The apparent suicide of a senior teacher at Perth’s only Jewish school is believed to be linked to child sex-offense allegations against him.
Jeff Cahill, 48, the head science teacher at Carmel School, apparently committed suicide on June 6 – one day after police searched his home and charged him with sex offenses against a minor, according to Inspector Wayne Silver of the local police department.
He was believed to be involved with a 15-year-old boy – who was not a student at Carmel – he had met through the Internet. Cahill’s attorney said his client had told him he had been led to believe the youth was 17 years old, which is over the legal age of consent, the Sunday Times reported.
Although suicide was not listed on the death certificate, both the police and local community members understood the cause of death to be suicide and the Sunday Times reported that Cahill’s lawyer confirmed it was suicide.
Silver said the charges were dismissed after Cahill’s death, a formality that occurred once the case was rendered obsolete because of his death.
Carmel School president Alan Hershowitz told JTA that the school board had decided to suspend him because of the allegations, although he was not formally notified because he died the next day.
More than 500 family, friends, colleagues and students attended his funeral on June 13.
Last year, Cahill was a finalist for the auspicious $50,000 Premier’s Prize for Excellence in Secondary Science Teaching.
Perth, one of the most remote Jewish communities in the world, has a population of about 7,000 Jews.