Tas government sued over alleged abuse

Two teenagers allege James Geoffrey Griffin groomed and abused them at Launceston General Hospital.
Two teenagers allege James Geoffrey Griffin groomed and abused them at Launceston General Hospital.

Two teenagers who claim they were sexually abused as children by an alleged pedophile nurse are suing the Tasmanian Health Service for failing its duty of care.

The pair were patients in Launceston General Hospital's paediatric centre in varying stints between 2015 and 2018.

They allege James Geoffrey Griffin, who killed himself two years ago after being charged with child sex offences, groomed and abused them at the hospital and on sleepovers and camping trips

In a statement of claim lodged with the Supreme Court of Tasmania, one teenager, who was in hospital with an eating disorder, alleges Griffin called her "baby girl", "darling" and his "special girl".

She claims Griffin sexually abused her while taking observations, including measuring blood pressure, and changing her into hospital gowns.

She was also allegedly abused by Griffin at a motel.

He alleged told her "don't tell anyone", "that's what friends do" and "this is our little secret".

According to court papers, she complained numerous times to the nursing manager about Griffin but the hospital "did not accept the complaints or act on the request to remove Griffin's access to (her)".

Griffin is accused of deliberately befriending the second child, who was also in hospital for an eating disorder, to lower her inhibitions, and spending time alone with her in a private room.

"Griffin was forceful and intimidating, and told (her) not to tell anyone," her claim reads.

The hospital did not act on complaints made by the girl's mother, it is alleged.

Both teenagers are suing for damages and medical bills in separate legal actions, arguing the Tasmanian Health Service owed them a duty to exercise reasonable care.

They say they suffered serious harm, including post traumatic stress disorder and major depression.

Law firm Arnold Thomas and Becker say they plan to lodge "many further claims" and two more are likely to be made this week.

Allegations against Griffin will be examined by the Tasmanian Government's Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings inquiry, which is expected to hold hearings later this year.

The royal commission-style inquiry was set up by the state government in late 2020 after allegations against Griffin and workers at the Ashley Youth Detention Centre came to light.

Lifeline 13 11 14

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 (for people aged 5 to 25)

Australian Associated Press