A music teacher at a prestigious all-girls school in Western Australia has been suspended for three years over “grooming-like behaviour” towards a student.
Now a Victoria’s Secret model has revealed she was the schoolgirl who was targeted, having received years of inappropriate messages from her teacher which was deemed “serious misconduct” in a state administrative tribunal.
Bridget Malcolm was a student at Methodist Ladies’ College in Perth when her music teacher, 53-year-old Aurelio ‘Bobby’ Gallo began to “foster a friendship” with her in 2007.
That friendship included obtaining her mobile number, sending her photos, asking her out to dinner, buying her a graduation gift and staying in touch after she left school, according to tribunal documents, with the misconduct spanning for three years.
Now 30, Ms Malcolm alerted the Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia last year and the tribunal handed down its decision in August.
On Saturday night, Ms Malcolm posted an emotional video on social media revealing she was the student involved as the decision had only just become public.
“I just wanted to say to my fellow survivors out there you are not alone and your future is waiting for you,” she told her followers.
Tribunal documents state that Mr Gallo “failed to maintain professional boundaries and engaging in grooming-like behaviour”, something which he admitted to in the court proceedings.
It all started when the music teacher sent an email to Ms Malcolm from his personal account asking for her mobile number in July 2007.
From there, the two would exchange emails and in one message, he signed off “love Mr Gallo — sorry I mean regards Mr Gallo”, according to tribunal documents.
When Ms Malcolm graduated high school at the end of 2008, her teacher gifted her a silver St Christopher charm, saying it would be a good-luck charm for her overseas trip.
Mr Gallo continued to communicate with her well after school ended, which the tribunal said included “personalised and inappropriate comments”, tribunal documents state.
He also sent pictures of himself, fully-clothed, and requested for her to send photos of her travels and to visit him when she returned to Perth.
In February 2009, the year after she finished school Mr Gallo sent a picture of himself and said: “thought you may like a photo to remember me by. Hope you like it!! I do,” the tribunal heard.
After that he tried to take her out to dinner, emailing: “I may be lucky enough to see you or even better DINNER. But I must not get my hopes up. Luuv (sic) always”
Mr Gallo also asked her why she hadn’t sent him a topless photo of herself.
According to an email sent again in February, another teacher apparently “went on to tell me that she spoke to you for an hour and inform of the topless photos which you obviously didn’t send me!!! Why not may I ask!!”
The disgraced teacher admitted to all of this but denied it was grooming behaviour — although he admitted it was inappropriate.
Mr Gallo said the actions were out of character and that he was remorseful.
The tribunal concluded that Mr Gallo’s actions constituted “serious misconduct” and that he was “unfit” to work as a teacher.
‘I am that student’
On social to media to her hundreds of thousands of followers, Ms Malcom said: “Today became public knowledge that my high school music teacher Mr Boddy Gallo lost his teacher licence for three years. He lost it for serious misconduct against a student whilst he was teaching them and I am that student.
“Still in shock, I’m still kind of processing.
“I’ve definitely had a lot of feelings today all over the place.”
Malcolm was the first model from the state to make it into a global fashion show in 2015.