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Former Marist College teacher charged

By Cameron - 17 January 2008 122

Following on from a story a while back alluding to the possibility of former marist people being charged, the ABC are reporting that former teacher John Kostka (also known as John Chute) is being charged with 18 counts of “acts of indecency”.

Allegedly Mr Kostka indecently assaulted seven young men aged between 13 and 15 throughout the 1980’s.

He’s in court this afternoon.

ABC story is here.

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122 Responses to
Former Marist College teacher charged
nyssa76 10:15 am 18 Jan 08

VP, I was responding to your last post to me.

It could also be that I have a chest infection (asthmatic) and I should be in bed.

VicePope 10:11 am 18 Jan 08

Nyssa – maybe I’m just being a bit dense, it being Friday and all, but I can’t follow your last post.

I suspect most schools have some history in the regard, because it’s impossible to avoid. Some are worse than others, and some are better at hiding the bodies than others. Even if teachers are carefully selected, if referees are questioned closely and if there are very clear rules, a few horrors will think they don’t apply to them. The present environment, where high quality teachers are simultaneously scarce and undervalued, is one where some might get through. The nature of this kind of activity is that a combination of fear, shame and misguided loyalty can keep victims silent. So any claim asserting a negative (that it isn’t happening or didn’t happen in a particular school) is no more than an expression of optimism.

The best that can be done is to create an ability for students and other teachers to disclose, confidentially, any concerns they may have and to lay down clear rules. And, of course, the lower the barrier to disclosure is, the more likely there will be some alllegations that are mistaken, frivolous, malicious or opportunistic. So a school/education authority needs a credible inquiry system, and should be prepared to go to the cops or suggest that the victim do so immediately there is any evidence. Oh, and if there is a credible suspicion, don’t facilitate the teacher moving on to another school.

Duke 10:08 am 18 Jan 08

Your dealings with Kostka were similar to mine and many other students, Gerry-Built. While in no way condoning the awful behaviour of Kostka towards some students, to many he was just a good bloke. In my years at Marist I saw brothers smack students upside the head, slam them into lockers, hit students with various implements, but violence was something you never feared from Kostka – which made him one of the few people young students could go to when they needed help.

Today, some of the sadistic behaviour employed by Marist teachers from the 80s/90s would bring lawsuits against the school.

nyssa76 9:51 am 18 Jan 08

It never happened at any school I was at as a student or as a teacher and it sure as hell isn’t happening in my current school.

VP, as was I, hence the “are you using that thing 3ft above your arse” comment.

el ......VNBerlinaV8 7:38 am 18 Jan 08

*Any* school Gerry-Built? Not the ones I went to.

scumdorg 6:13 am 18 Jan 08

When I said it was “no big deal” I wasn’t referring to crimes against children by teachers I was referring to the fact I knew Paul Lyons. Just thought I’d clear that up.

Gerry-Built 12:02 am 18 Jan 08

I knew Brother Kostka in my time as a student at Marist (Lyons was gone b4 I started at MCC). I had occasion to join in extra curricular activities he supervised (ie photography club). I never saw anything that would suggest “inappropriate contact”. He was (is?) a genuine, generous, likable character – though he was probably a little more touchy-feely than most adolescent males would be used to in this day and age. On each occasion I have seen him since my school days he has recognised me, said hello, and even had a beer with me on occasion. He was certainly one of the more “grounded” religious staff at the school. In my experience, all of his dealings with students were wholly (holy 😉 appropriate!

There were always rumours about teachers (not just religious) at MCC – just as there are of teachers in *any* school. (Even Nyssa would probably be aware of that – yes???) You just need one vocal/”popular” (usually footballer) student to start spreading rumours…

VicePope 9:41 pm 17 Jan 08

Over the years I have been here, I have met a number of Marist teachers, and found them to be a decent, wonderful group. I did not meet this brother or the late Mr Lyons. I’m sure those I have met are deeply distressed by what may have happened and about the effect on the school’s reputation.

Nyssa – I reacted to the silliness of the post but was more concerned/outraged at any implication (“no big deal”)that it might somehow be ok for a teacher to exploit students.

BerraBoy68 8:44 pm 17 Jan 08

I knew both Kostka and Lyons very well. The latter became a close family friend and he often put his arms around both my brother and me. We never knew about his xtra carricular activites though. We just thought he was a good friend. Kostka was similar but the rumors and warnings from older friends at the school made us more wary of him. Interesting how Kostka was at Lyons funeral! I hope that the history of the school being released in March (Ex-teacher Frank O’Shea is the author) is a true history and not just an overly positive áll sweatness and light”propaganda tool. Marcellin Champagnat must be crying.

nyssa76 8:41 pm 17 Jan 08

VP, it was more my abject horror that someone would be that stupid to post such crap. I blame my red-headed temper.

VicePope 8:34 pm 17 Jan 08

I have not infrequently disagreed with the divine Nyssa. This is not such an occasion, though I would have used more nuanced language. Teachers who sexually abuse kids are bad by any rational standard. They use a position of influence inappropriately for personal gratification and, in doing so, generally mess up the life of the victim. The make attendance at school an occasion of pain, shame and confusion and they ruin the trust kids should be entitled to place in teachers. They should be sacked, locked up and kept away from messing with other young lives.

Even the most marginal case (say, a 22 yo first year teacher teaching kids who are 18 yo so there may not be a criminal offence, at least in some places) is unacceptable because of the confusion between the personal, professional and power-related aspects of the relationship.

This is a general comment – I know nothing of the particular case beyond the media reports and don’t wish to know more.

nyssa76 7:45 pm 17 Jan 08

Are you for real? Are you using that thing 3ft above your arse?

It’s cockheads like him that make it that much harder for good teachers (like me) to do our jobs.

scumdorg 6:09 pm 17 Jan 08

It’s no big deal. I was a sex partner of Paul Lyons in the late 1980s when he was supposedly having sex with the boys at Marist (and later Dara). I didn’t know he was a teacher he was just another gay guy who I met at the public toilet in Crawford St several times. He had a nice rifle collection as well.

Duke 5:42 pm 17 Jan 08

Kostka Chute is correct. He was my homeroom tutor during my early days at Marist College.

– bit of a shock to read of his misdeeds!

fnaah 3:42 pm 17 Jan 08

Wasn’t he AKA Kostka Chute? I’m sure that’s what his name was from 86-91…

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