Religious teacher at Knoz Grammar caught out over boys underwear
Former teacher Michael Probert yesterday said seeing house master Christopher Themistocles Fotis in the laundry had freaked him out.
The commission has heard that Mr Fotis, now 53, had been suspected as the man in a Knox tracksuit and a balaclava who hid under a student’s bed and sexually assaulted him. The man fled and the school never called in the police.
Mr Fotis later resigned from Knox after he was caught masturbating in his car outside the school but the headmaster, Dr Ian Paterson, still gave him a glowing reference, the commission was told.
The commission is investigating whether the elite Wahroonga school covered up 33 years of sex abuse of students by five teachers who were criminally charged and another three who were not, including Mr Fotis.
Mr Fotis was expected to give evidence yesterday but it was inexplicably postponed.
Mr Probert, a Knox old boy who returned to the school as a resident house master in 1987, said he had gone to the laundry one night in probably 1989 about 11pm to collect his laundry. The teacher’s clothing and sheets were kept on the opposite side to those of the students.
He said Mr Fotis was standing at the boys’ side near their “undies and socks” and “acted shocked and surprised” when he was spotted.
“The lights were off. I found it strange. It startled me,” Mr Probert said.
He said there was a bin in which the boys put in their bags of dirty laundry and pigeonholes into which their clean laundry was put and it appeared that Mr Fotis had “taken some of the socks and underwear out of the bags”.
“I’m not 100 per cent sure … to me it was very suspicious,” Mr Probert said.
He said Mr Fotis gave no explanation for being there.