Uncovered: Paedophile teacher hid in plain sight for decades
A PAPER trail follows notorious Hobart paedophile Darrel George Harington all the way back to the 1970s.
But that trail, in a collection of documents obtained under Right to Information laws, doesn't just out Harington as a serial child sex offender who potentially abused dozens of boys aged 12 to 15 over decades.
The documents also prove that Tasmania's state education department knew of repeated accusations of a dangerous child sex fiend within its ranks for the majority of Harington's 30-year teaching career - but did nothing to stop him; and in fact protected and promoted him.
Lawyer Sebastian Buscemi, who is acting for a number of historical child sex victims seeking State Government compensation, said serious questions needed to be asked of the education department's culpability, given it spent decades moving Harington from job-to-job, in an almost exact replica of the Catholic Church's historical approach to protecting children.
He said the department's inaction - by not pressing charges or even sacking him - meant Harington had the freedom to groom, molest and rape his students for decades.
"He clearly posed an unacceptable risk to children. The available records do not suggest there was any investigation by the Department of Education," Mr Buscemi said.
"The biggest question to be answered here is why did this happen?"
Mr Buscemi said the department needed to answer whether its actions were "extremely serious negligence", being "wilfully blind", or part of an "intentional cover-up".
"Why did the safety of children form no part of these considerations?" he said.
"Why was it that over three decades of accusations and other red flags was Harington never disciplined or even subject to discipline hearings?
"It's important to know why, to ensure that this is never able to occur again."
Tasmania's's education department declined to respond to the Mercury's questions about why it protected Harington, or if it had employed other paedophiles, saying it couldn't comment on individual cases for "privacy reasons" and because "many of these matters are being addressed through the National Redress Scheme or other legal proceedings".
However, a spokesperson said the department had co-operated fully with recommendations given by the royal commission into institutional child sex abuse and police prosecuting any historical sexual assault cases.