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“I was invited to jump into a 59 year old's bed." Victim's powerful response to Andrew Bolt.

This post deals with child sex abuse and might be triggering for some readers. 

Paris Street, the former St Kevin’s College student who was groomed by his athletics coach, has criticised Andrew Bolt and Gerard Henderson for their discussion of the crime on Sky News.

On Tuesday, Bolt described the actions of convicted sex offender Peter Kehoe towards Street by saying: “[Kehoe] hit on a boy, no sex occurred.”

“How terrible was it really?” he asked Henderson.

Paris Street was groomed by an athletic coach at St Kevin’s College. Post continues below video.

Video via ABC

“Well, not at all,” Henderson responded. “And it was a terrible pile-on against St Kevin’s.”

On Thursday, Street published a response to Facebook, saying he was ‘sickened’ by their trivialising of the crime.

“To have what I was subjected to trivialised on Tuesday night, especially after it was mentioned (and this is assuming you have actually watched the entirety of the documentary), that I hoped telling my story would be the first step to moving on, is inconsiderate particularly when Gerard, you make the comment: ‘well of course we’re sympathetic to the victim’,” Street wrote.

“Also, if you displayed any sympathy towards me, you wouldn’t be minimising what was inflicted upon me. Gerard, you wouldn’t respond to Andrew’s question ‘how bad was it’ by saying ‘well not at all’.

“I was invited to jump into a 59 year old’s bed. I was invited to lick the pre-cum off that same 59 year olds penis. The Facebook messages he sent me. I was fifteen. He was convicted of grooming me.

“For your own knowledge, (it clearly needs enhancement), please refer to the relevant legislation of what grooming actually is.”

He used his message to fact check a number of incorrect claims made by the pair on Sky News, including that Kehoe was never jailed but sentenced to a community corrections order and placed on the sex offenders register for eight years.

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“Gerard Henderson and Andrew Bolt, how would you feel if someone acted the way Peter Kehoe did towards me, towards children of your own? Would your comments be any different?

“Reflect on the comments you have made and never make them again in the future. They make me sick.”

On Thursday night’s The Bolt Report, Bolt apologised to Street.

“You might have noticed that I was really angry yesterday about the way my comments on the ABC’s stories about St Kevin’s had been misreported. I even saw headlines today like ‘he defended the offender’, when of course I hadn’t done that,” he said.

“I used the phrase he had ‘hit on’ this boy, that he’ been obviously sentenced for grooming, and a lot of people took that, particularly people who I’ve criticised before in the media, took this opportunity to say ‘you’re soft on paedophiles and you’re excusing this-and-that’ and I was so angry and so disappointed and I was thinking I should have phrased it better and shouldn’t have used the expression ‘hitting on’. I should’ve said something really bad, that I hate people that are grooming and sending disgusting texts, but I never imagined that people would assume that perhaps I endorsed this or belittled it.”

andrew bolt
Andrew Bolt apologised on Thursday night's The Bolt Report. Image: Sky News.

Bolt said he'd spent "every hour since" the comments thinking about how they were interpreted and should've thought about how Street might feel about them.

"I should have thought of Paris Street, the boy, how he might have heard it... I’m really sorry to you Paris, I’m really sorry. I should have thought about how you would take it.

"I regret it, I’ve spent every hour since thinking about it. I hate what happened".

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The fall-out from the ABC Four Corners report into St Kevin's College has continued all week.

Also on Thursday, the school's deputy head Janet Canny was stood down following allegations she responded inappropriately to a teacher's complaint about child grooming allegations.

On Wednesday, headmaster Stephen Russell resigned after it was revealed on Four Corners' Monday night program he gave a glowing reference to Kehoe after he was convicted of grooming Street.

st kevin's college headmaster stephen russell
St Kevin's College former headmaster Stephen Russell. Image: Facebook.

In a letter to parents, Russell said he was resigning to prioritise the wellbeing of the school and its students.

"In my time at St Kevin’s I have always tried to put the school before self and the students’ wellbeing at the very top of my list of priorities," he said in the letter obtained by the ABC.

Dean of Sport Luke Travers, who described Kehoe in a written reference as 'second to none', saying his "commitment, enthusiasm and reliability" was "faultless", was also stood down.

In 2013, Paris Street was a Year 8 student and promising runner. His coach was Kehoe, himself a St Kevin’s old boy who had been coaching at the school for decades.

At the time, the ABC reported he was privately training some St Kevin’s boys who were members of the athletics club attached to the school.

In 2014, Paris’s mother raised concerns with the school’s welfare officer after Kehoe convinced Paris to train with him alone.

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paris street st kevin's college four corners
Paris Street as a St Kevin's College student. Image: ABC.

"She rang me back and she said 'Mr Russell just wants you to know Peter is a person of good character and you have nothing to worry about,'" Caroline Redmond told Four Corners.

Around the same time, Kehoe began to send her son inappropriate Facebook messages, including: "Hot stuff. I bet you would have won a wet [t]-shirt competition!", "Maybe you needed another hug from me," and "Love you. Xxxxxxxx".

During one private training, Paris told Kehoe about an oral Japanese presentation he needed to finish, and Kehoe replied that that was not the only oral he needed to do.

Paris told Four Corners he felt "very uncomfortable, but I felt like I was in a position where I couldn't do anything".

Kehoe suggested Paris come to his house to look at some of his old St Kevin's yearbooks, where he showed Paris photos of former St Kevin's students who had died by suicide after alleged abuse.

He showed Paris his bedroom, saying he was free to jump in his bed any time he liked.

"It was probably one of the most scary times of my life," Paris recalled, telling journalist Louise Mulligan the coach invited him to engage in a sex act before his mother called, meaning Kehoe was required to drive him home.

paris street st kevin's college four corners
Paris Street. Image: ABC.
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Paris told his friend Ned O'Brien, who told his mother Jo O'Brien. After Jo spoke to Paris' mother, Paris made a statement to police.

In October 2014 Peter Kehoe was charged with grooming for sexual conduct with a child under the age of 16.

At the time, Paris' case was not made public because he was a child. Now 20, he wanted his story to be told.

On April 30, 2015 Kehoe was found guilty of grooming and sentenced to a community corrections order and registered as a sex offender for eight years.

Russell provided the magistrate with a post-conviction reference at the request of Kehoe's lawyers. In it, the headmaster noted how Kehoe had served the school for 35 years.

Following the trial, Paris struggled during his last years of schools. After learning of his headmaster's reference for Kehoe, he felt "gutted".

"Gutted, and just flicked off. Like, 'this is how we think about you, we don't care.'"

He settled a civil claim with the school in August 2019, and wanted to tell his story in order to move on.

"I don't think I would be able to live the rest of my life without telling anyone, just for my own personal healing," he said.

"It's something that I think a lot of people should know about because it affects everyone. It can affect anyone, and it affected me."

If this post brings up any issues for you, you can contact Bravehearts (an organisation providing support to victims of child abuse) here.

If you are concerned about the welfare of a child you can get advice from the Child Abuse Protection Hotline by calling 1800 688 009, or visiting their website. You can also call the 24-hour Child Abuse Report Line (131 478).

Feature image: ABC/Facebook.

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