Teacher accused of child sex took boys for 'coffee and chat'

Former St Johns College Woodlawn teacher James Doran is accused of committing a raft of child sex offences against students.
Former St Johns College Woodlawn teacher James Doran is accused of committing a raft of child sex offences against students. Rodney Stevens

A FORMER St John's Woodlawn College teacher now facing a raft of child sex offence charges regularly took boys off campus for "coffee and a chat" and allegedly encouraged several students to "bunk in together" on a trip to Sydney.

James Sampson Doran wore court-issued earphones and sat on a walking frame, silently shaking his head as allegations were made against him in Sydney District Court.

He faces 37 child sex-related charges stemming from claims he had homosexual intercourse and committed other forms of abuse with students under his care during the 1980s.

The court was closed to the public as Judge Robert Toner heard evidence from the former English teacher's alleged victims, who cannot be identified.

The media was also prohibited from publicising where Mr Doran, in his eighties, now lives.

One alleged victim's former classmate told the court going off grounds for a coffee with "Doro" was a common occurrence at the North Coast school.

"He would regularly offer to take the boys into town after school for a coffee and a chat," he said.

"(Those outings) were perceived as just one of the benefits of a friendship with Mr Doran, I think."

The court heard such trips were rare among the rest of the teaching cohort.

"It was almost an institution wasn't it? It's not like he was being covert about it?" Judge Toner remarked.

The former student recalled he and three or four other boys went on a trip with Mr Doran to attend a play in Sydney as part of their HSC English course.

When they arrived at their hotel, he said there was only one bed.

He claimed Mr Doran said there was a mistake with the booking but assured the boys it "would be okay".

"The idea was that we would all bunk in together on the bed or on the lounge," the former student said.

When asked if Mr Doran said he would share the bed as well, the former student replied: "He didn't explicitly say that, in my recollection, but that was the inference in the discussion."

He said he decided to stay with a schoolmate visiting his parents in Sydney and left Mr Doran and the rest of the students at the hotel.

The friend he stayed with also gave evidence in the trial, saying another classmate had told him Mr Doran "tried it on" with him after the Year 12 formal.

"(He said) Mr Doran had taken him for a drive after the formal, and that as they drove to the town he pulled the car over and made an advance," he told the court.

"I remember him saying that he put his hand on his thigh and that he made some requests.

"They were of a sexual nature.

"I cannot recall the exact request, but that it had shocked (him) and that it was very blatant and obvious.

"He very strongly rejected the advance and asked to be taken back to school."

The former student said his friend claimed Mr Doran had started driving back to the school but drove past its gates, pulled over again and repeated the sexual advance, only to be rejected again.

"This time Mr Doran had taken him back to school, dropped him off at the school gates and driven away in a rush," he said.

The trial will continue next week.


Topics:  child sex child sex charges james sampson doran police sexual assault st john's college woodlawn teacher woodlawn

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