The Lament of John Lewis

When I was Head of Geelong Grammar,
I’m happy to report
abuse, of that nasty sexual sort,
to my attention was rarely brought.
“Comparatively modest”, though not precisely nought,
is how I choose to describe it.
It wasn’t rife, but I must admit
it happened just a little bit.

It’s just not fair to ask me now
why I never called the police.
They were only allegations –
one word against another.
Police are awfully busy with important things
I didn’t think I’d bother them.

I judged each situation for myself
came to the conclusion
“beyond reasonable doubt”
nothing could be proven,
so likely a boy’s fantasy or illusion.
“Any such incident is very, very serious”
I’d regard any person engaging in such
as utterly nefarious.
But let’s be fair,
little boys are highly prone
to fib and tell white lies
Allegations can be made up you know
for reasons of dislike and spite.

I was “buttonholed” by one parent
– twice in 1986 –
at a Cricket match if you please.
Claims of abuse by Mr Harvey,
on a recent overseas trip.
I did not investigate the matter
because I was bound to a vow of silence
by that pater
must not “embarrass” his little darling.
It was off the record
I took that view later.

As I said to Commissioner David Lloydd,
when asked about my obligation
to care for all students in my school,
there to receive a superior education,
to consider other boys Mr Harvey taught,
who might have caught
his eye.

I did not think there was a risk of regular
or daily abuse.
Yes I knew Mr Harvey took boys overseas
three times in five years
on my watch,
but I held no fears for those boys,
not really.

These allegations were rare – really.
Overseas, twelve thousand miles away
to judge, I had no power.
I mean to say, “the risk of abuse
at school was very, very, very much lower”.
Harvey et al were not
as honourable as I thought
Yes it does appear they fiddled with forty
or more boys.
I understand the naughty culprits
received appropriate sentences.

Frankly I was pleased,
more than I can say, to leave
and take up my new post as Headmaster.
Geelong Grammar was such an utter disaster.
So nice to work in place
where boys wear suits with tails
much less chance of attraction
and staff going off the rails.
Princes and Dukes,
even the odd Prime Minister’s son
Life is so much better at jolly old Eton!

© M.L.Emmett

The headmaster who welcomed princes William and Harry to Eton has been forced been forced to apologise for not reporting a paedophile teacher at a top Australian school he worked at previously.

John Lewis, head of the elite Geelong Grammar School from 1980 to 1994, today admitted that a former student reported that teacher Jonathan Harvey tried to have sex with him at his home.

But Mr Lewis, who later went on to head Eton while the princes were at the school, said he ‘didn’t think it was necessarily my business,’ to report the claims to the police.


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