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Teacher charged with sex offence commits suicide

6-15-2008 Australia:

A RESPECTED Perth school-teacher committed suicide within hours of being charged with child sex offences.

Jeff Cahill, 48, was the head of science at Carmel School, a Jewish college in Dianella. He was a finalist last year for the esteemed $50,000 Premier's Prize for Excellence in Secondary Science Teaching.

Mr Cahill took his life on Friday, June 6, after detectives searched his home the previous day and charged him with child sex offences.

Police were investigating allegations about sexual activities with a 15-year-old boy he met on the internet.

The boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was not a student at the school at which Mr Cahill taught.

Mr Cahill was well-respected in education circles and had written papers used to develop WA's high school science curriculum.

A police source told The Sunday Times the boy went to Mr Cahill's Mt Lawley home on Sunday, May 11, where they engaged in sex.

The 15-year-old boy told police he exchanged contact details with Mr Cahill in an internet chat room. Mr Cahill made no admissions to police.

But he told his lawyer Jeremy Birman he had believed the boy to be over the 16 years age of consent.

He told Mr Birman he had responded to a classified ad on a website. The advertiser claimed to be 17 years old, published a mobile phone number and offered his services for cash.

Police were called a week later when the boy's parents filed a complaint.

It is understood a computer and mobile phone were seized during the home search.

Mr Cahill's body was found at home by a friend the next night, after he failed to keep an appointment.

It is alleged that through the sex was agreed to by both parties, it was illegal because the boy was under the age of consent.

In light of Mr Cahill's death, police charges have been dropped.

More than 500 people including friends, and past and present students, attended Mr Cahill's funeral at Midland on Friday.

Mr Birman said the State Government recently changed the Criminal Code to abolish the defence of reasonable but mistaken belief of age in under-age sex cases.

Anyone over 19 years old having sexual relations with a child under 16 is automatically guilty of a serious offence.

"Populist legislation like this invites entrapment and blackmail," Mr Birman said.

"An accused person should have the right to put his side of a story to a jury. The changes to the law were intended to protect victims. Who is the real victim in this case?"

Mr Birman called on Attorney-General Jim McGinty to review the law.

..News Source.. by Nicole Cox and Jon Bassett

1 comment:

David said...

I am Jeff's nephew. My uncle was an extremely good and honest man, one of the family members I looked up to the most. His death has created much pain and heart-ache to my family for something to in which he was innocent off doing.

I hope all that read this are aware that not everything in the press is 100% true. Jeff believed the boy was actually 18y.o. as his add also said. Even the police at first thought the boy was of mature age to.

As every day goes by, I still feel the pain of losing the most amazing person uncle anyone could ask for as an uncle, family member, friend or even just someone to ask for guidance.

R.i.p. Uncle Jeff. I miss you.