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Church names Melbourne teacher in child pornography probe

A teacher at St Simon's Primary School in outer-suburban Rowville is being investigated for downloading child pornography from the internet will never teach again at the school even if he is proved innocent.

The Age reports that the Catholic Education Office yesterday named Lachlan Wallin, 26, who taught Grade 1 and 2 students, as the teacher being investigated for allegedly downloading child pornography to his home computer.

Office director Susan Pascoe said it was decided to name Mr Wallin, who was suspended on full pay on Thursday.

Mr Wallin yesterday told he had not yet decided whether he would admit to any wrongdoing if he was charged.

Police told the school authorities the images Mr Wallin allegedly downloaded did not contain pictures of St Simon's students and were not accessed from school computers, parish priest Fr Martin Dixon said.

Angry and upset parents of Mr Wallin's students last night attended a meeting organised by the school while another was scheduled for all parents tonight. All staff, students and parents are being offered counselling.

Mr Wallin, whose home was deserted yesterday, was undergoing counselling and was in daily contact with the deputy principal, Fr Dixon said.

Mr Wallin had taught at St Simon's for two years and had previously taught for two years at another school. He had undergone police checks twice and they had revealed nothing, Fr Dixon said.

Fr Dixon described him as a well-liked and capable teacher, while neighbours said he was extremely quiet and a loner.

Fr Dixon, who said he felt shocked and gut-wrenched by the revelations, said the school would not have Mr Wallin back regardless of the result of the investigation.

"The unfortunate nature, I believe, of sexual allegations, is that they stick, and we would want to give the parents the utmost sense of security that they could have in placing their child in that school," he said.

Ms Pascoe said she was shocked by the news, as "any teacher . . . in a Catholic school is required by the example of their behaviour to uphold the moral teachings of the church."

Church names teacher in child pornography probe (The Age 5/10/04)

Register of all church employees (The Age 5/10/04)
Abbott caught on hop (Herald-Sun 2/10/04)
Pell denies Abbott swayed him on schools (Sydney Morning Herald 2/10/04)
John L. Allen: Irish church fails to develop child protection policies (National Catholic Reporter 1/10/04)
Catholic teachers nailed in child porn swoop (CathNews 1/10/04)
WA premier 'horrified' as scandal hits home (The Age/AAP 29/9/04)
Police lift lid on web of abuse (Sydney Morning Herald 1/10/04)

St Simon's Primary School, Rowville

5 Oct 2004