Pedophile teacher says students 'misinterpreted' contact
CONVICTED pedophile teacher Gerard Byrnes denied doing anything to make any student "feel uncomfortable" in a letter to principal Terence Hayes in 2007.
The letter was written after two conversations with Hayes, in which Byrnes was questioned about allegations of child sex abuse.
In the letter, Byrnes says he did not recall "placing my hand on the upper leg of this or any girl".
"I would not intentionally make contact with a student in this way."
He admits to distributing lollies to students, but states that both females and males were recipients.
Byrnes also admits that students sat on his knees, adding "in hindsight I shouldn't have allowed this to happen".
"However, I assure you that my intentions were of a friendly and innocuous nature only and there was absolutely no inappropriate intention behind this".
Byrnes tells Hayes in the letter that he "always and will continue to" carry out his duties "professionally".
Byrnes suggests his actions were "misinterpreted" by students.
"It is correct that my teaching style does include occasional and brief supportive or friendly pats on students' arms, upper backs or shoulders; and I have in the past allowed students to sit on my knee and have briefly returned a hug if I have received one.
"My limited contact with students in certain circumstances has never been inappropriate, not to my knowledge unwelcome."