Gross Moral Turpitude: The Orr Case reconsidered
William Heinemann Australia, $19.95 pb
There were no winners in the first round of the Orr Case. Sydney Sparkes Orr lost his job as Professor of Philosophy at the University of Tasmania in 1955. Suzanne Kemp, who had accused him of seduction, lost her reputation. Her father, who had supported her accusations, was subjected to all manner of speculation and innuendo. Edwin Tanner, a mature-age student who had complained about Orr’s poor teaching and his requests for professional favours, had his life ruined. Dr Milanov, Orr’s colleague who had protested that Orr was harassing him professionally, found himself subjected to just the kind of persecution he had fled in his native Serbia. The chair of philosophy at the University of Tasmania was banned so that no appointment could be made for many years, and the university itself became notorious. Even Mr Justice Green, whose findings in Orr’s case against the University was both sane and balanced, as well as quite proper in law, was subjected to rumours which brought his personal life and therefore his judgement into question. Those who went to extreme lengths to support Orr, notably W.H.C. Eddy and R.D. (‘Panzee’) Wright, eventually found themselves also among Orr’s targets as they struggled to place his case before the world and to work out a settlement which would at least provide for his grotesquely mistreated wife and family.