Three more girls accuse Hastings music tutor

Police say more charges are likely to be laid against Hastings music teacher Richard Roberts as more girls have made complaints of indecent assault.

Roberts, who gave keyboard lessons at several Hastings schools and the Technics Music Academy, was sentenced to 3 years' jail on Tuesday.

Since July, when Roberts pleaded guilty to 12 charges of indecent assault on girls aged between 7 and 10, police have interviewed another young girl and will interview two others next week.

When two girls told their teacher in May about what happened during their keyboard lessons, Detective Jude Hill sent around 50 letters to the parents of Roberts' students.

Before Roberts was sentenced, a parent of one of his victims delivered a flyer to houses in a Hastings suburb. It said parents needed to be told about what Roberts had done in case he had taught their children.

Ms Hill said publication of Roberts' name meant parents were aware of what happened. It was a shame the flyer was distributed because it flouted laws on what details could be published

The parent says they asked their daughter's school to run a programme that teaches children what is good and bad touching, and who they can go to if the latter ever happens to them.

"Again I have been unsuccessful," the parent said.

The principal of the school named in the flyer said the school had always planned to run such a programme, but decided not to do so immediately.

"You wouldn't do that - run the programme the day after the court case. The best time to run it was after the children had received support and been given a couple of weeks."

The principal said he was unhappy the flyer identified his school. Most of the parents did not want the school named and, although he was not responsible for the flyer, he apologised to the parents that it had been identified.

Ms Hill said some of the girls had decided not to tell anyone about what had gone on in Roberts' music lessons. Parents often blamed themselves when their children were reluctant to talk, but they were not at fault, she said.

- HAWKE'S BAY TODAY

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