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Girls' claims 'ruin career'

John Valuch says his teaching career has been ruined by students making false allegations against him.
John Valuch says his teaching career has been ruined by students making false allegations against him. Max Fleet

A BUNDABERG teacher claims his career has been ruined after a group of female students falsely alleged he had engaged in inappropriate and sexual behaviour.

John Valuch was a supply teacher at Kepnock High in 2007 when a group of girls made three separate allegations against him: one saying he had touched her leg in the middle of class, two others saying he took photos and made inappropriate comments to them, and others saying he had contacted them online.

Mr Valuch said police investigated the incidents and brought no charges against him.

"(The student alleged) that during a class, I rubbed my hand up and down (her) upper thigh on two separate occasions until she told me to stop," he said.

"This outrageous allegation was found by the police as having no case to answer, as the student admitted her signed statutory declaration was false."

But despite police not taking the matter further, the Education Queensland Ethical Standards Unit investigated and said two allegations, excluding the claim of touching, had been substantiated.

"The ESU has not been able to present any evidence to back the student's claims," he said.

"In hindsight, the only mistakes I have made in this matter was naively underestimating the depths of the nastiness of students and putting my faith in Education Queensland to conduct a fair and proper investigation.

"I was not afforded the presumption of innocence and they all just assumed I was guilty."

Mr Valuch said it was alleged he had had email and online instant message conversations with his students, but the ESU had never obtained copies of the alleged conversations.

He said the students, who he believed were all close friends, brought the allegations within a few weeks of one another, even though they alleged one of the incidents happened eight months earlier.

Mr Valuch said he had ejected one of the girls from class for bad behaviour and believed that if he had not done that, the allegations may never have been made.

"I think these girls have colluded," he said.

"I've lost my career, three years' pay, my good reputation and gone through a great deal of stress."

The allegations sparked a three-year ordeal for Mr Valuch who, after being suspended, is still unable to get full-time work.

Mr Valuch said Education Queensland first said because of the incident he could only work as a relief teacher, but after months of communications, said he would be eligible to work full-time.

"They said I could apply for all positions now on merit, but I've been out of work three years because of this, so what merit do I have?" he said.

"There's no way they'll give me a job."

Education Queensland refused to comment on the situation, saying only that "any matters between the department and potential employees are confidential".

"Mr Valuch is a current applicant for teacher employment with the Department of Education, Training and Employment," a department spokesman added.

Topics:  allegations



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