Media Statement | 13 December 2021
Following explosive revelations that at least 22 young boys complained to senior Dilworth staff at the time they were sexually abused, Dilworth Class Action representative and sexual abuse survivor, Neil Harding has today called for Aaron Snodgrass, Chairman of Dilworth Trust Board along with fellow trustee Brian Maltby to resign from the Board for their role in covering up the abuse.
“Mr Snodgrass has been on the Board since 2013 and Mr Maltby has been a trustee for over thirty years, joining in 1990," said Mr Harding.
They have both been part of a Board which knowingly covered up horrendous sexual abuse against hundreds of vulnerable, young boys. The cover up involved the deliberate silencing of boys for over 30 years who complained that they were being sexually abused, allowing the otherwise avoidable abuse of many, many more boys.
“The scale of the sexual abuse at Dilworth is incomprehensible. The Dilworth Class Action represents over 110 survivors, and we believe this number is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.
Mr Harding added “The evidence we have against the School and Trust Board is very clear. The School completely ignored any boy who complained and even though they knew staff were sexually abusing young, vulnerable students, by taking steps to cover it up and not informing the authorities, they knowingly allowed it to continue for over thirty years.
“Instead of reporting the abuse to the authorities, the Trust Board, including Mr Snodgrass and Mr Maltby, chose to submit misleading affidavits to the Court to support the granting of name suppression for Dilworth. We understand this happened on a number of occasions.
“Even now, despite the strong evidence that exists, instead of admitting and apologising to the survivors, the current Trust Board refuse to acknowledge the School’s involvement.
“We have asked the Trust Board numerous times to consult with our 110 survivors in good faith, but they fail to respond to our requests. Instead, this Trust Board are treating sexual abuse like a game and still choosing to cover up what happened, who knew about it, and the scale of the abuse. Their actions are disrespectful, re-traumatising and harmful to the sexual abuse survivors and their families. It shows the Trust Board’s incompetence, self-interest, and complete lack of compassion.
“We believe all the current Dilworth Board trustees should understand their actions are causing more trauma and harm to the survivors. Yet again, the Dilworth Trust Board are choosing to protect their own reputation ahead of caring for the boys they were responsible for. They all need to be held accountable,” said Mr Harding.