10 Nov 2012

Teacher expected to face more sex abuse charges

6:32 am on 10 November 2012

The lawyer for a Far North teacher who sexually abused a dozen boys says he will be facing more charges of abusing other boys.

James Parker is in custody awaiting sentence after admitting 49 charges of indecent assault and unlawful sexual connection with boys aged 11 to 13 from 2004 until 2012.

His lawyer Alex Witten-Hannah told Radio New Zealand on Friday that further charges are being processed.

Police have confirmed that, though a spokesperson said they had not been laid yet.

Kaitaia police have been investigating at Pamapuria School where Parker was deputy head until his arrest in July this year and also more widely.

Parker also taught at Oturu School in the late 1990s, where there were complaints about his behaviour with boys but were not properly followed up, and in England for three years until 2003.

School didn't protect students - report

The new charges follow a police investigation into James Parker's teaching career in the Far North and an inquiry by the Ministry of Education.

The ministry's report on how Parker was able to prey on young boys in his care was made public on Friday and found that Pamapuria School failed to protect students despite a police warning about him.

Larry Forbes, the Commissioner now running Pamapuria School, says Parker got away with his offending primarily because he was a master manipulator, but says the report found there were actions that the school could have taken to protect its students.

Parker was stood down three years ago while police investigated complaints against him, but was re-instated at the school after the complaints were withdrawn, the report says.

After his reinstatement, police warned the school that he should not be allowed to be alone with pupils or have them to stay at his home.

Auckland barrister Robin Arthur investigated the matter for the ministry and says there is no evidence that principal Stephen Hovell knew of reports that Parker was showering and sleeping with boys at his previous school.

However, he says Mr Hovell was warned by police and Child, Youth and Family in 2009 that there were concerns about Parker.

Mr Arthur's report says Mr Hovell limited details available to the trustees, there was no independent investigation by the school and Parker was never formally told to end his out-of-school contact with children.

The report says the school's response was overly focused on the Parker's welfare and he used his position of power to go on molesting pupils and escape detection.

Kaitaia-based He Korowai Trust chief executive Ricky Houghton says the only person to blame is Parker because of the way he won the trust of others. He says people didn't act over his unusual closeness to children for that reason.

Mr Forbes says Pamapuria School has begun implementing the recommendations in the report, including more rigourous appointment processes.