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Former Scots teacher takes own life

4-13-2009 Australia:

THE body of a former teacher of The Scots PGC College in Warwick who was facing child sex abuse charges was found in a suburban park south of Brisbane on Thursday after his suicide, police confirmed yesterday.

Michael David Austin, 77, was due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on May 13 for a committal hearing to determine if he would face trial on at least 12 charges of sexual mistreatment of former students of the elite school.

A Warwick Police spokesman said shocked passers-by discovered his body about 4.30am on Thursday at a park on Underwood Road in the Logan City suburb of Rochedale South, where he is understood to have lived.

His vehicle was found a short distance away in the car park.

Austin was one of two former Scots teachers from the early 1970s to be charged with sex abuse after former students came forward last year with complaints to the police.

The other teacher, who cannot be named at this time, is due to face the Brisbane Magistrates Court for further mention on April 27.

Complainants in the Austin matter, who include both male and female former students, were devastated yesterday at his suicide, describing it as a “gutless and selfish act” to avoid justice.

John Paterson, the first complainant to come forward in relation to both of the ex-teachers, told the Daily News he and the others were “all very angry and all disappointed beyond explanation”.

“It's been a long road to get to the stage we did and I doubt there will ever be closure for any of us,” Mr Paterson said.

“In my case closure would have come firstly from a conviction and secondly his imprisonment.

“I am very angry and the frustrating thing is that there isn't a damn thing I can do about it.

“All that's been achieved is further hurt and pain for the victims.”

It is understood Austin was dismissed from the college for inappropriate behaviour towards a young female student, however the school has previously declined to confirm the precise circumstances of his departure.

Current college authorities have also denied their predecessors at the time failed to inform the police of complaints made about Austin by students alleging sexual abuse.

The college yesterday declined to comment on Austin's death. ..Source.. by Jeremy Sollars

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