The Chilli Season

The Chilli Season

tasmania news pageheader 2018

Teacher got full salary months after being stood down on child abuse complaint

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It's been revealed a Launceston teacher remained on full pay for eight months after he was stood down on sexual abuse allegations.

Mark Philip Crocker was sent home from a school after Newscorp published claims from one of his former colleagues that he had groomed a vulnerable student and got her pregnant back in 1989.

The 66 year old was notified of the complaint in September 2020 and then suspended on full pay before the Secretary of the Department of Education told him a month later that he would cease receiving his salary.

"I now determine that you are no longer suspended on full pay. The suspension that I imposed under ED 4 is now ended. However, as your teacher registration is suspended, you are prohibited from teaching and I direct that you must not enter any DoE school. Accordingly, you will no longer be paid salary, as a teacher, from the date of this letter," Tim Bullard said in a letter to Crocker in October 2020.

Crocker successfully applied to the Tasmanian Industrial Commission to have his pay reinstated, because at that point no allegation had been proven and it was "beyond his control" that he couldn't continue work.

Mr Bullard appealed that decision, but in a newly-published decision from the Supreme Court of Tasmania, it was dismissed by Chief Justice Alan Blow.

“If it was true that the teacher had engaged in a sexual relationship with a student in 1989, it would possibly follow that he had no moral justification to pursue a claim for full pay during the period when his registration was suspended,” Chief Justice Blow said.

“However, as at October 2, 2020, no court or tribunal had made any finding as to the truth or otherwise of the allegations of sexual misconduct, and it was not part of the secretary’s role to make any finding as to their truth or falsity or to assess their credibility.”

Crocker resigned on June 6 last year.

He went on to plead guilty to the persistent sexual abuse of a child and in September was jailed for four years, with a non-parole period of two years.