Batlow school teacher found not guilty of sex with student

Former Batlow school teacher Gregory Bruce Ebeling has been found not guilty of the charge of unlawfully having carnal knowledge of a student.

Ebeling, now 62, faced a jury in Wagga District Court last week after he was accused of having sex with a Batlow Central School student numerous times between 1979 and 1980.

After several days in court, the jury took only an hour to make their decision.

The charges alleged he had sexual intercourse with the student, then aged 15 or 16, at various places, including on a school excursion which the girl’s mother also attended, on the rough ground of a ploughed paddock, on the side of the road after a shopping trip to Wagga, at a picnic beside a creek and on or about her 16th birthday.

The allegations came to light during the Royal Commission to Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, at which the alleged victim testified, before deciding to take the matter to the police in 2015.

At the trial she admitted inconsistencies in the dates she had reported, saying “the horror of the abuse” drowned everything else out.

The court heard Ebeling was a 24-year-old teacher on his second posting when he became friendly with the girl’s family in 1979 and would take her for rides on his motorcycle and in his orange car, when they would be alone.

Ebeling did not testify at the trial, but told police at an earlier date that he was innocent of the charges.

His most recent position was as a TAFE teacher on the NSW North Coast.