Teacher pleads guilty to indecent assault charges

By Imran Ali

A Northland teacher has been jailed for two years and nine months for indecently assaulting students at his school and possessing pornographic images.
A Northland teacher has been jailed for two years and nine months for indecently assaulting students at his school and possessing pornographic images.

A Northland teacher has been jailed for indecently assaulting students at his school while massaging them for muscle aches and for possessing pornographic images of boys being sexually violated by adults.

The man does not have name suppression, but his name can not be disclosed to protect the identities of the victims and a suppression order means the school he taught at when he committed the offences cannot be named.

The teacher earlier pleaded guilty to 30 charges of possessing objectionable material and seven of indecent assault, and appeared for sentencing yesterday. Some of the victims and their parents were in court during sentencing and the mother of one of the boys abused by the teacher read his victim impact statement.

The boy was 15 when he was indecently abused and his parents were forced to enrol him in another school. The mother said her family was upset, angry and devastated by the fact that the very person they trusted to look after their son ruined his life.

"He couldn't tell us what happened because of shame and he no longer felt comfortable at school," she said.

Her family is in the process of receiving counselling.

"I hope he goes to jail," she said, referring to the teacher.

Crown lawyer Justin Wall submitted sexual offending should be treated as the lead offence and highlighted the aggravating features of breach of trust and the vulnerability of the victims.

The teacher apologised to his victims and their families through his lawyer Arthur Fairley who referred to his client's early guilty plea and an absence of any previous convictions in mitigation.

Mr Fairley said the teacher's love of his job and his dedication towards his profession were all undone by what he said was an addiction for child sexual abuse images for which he received treatment.

Judge Greg Davis said the teacher gained the trust of various students and when some of them suffered aching muscles, he offered to massage them.

However, his massage progressed to him touching their groin and buttock areas.

On one occasion, Judge Davis said a boy was taken to the school's sick bay area when he complained of being ill.

When the teacher moved his hand towards the boy's pubic area, the student said: "Sir, I will be all right."

The judge said police seized the teacher's computer and discovered hundreds of pornographic images and video clips of naked, pre-pubescent boys being sexually violated by adults. He said Parliament increased the maximum penalty for possession of objectionable material from five to 10 years as lawmakers deemed the offence among the most serious offences in the statute books.

Judge Davis fixed a starting point of four years and two months for all offending but reduced the term on account of the teacher's early guilty plea, his remorse, and the fact he had no previous conviction.

The end sentence was two years and nine months on all charges.

- Northern Advocate

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