Monday, February 27, 2006

New allegations against Benson-Pope

Over the weekend, fresh allegations were made by the Herald on Sunday and Investigate Magazine about David Benson-Pope, namely that he burst into the showers where female students were changing. These were not uncovered in the police enquiry because the allegations are said to have taken place in 1997 whereas the police only interviewed his students in 1982.

What makes these charges serious is that three of complainants have come forward to be named while the school confirmed today that a formal complaint was made about Benson-Pope's conduct back in 1997. The seriousness of Benson-Pope's predicament can be seen by the fact that he's gone to ground and the Prime Minister is busy providing spin on his behalf.

The big problem for Benson-Pope is that he had denied in Parliament that any complaints had been made against him about his teaching conduct. Since that is now known to be false and intentionally making false statements is grounds for resignation, his excuse explanation is that he was aware of the complaint. I find this difficult to credit even without considering what happened to his previous denials. The result of the complaint was that Benson-Pope was found to have acted in accordance with school policy (which probably means there was nothing explicitly prohibiting his conduct) and so the school policy was changed. So Benson-Pope expects us to believe that a complaint was laid, an investigation carried out into his conduct and the policy changed but nobody had bothered to inform him about the existence of the complaint? When he was asked for his side of the story or when he was told of the change in school policy (he was teaching at the school for a further two years), it didn't occur to him that somebody might have made a complaint?