Bullied student settles with Church, pursues tormentors

A former student of De La Salle College in Sydney's Ashfield, who was bullied, threatened and attacked by other students, is pursuing his claim for $100,000 damages against his attackers, despite yesterday reaching a confidential settlement with the Sydney Archdiocese.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Jonar Lopez, who was a 15 year old Year 10 student at the time, said the bullying included attempts to extort $100, and a threat made in an internet chat room that his family's home would be burnt down if he did not pay up.

He was also punched and kicked in the head in a railway underpass near the school.

Trustees of the Sydney Archdiocese reached a confidential settlement with the Lopez family yesterday and withdrew from the case.

Three of the remaining defendants, Leon Ip of Strathfield, Michael Tom of Campsie and Anthony Kang of Campsie, apologised in court, saying they had been young, stupid, and did not realise the consequences of their actions. They were in years 10 and 11 in 2002.

The fourth defendant, Tam Le, of East Hills - who was said in the NSW District Court to have been a member of an Asian gang, Sing Wa - did not show up at court, the Herald report continued.

Barrister for Mr Lopez, David Elliott, said the plaintiff, now 19, had been unable to finish his Higher School Certificate as a result of the incident.

"This is an exercise in shameful and disgraceful schoolboy bullying which has got completely out of hand," Mr Elliott told the court.

Update: Judgment for $67,800 against boys

The Herald today reports that NSW District Court Judge Peter Johnstone ordered the four remaining defendants to pay $67,800 in damages, with this sum to be offset against the amount of the confidential settlement with the Archdiocese of Sydney.

Victim seeks damages from bullies (Sydney Morning Herald, 5/9/06)
Bullies ordered to pay $67,800 (Sydney Morning Herald, 5/9/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
De La Salle College, Ashfield

ACU lecturer says resilience' helps combat school bullying (CathNews, 14/11/05)
Academic says "dobbing" the key to eliminating bullying (CathNews, 3/2/05)
NZ schools worried about "text bullying" (CathNews, 23/6/04)

5 Sep 2006