A tearful 37-year-old Far North teacher has admitted 49 charges of sexually abusing juvenile boys but told a packed courtroom he is not the monster many will portray him to be.
Many of those in the public gallery at Kaitaia District Court sobbed as James Robertson Parker struggled with his emotions while 25 charges of indecent assault, 15 of performing an indecent act and nine of unlawful sexual connection were read to him, each answered with a plea of guilty.
Parker - a teacher and deputy principal at Pamapuria School, outside Kaitaia, at the time of his arrest last month - was remanded in custody for sentencing on November 15. Judge John McDonald said sentencing would take place in Kaitaia, where the offences were committed.
"The offending took place in this community, and sentencing should take place in this community,'' he said. Anyone with a direct interest in the offending should contact the court registrar if they wished to speak at sentencing, the judge said.
Meanwhile, Parker was permitted to read a statement in which he said his thoughts were with the young people he had abused and their families.
"Words cannot express the total shame, guilt, regret and sorrow that consumes me day and night because of the things I have done.
"Believe it or not, these crimes were committed against people I care about very much. I wish I could fix the damage I have caused.
"My crimes have also had awful and drastic consequences for my school community, students, staff, parents, board of trustees and principal. You are all indirectly victims of what I have done. As a teacher and deputy principal I held a position of great trust. My actions betrayed that trust. I have let you all down, causing huge amounts of unnecessary stress. I am truly sorry.
"To my family and friends to whom I have caused immense hurt and unthinkable distress, I cannot even bring myself to beg your forgiveness...
"Those of you who know me well will know that I am not the monster that many will portray me to be. I am, however, the unwilling host of a most terrible disorder.
"It is my great hope that all who have suffered because of me will now be able to get the help they need. It is also my desperate wish that I too will be able to receive help for this sickness within me.''
Parker said he would grieve over his actions and the suffering he had caused for the rest of his life.
"All I can say is I'm sorry.''
Much of the hour-long hearing, which attracted a strong media presence, was devoted to arguments over name suppression orders that were imposed when Parker made his first court appearance last month.
Counsel Alex Witten-Hannah argued that those orders should remain in place until sentencing, given the danger that the victims, if identified, could be subject to bullying.
"I have great concern that serious damage is likely to be done to some of the boys at least if my client's name is released before they have had proper psychological counselling,'' he said.
"My client does not wish to see these boys who he has offended against suffer more than they already have.''
It was important, Mr Witten-Hannah added, that it be made clear to the community than none of the offences had involved violence, threats of violence or intimidation.
Judge McDonald subsequently noted that the school no longer wished to pursue suppression of Parker's identity. He also found that there was no evidence that lifting the orders would cause extreme hardship for Parker, or undue hardship for his victims, only two of whom sought continued suppression.
Judge McDonald also expressed concern about bullying of the victims.
"None of the victims were at fault,'' he said.
"It's his (Parker's) fault.''
Detective Senior Sergeant Kevin Burke said police were continuing to investigate whether Parker had carried out further offending.
They had set up 0800 900 502 as a dedicated number for those wanting to give information to assist with the investigation.