Former St Pius maths teacher, Edward ‘Ted’ Hall leaving Newcastle Court. (ABC News: Giselle Wakatama )
A survivor of sexual abuse says he was shocked and appalled to learn a paedophile teacher who abused him was still alive decades after Catholic education officials assured him he was dead.
In October, Edward Smith Hall, 68, known as Ted Hall was found guilty of 21 sexual and indecent assault offences in relation to nine boys between 1973 and 1986.
Today several victim impact statements were read in Newcastle District Court, while others were read in a closed court, where media was not allowed.
One of Hall’s victims told police he went to the Catholic Education Office in Newcastle in the 1990s and was reassured that Hall would not be offending again.
“I went to the Catholic Education Office and spoke to someone and was told there was nothing to be worried about, that he had passed away,” the man said.
“All those thoughts had been thrown to the wolves … I was relieved and very happy.”
But that relief turned to anger in 2016 when he saw in the media that Hall had been charged.
“You could have blown me over with a feather, I was literally stunned and I was pissed off, to say the least, that I was lied to.
“I thought how could this be, he is alive.”
He said his life had been devastated by what he called Hall’s “atrocities” and said he will not be able to deal with his sense of numbness until the matter is resolved.
“I won’t be happy until he is sentenced and until he grows old in a cell and until he feels what it is liked to be trapped.”
Victims of teacher reflect on child abuse demons
The judge-only trial heard Hall’s victims were students at St Pius X High School in the Newcastle suburb of Adamstown.
Hall was a maths, history and geography teacher.
The boys were abused at school, in Hall’s unit, in the surf, and on trips away.
Hall, an ex-army sergeant, went on to teach at Newington College and Trinity Grammar in Sydney.
He was arrested in Junee in 2016 where he had been living at the time.
Hall taught at Gundagai High in 2014 and was a casual teacher at Illabo Public School until March 2016.
After being advised of the charges at the time of his arrest, the Department of Education said it acted immediately to ensure Hall would not be working in public schools.
Survivor sheds tears over lost victims
The District Court heard Hall taunted his victims and called them “poofters” or “dogs”.
He was also known to give crushing handshakes and to use the phrase, “are you a man or a mouse?”
One abuse survivor fought back tears when he read out his victim impact statement, and said he lived in constant fear of Hall.
“On a daily basis I feared I would be physically abused and grabbed on my genitals,” he said.
“I have felt betrayed by the Catholic Church for not providing me with a safe and secure school environment as a child.
“I was mentally tortured from the abuse and was trying to avoid contact from Ted.
“I was not given the opportunity to learn like other children.”
The man struggled to remain composed as he reflected on his time at St Pius and remembered friends who did not live to see Hall dealt with by the court.
“I have lost good friends from school, some have committed suicide and some are still with me here today and are here to fight,” the man said.
“After a while I blocked all the terrible things I had been subjected to out and I tried to live as normal a life, but I did not know what was normal anymore.”
“That was before the demons of St Pius became known to the public and victims had started to come forward.”
He said he then contacted police and was also called upon by the royal commission in child sexual abuse to provide a statement about what he had seen and been subjected to at the school.
Failed bid for bail to address health concerns
Hall appeared gaunt and dishevelled during the court proceedings.
He had lost a dramatic amount of weight and had to hitch up his baggy and crumpled suit pants when he stood in the dock.
The court heard he would need to wait six months to see an eye doctor for what he told his barrister was a potentially life-threatening medical condition.
In what was described to the court as an unusual step, Hall asked his barrister Colin Heazlewood to apply for bail, pending further sentencing.
Mr Heazlewood said he had urinary problems and a serious eye condition.
“It is on that basis that he wants to get these medical conditions sorted out while he can,” Mr Heazlewood said.
The court heard when he was on bail he reported to police three times a week and could do so again ahead of sentencing.
But Crown Prosecutor Wayne Creasey rejected the application and stressed there was no medical evidence before the court to prove Hall was suffering from the medical complaints.
At that point Hall could be overheard from the dock, telling his barrister that his eye condition was life-threatening.
Judge Tim Gartelmann SC is expected to sentence Hall in February.