Health bosses to account for Griffin failures

July 1, 2022 7:16 pm in by

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Further senior Tasmanian health officials will front an inquiry investigating a pedophile nurse who worked in the children’s ward of a hospital for nearly two decades.

The commission examining state government responses to child sexual abuse allegations in the public service has this week been told of “catastrophic” failings surrounding James Geoffrey Griffin.

Griffin, who worked at the Launceston General Hospital for 18 years, died by suicide in October 2019 after being charged with child sexual abuse offences.

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Several survivors have told the inquiry about abuse by Griffin, who was the subject of multiple professional boundary breach reports at the hospital.

A hospital social worker told the inquiry she informed human resources in 2011 Griffin had abused her as a child but the matter went nowhere.

Hospital chief executive Eric Daniels on Thursday unreservedly apologised and acknowledged “catastrophic” system failures surrounding how Griffin was handled.

Tiffany Skeggs, who was abused by Griffin as a teenager and came forward to police in 2019, said she told police he would likely kill himself if he was granted bail.

“I cannot for the life of me fathom how anyone, whether it was the initial police bailing or the subsequent court bailing, could deem that he was safe to return to the community,” she said.

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The inquiry has also been told staff at the hospital were first trained in 2019 about how to spot grooming.

Executive director of medical services Dr Peter Renshaw, former chief executive Stephen Ayre and department of health secretary Kathrine Morgan-Wicks are among Friday’s witnesses.

The inquiry was called in late 2020, largely in response to the allegations against Griffin receiving media coverage.

It has previously examined Tasmania’s education system and out-of-home care and been told teachers were shifted schools after being accused of abuse.