GGS victim has no memory of being abused

A former student has no memory of being sexually abused up to 40 times by a Geelong Grammar School staff member, who pointed out yearbook photos of his victims to police.


Luke Benson said police told him in 2005 that Highton House live-in boarding house assistant Philippe Trutmann had admitted sexually abusing him 30 to 40 times over a two-year period.

“This news changed my life,” Mr Benson told the child abuse royal commission.

“I have no memory of this happening and I inquired whether it was a mistake.

“The police told me that Trutmann had reviewed school yearbooks and identified from photographs the boys he had abused.

“I think this was the worst day of my life.”

Some other boarders called Trutmann “filthy Phil”, as he often lingered around the shower area and regularly went into boys’ rooms as they slept and sexually abused them.

Mr Benson did not remember hearing anything like that.

He started at Geelong Grammar as an 11-year-old boarder in 1988 and recalled Trutmann being intimate by giving him back rubs but was not alarmed by that human contact.

“I saw Trutmann as a father figure,” he said.

Mr Benson now realises that Trutmann groomed him.

“But how I was abused is still a total mystery to me,” he said.

Mr Benson, who settled civil action against the school for $26,000, said he has received no support from Geelong Grammar.

“I want the opportunity to talk to someone at the school who I can trust.

“I need to know how the school can rationalise the abuse I experienced with the positive education environment that they now promote.”

The commission has heard Trutmann regularly abused boys during his time at Highton House from 1985 to 1996, despite the school being told as early as 1985 or 1986 and again in 1992.

He was jailed in 2005 for six and a half years for sexually abusing 40 students.