Bible college reacts to Hayne controversy

 

The bible college Jarryd Hayne retreated to on bail has released a statement in response to a claim teenage students weren't told about his attendance until after he arrived.

The Youth Without A Mission (YWAM) college in Perth has been forced to defend its decision to accept Hayne as a live-in student in 2019.

Hayne was granted a bail variation to allow him to live in Perth temporarily to attend the residential, religious education course with two letters from YWAM being submitted to the court.

District Court Judge Helen Syme last week sentenced the 33-year-old to a maximum of five years and nine months behind bars, with a non-parole period of three years and eight months.

The convicted rapist was found guilty by a jury in March of the sexual assault of a then 26-year-old woman at her Fletcher home on Newcastle's outskirts in September 2018.

RELATED: Hayne's strange car ride

Hayne was allowed to live in an all-male dormitory as part of the Discipleship Training School, but had to report to police three times a week in Perth.

 

 

The college has now been forced to defend the decision to receive Hayne as a student following reported claims from a fellow student at the facility that members of the faith camp were not told about Hayne's sexual assault charges until after he had already arrived at the facility.

The West Australian reported claims from an unidentified person claiming to have attended the camp with Hayne, accusing YWAM administrators of only revealing Hayne's full story two days into the camp.

RELATED: Hayne's teammate sacked for sentencing comments

 

Jarryd Hayne with YWAM colleagues. Photo: Instagram, jarrydhayne38
Jarryd Hayne with YWAM colleagues. Photo: Instagram, jarrydhayne38

The report claims multiple students and staff at the facility have expressed concern about Hayne's participation in the course, where teenage boys and girls also attended

"We weren't told about Jarryd until about two days after DTS (discipleship training school) had started," the woman said in the report.

"The students were shocked because we didn't know about him beforehand."

The same woman is reported to have said participants were told by camp leaders they believed Hayne was innocent of the charges.

"Leadership came to each classroom with Jarryd in tow and told us what Jarryd was accused of but said that they believed that he was innocent. They let him say a few words … and then told us we could come to them or Jarryd with any questions," the woman claimed.

It comes as another person claiming to have been a former YWAM staff member posted on social media that participants weren't told they would be living, eating and studying alongside a now convicted rapist.

 

"YWAM Perth has hundreds of people (many of them women) who give their money and time to volunteer for the organisation," the former staff member wrote.

"Jarryd was accepted on to a school, with other men and women (none of who knew an alleged rapist was going to be on the school - living, eating, studying etc with them) until they all arrived.

"The leaders had accepted Jarryd at his word, he said he was innocent; therefore, he must be.

"This is despite the fact that the NSW Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) had gathered enough evidence to consider that there was a case to answer and in weighing up the benefit to the community determined it was in the best interest of the community to proceed with the matter.

"Lets (sic) keep in mind that people pay thousands of dollars to attend these programs, and to volunteer with the organisation."

Jarryd Hayne during his time on campus at Youth With A Mission campus. Photo: jarrydhayne38
Jarryd Hayne during his time on campus at Youth With A Mission campus. Photo: jarrydhayne38

The bible school responded with a statement on Sunday.

"We feel concern and empathy toward the victim and those impacted by Jarryd Hayne's actions," the statement, posted on social media, claimed.

"Before his arrival in July, 2019, we treated Mr. Hayne the same way that the law does - innocent until proven guilty. Prior to his commencement in the course, we did everything in our power to inform staff and students and gain their feedback regarding Mr Hayne's participation in the course.

"Based on the advice of the New South Wales courts and upholding the strict conditions of his bail, we took every precaution to ensure the safety of all involved. During his three months with us, Mr. Hayne was on a faith journey and conducted himself appropriately with all staff and students.

"We accept and uphold the verdict of the courts and continue to pray for the victim and those impacted."

 

Jarryd Hayne (left) leaves the Downing Centre Court in Sydney. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Joel Carrett
Jarryd Hayne (left) leaves the Downing Centre Court in Sydney. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Joel Carrett

 

Disgraced NRL star Jarryd Hayne.
Disgraced NRL star Jarryd Hayne.

The church organisations's explanation has been slammed by Australian writer and social commentator Jane Caro, who has claimed YWAM's behaviour reinforced an ugly societal view that female victims of sexual assault should stay quiet.

"Hayne was open about his legal status but told the organisers he was innocent of the charges and they believed him," Caro wrote.

"I absolutely accept the premise of innocent until proven guilty and Hayne had not at that time had his day in court. And, despite not being religious, I also believe passionately in the possibility of redemption, so I have no quarrel with the school so far.

" … Surely they should have been given a proper, informed choice long before the course began?"

She went on to write the organisation's decision to support Hayne showed the victim was given no support.

"Our tendency (enabled by patriarchal religions that seem to harbour dark suspicions of women just for being women) to give blokes the largest possible benefit of the doubt, while giving women none at all, has a chilling consequence," she wrote.

"We are sending a very clear message to any woman who might be thinking of seeking justice for sexual assault that the game is not worth the candle. That the price she will have to pay, even if she proves her case in court, will be very heavy indeed. We want women to remain silent."

Originally published as Bible college reacts to Hayne controversy



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