Annabel Doust, a former school principal, was dismissed by the NSW Department of Education over a decade-old inappropriate relationship with student Dean Gray.
Who is Annabel Doust?
Annabel Doust, formerly a school principal, has come under public scrutiny after a decade-old scandal involving her sexual relationship with a student resurfaced. The relationship with Dean Gray began in 2013 when he was 17 and in his final year of high school. Tragically, Dean Gray passed away in October 2021 due to an accident while on a camping trip.
Dean Gray’s family, heartbroken by his loss, sought justice for the inappropriate relationship. However, the case could not progress further legally due to Dean’s passing.
Over ten years after the relationship began, the New South Wales Department of Education took action against Annabel Doust, dismissing her from her role as principal. The decision followed a year-long inquiry by the department’s Professional and Ethical Standards Directorate, revealing evidence that Ms. Doust had crossed professional boundaries with the student.
The investigation found that she had privately messaged Dean and engaged in inappropriate conversations between April and August 2013 after sending him a Facebook friend request.
Despite her dismissal, Annabel Doust has not faced criminal charges from the New South Wales Police.
Annabel Doust was serving as the principal of Wee Waa High School during a period when the campus was temporarily closed in 2020 due to health concerns related to mold exposure. At that time, Sarah Mitchell, the then NSW education minister, praised Ms. Doust’s leadership in supporting the school community.
There is no suggestion that Ms. Mitchell had any knowledge of Annabel Doust’s relationship with Dean Gray.
Dean Gray’s parents welcomed the news of Ms. Doust’s dismissal by the education department, viewing it as a measure of justice for their son. They had endured years of emotional turmoil following the revelations of the relationship, and their efforts to seek justice had been challenging.
It was only after Dean’s tragic passing that his parents discovered a trove of Facebook messages between him and Ms. Doust, containing evidence of their relationship. These messages, totaling up to 6,000, documented the course of their three-month involvement.