared on the front
page of the newspaper he was not going to be sacked," he said.
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Sack Him Now
A PRIMARY school teacher caught with hundreds of child pornography images has not been sacked from his $70,000-a-year job.
The NSW Department of Education and Training has taken the decision not to dismiss him due to fears he could sue.
They have been hamstrung by a court's decision to award $28,000 damages to another teacher, who was sacked after having an affair with a pupil.
The department confirmed yesterday it was still paying Ken McCoy, 59, a senior teacher at Junee North Public School.
McCoy pleaded guilty last month to downloading 650 images of child pornography on his home computer and received a 12-month suspended sentence. Despite his guilty plea and conviction, the department will not sack him and will even help find him a new job in a "non-school" environment when he returns from leave.
The images were found when McCoy, a former deputy principal of the school, inadvertently gave a disk containing them to another teacher after confusing it with school material. McCoy received a 12-month suspended sentence a fortnight ago.
McCoy is married with four adult children – the youngest is 27 and the oldest is 35. He is also a former winner of the Opera House lottery.
A neighbour of McCoy, who did not want to be named, said the community was "shocked".
"It was unexpected, he's well known and seen as a family man," the neighbour said. "I didn't believe it at first. We grew up with his children."
The neighbour said she felt sorry for McCoy's wife Julie, who had stood by him.
"I don't know how she is coping. They had stuff thrown through their front window," the neighbour said.
An Education Department spokesman confirmed yesterday McCoy was on leave and, when it ended, McCoy would return to a non-teaching position – and not at a school.
"Obviously, people convicted of these offences aren't employable in teaching services," the spokesman said.
The spokesman said McCoy was removed from the school before police charges were laid.
"Police indicated to us they were showing an interest in him," the spokesman said.
"There was no involvement of the school and they didn't investigate his activities at the school.
"Any suggestion that he was at the school after charges is completely incorrect."
It is understood the department has been slow to act because it does not want a repeat of the debacle surrounding Jeff Sinclair, who was sacked over an affair with a teenage student.
Mr Sinclair, 53, won a $28,000 stress payout last year for "psychological injury" suffered during an investigation into his relationship with pupil Nicki Shackle.
Opposition education spokeswoman Jillian Skinner said the minute McCoy's leave finished his employment should be terminated.
"I don't believe there is a place in the education system anywhere for someone convicted of child pornography," Ms Skinner said.
"Parents would be outraged if the department keeps him on."
The Daily Telegraph could not contact McCoy, who has changed his telephone number and is believed to be taking leave on the Central Coast with his wife.
Federation of Parents and Citizens Association president Sharryn Brownlee said McCoy would be placed on a child sex offenders' register.
"Children will be protected," she said. "The department acted as soon as it was informed."
Daily Telegraph (4-7-2005)
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