A Canberra-based law firm is reaching out to the Junee community in the hopes of seeking compensation for victims of a retired Junee High School teacher, who was convicted of historic sexual offences.
Commins Hendriks senior litigator Heather Ross believes the NSW Department of Education should answer a case of vicarious liability, alleging the department knew or ought to have known that Carl William Doherty was a danger to children.
"We've been working on this a while and have so far had a lot of witnesses come forward," said Ms Ross.
Last May, an 82-year-old Doherty was sentenced in Wagga District Court after pleading guilty to 10 counts of assaulting a male and committing an act of indecency, four counts of indecently assaulting a male, seven counts of buggery and one of attempted buggery.
The offences occurred against seven students at Junee High School between April 1965 and May 1981.
The incidents occurred across the Riverina, including in Doherty's car on the side of the road and in a shower on school grounds.
He was jailed for 18 years and nine months, backdated to December 1, 2016.
With offices in Junee and Wagga as well, Commins Hendriks has appealed for former staff, students, or parents to make contact. Informants will also be given the option to retain their relative anonymity.
"I might be the first person they tell, and some might feel more comfortable that I'm in Canberra, that it won't get around the town."
Ms Ross said the evidence will be used to build separate cases in the hopes of maximising compensation for the individual victims.
"Each case deserves to be paid special attention to," said Ms Ross.
"Our strategy will depend on how many come forward, and it's not to say some won't be run together, but in my view, individual cases can be lost during class actions."
A Department of Education spokesperson told The Junee Southern Cross: "There are clear policies and procedures for dealing with such matters including requirements to report criminal matters to police and to notify allegations of reportable conduct to the NSW Ombudsman.
"Where a matter is historical and the person is no longer an employee the department cooperates with the police if it is in possession of any relevant information to assist an investigation."