Survivors of historical sexual abuse at the hands of a Horsham music teacher have applied to the Supreme Court to overturn "insultingly small" compensation payments.
Reginald Adrian Crick was charged with 94 counts of sexual offences committed against boys under 16-years-old, resulting from complaints made by around 18 boys, nearly all from Horsham, in the late 1990s.
Crick, better known by his middle name, was a music teacher at Horsham Technical School from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s.
Crick was charged with 22 counts of unlawful sexual penetration, 14 counts of an indecent act with a child under 16, 57 counts of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency.
It's alleged the offences took place between 1969 and 1993 in Horsham, Stawell, Ballarat and Melbourne.
Crick was found dead at his Wendouree residence before he could stand trial.
Rightside Legal's Michael Magazanik said the firm was working with four survivors who were sexually abused by Crick at Horsham Technical School, to have their cases reassessed under reformed laws.
"In Victoria, the laws used to make it incredibly difficult for abuse survivors to bring claims. What that meant was many men, including Crick's victims, settled for insultingly small sums of money," Mr Magazanik said.
"There are no time limits for abuse survivors now. All of Crick's survivors have got legal rights; they can come forward.
"There is also a way for some survivors who have been ripped off legally in the past to apply to set aside those past settlements and reapply for new compensation."
I know he abused at Horsham Tech without ever stopping, and right under the nose of senior staff.Michael Magazanik
In June 2019, the state government introduced landmark reforms to allow survivors of institutional abuse to apply to the courts to overturn historical compensation payments, in line with recommendations from the royal commission into the institutional responses to child sexual abuse.
The new case has been brought against Crick's former employer, the Department of Education, who it is claimed: "placed Crick in a position of trust vis-a-vis the survivors and provided the occasion for achieving intimacy with the survivors."
Documents submitted to the Supreme Court and sighted by the Mail-Times claim Department of Education employees, including other teachers at Horsham Technical School, "knew, suspected or ought to have known or suspected that Crick was, or was at risk of sexually abusing students."
The first sexual assault on one of the survivors by Crick occurred on Horsham Technical School grounds.
It's alleged Crick's office had paper covering the windows that prevented people from seeing in, and that he would take students into his office for long periods of time during lunch breaks.
It's also alleged teachers discussed in the staff room whether or not Crick might be abusing the students and whether they should go to the music room to check what was going on.
Teachers and students are alleged to have known that Crick had "favourites", which students referred to as "Crick's bum chums" or "Crick's bum boys."
Mr Magazanik said Rightside Legal had succeeded in the past in having historical compensation payments changed under the new laws.
"We have used the same law in Western Australia to set aside 100 abuse deeds and get proper compensations," he said.
"Some people have got unbelievably miserable settlements.
"In one case where one man had settled for $20,000, the judgement was set aside, and he resettled for $1 million."
Mr Magazanik said Crick's behaviour was publicly known and encouraged anyone with information or who knew of Crick to contact the firm and in turn support the survivors' cases.
"I know he abused at Horsham Tech without ever stopping, and right under the nose of senior staff," he said.
"These things date back to the 1960s, so anyone with information about behaviours, or any complaints that were made about their behaviour at the time (can contact us). As much information as we can have will help these survivors resettle their claims."
The Department of Education has been served with the writ and statement of claim and a Supreme Court hearing is expected to take place within a year.
- Rightside Legal can be contacted on 9909 1140
Have you, or someone you know, been affected by this story? Support is available.
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- The Blue Knot Foundation 1300 657 380
- Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277
- MensLine 1300 789 978
- Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
- beyondblue 1300 224 636
- In an emergency call triple zero
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