A Katoomba High maths teacher has appeared before the courts charged with six counts of sexual intercourse with a 17-year-old schoolgirl in his care.
The teacher, Gavin Malcolm Duncan, 32, appeared in Penrith Local Court on July 9. He did not enter pleas to the six charges of having sexual intercourse with a person under care aged between 17 and 18 years of age. He was given conditional bail. Police also sought a mandatory apprehended violence order on behalf of the victim. Duncan is now prohibited from approaching her or the school.
Detective Inspector Scott McAlpine, the Blue Mountains police crime manager, confirmed the court charges.
Inspector McAlpine said the "alleged offences have occurred during 2018". Duncan was arrested at a Penrith address on Thursday July 4 at 7.20am. He will reappear before the courts for mention on September 3.
Duncan, who lives in Glenmore Park, is a competitive sportsman and describes himself on Twitter as a "schoolteacher by day, DJ by night". He taught at the school from 2014 to 2019.
The news comes on the eve of the school's 100th anniversary celebrations on August 10.
Yesterday (July 24) the school's principal Jennifer Boyall issued a statement to parents about the incident.
"Dear parents and carers, I'm writing to you about a former Katoomba High School teacher who has been charged with serious criminal offences. Please be assured the safety and wellbeing of students is the school's highest priority. We take our duty of care of your children seriously. As soon as the Department was made aware of these serious allegations, the teacher was removed from the school.
"As this matter is before the courts, please understand school staff are unable to discuss this matter with you. Counselling support is available at the school. If you would like to access this service for your child, please contact your child's year advisor, or if you have any other concerns, please contact me."
Mrs Boyall has been at the school for seven years and in that period enrollment has grown from 520 students to the current 922.
She told the Gazette the school community had rallied behind her and the staff.
Mrs Boyall said she had been "inundated with an overwhelming response of support" and a "clear message of ongoing respect of our staff". She conveyed her "deepest thanks to the school community for their ongoing support during this very difficult time".
A NSW Department of Education spokesman issued the following statement to the Gazette.
"As this matter is currently before the courts, the school and the department are limited in commenting on it.
"The department has worked with the police investigation into this matter, and the teacher has been placed on the Not To Be Employed list for public schools.
"Counselling support for students is available at the school."
Another Sydney school was also rocked this week by a sex abuse scandal. A 34-year-old biology teacher at an Eastern Suburbs private school, Reddam House, Ben Fenner, was charged with 11 counts of sexual intercourse with a person under care. That matter is also before the courts.