Former NSW teacher a 'paedophile and parasite': victim

FORMER St Johns Woodlawn teacher Richard O'Connor was described as a "paedophile and a parasite" by one of his victims during an adjourned sentencing hearing at Lismore District Court yesterday.

Dressed in prison greens, using a walking stick and sporting a long white beard, O'Connor appeared via video-link from Sydney's Silverwater prison facing 41 charges in relation to 10 victims.

He sat silently as two of his victims read heart-wrenching impact statements about how the sexual abuse by O'Connor had destroyed their lives.

The first victim said he suffered abuse at the hands of his former Year 7 and 8 dorm room master.

The man said he suffered a broken marriages, alcohol and drug abuse, plus psychological trauma, due to the abuse.

"It is a nightmare I never wake from," he said, choking back tears.

"It just never goes away ... it's relentless.

"The emotional hurt is worse than the physical hurt because it continues.

"My nightmare has been ongoing for 34 years.

"Mr O'Connor has done irreparable damage to me ... it changed my life."

The man said his best friend from school, who was also a victim of O'Connor, committed suicide due to the impacts of the abuse, which also made him attempt suicide.

"I have feared this man all my life and to this day I still do to a certain degree," he said.

The second victim told how he had a breakdown in 1986, when he was 17, due to the abuse by O'Connor.

"I lost faith in all religions and this has gone on for 29 years," he said.

"I'm forever in fear of more abuse."

The man said he also turned to drugs and suffered a broken marriage due to the impact the abuse had on him.

"I have recurring nightmares of St Johns College and sexual abuse," he said.

O'Connor's solicitor Hugh Van Dugteren then tendered a psychiatrist report and sentencing statistics for similar offences.

Mr Van Dugteren said his client fully acknowledged that he breached the trust of his victims.

He described O'Connor's behaviour as part of the culture of the school.

"The children seemed to be aware that it was going on, but the authorities at the school didn't act," Mr Van Dugteren said.

Crown prosecutor Brendan Campbell told the court monstrous offending of this calibre had always been treated very seriously.

Mr Campbell said O'Connor's offences were extremely serious and a gross breach of trust.

O'Connor will be sentenced next Friday.

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