Frank Bailey in the dock.
Frank Bailey in the dock. Sketch by Yohanna Dent

Former principal on trial

A WITNESS in the District Court trial of a former high school principal charged with the sexual assault of a pupil told the court the accused said to her: “I just wanted to love the girls.”

The mother of the complainant in the trial of former St Andrew’s Christian Community School principal Frank Bailey gave evidence throughout yesterday’s proceedings.

She said the accused said these words to her during a phone call he made to her in October 2007. Bailey is alleged to have drugged and sexually assaulted the girl, who was 14 at the time, while she was staying at his house in mid 2006.

The call came soon after the woman’s daughter had been interviewed at the school after allegations had been made against Bailey, who was the school principal at the time.

The woman said Bailey had called to discuss the interview and told her the allegations came from a teacher he had sacked.

She told the court Bailey said the woman had been stalking him and attempting to obtain the identities of children staying at the Bailey’s house.

She said Bailey had mentioned he would sue the woman for making the allegations.

Earlier in the conversation he had allegedly admitted he had not shown good judgment in talking with the girl when he accompanied her from a classroom to her interview with school staff and solicitors retained by the school.

She said Bailey’s final words in the conversation were: “I just wanted to love the girls”.

The woman told the court she had made notes on a sheet of typed paper during this conversation, however, she did not write the words “I just wanted to love the girls” on the sheet.

“I wasn’t writing when he said that, I was gobsmacked,” the woman said.

Earlier in the evidence the girl’s mother told how the family had agreed to let their daughter stay at the Bailey’s home to give them some respite from her behavioural problems.

She said Bailey had argued against the girl staying with family or friends and urged the family to send her to stay with his family for two weeks.

Later the witness described how her daughter had been interviewed at the school by staff and solicitors engaged by the school after complaints against Bailey had been lodged in September 2007.

The girl’s family did not know of the interview before it occurred and only learned of it during the school holidays when deputy principal David Johnson phoned to ask if a parent was available to sign a statement the girl had made.

The mother then quizzed her daughter about what had happened between her daughter and Bailey.

“The first question I asked her was: did she ever feel uncomfortable when she was at the Baileys,” she said. “She said ‘yes. When Frank came into my bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed with his arms over me’.”

The woman asked her daughter if there were other times she felt uncomfortable with Bailey and she told her of a time when he had touched her ‘tummy’ during a school excursion late in 2005 and another time when she had injured her knee in a fall and Bailey was touching her leg.

“I asked her if there was anything else she would like to tell me and she said ‘no’.”

The girl’s mother said that she took her daughter to her family doctor after she felt a lump in her vagina some time after the alleged assault.

After discussing the results with the doctor, the mother contacted the Coffs Harbour Joint Investigative Response Team and a police investigation was launched into the matter.

During Friday and Monday’s proceedings the complainant gave evidence in a closed court.

The trial continues today with the defence to cross examine the evidence of the girl’s mother.



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