Paedophile deregistration delay 'necessary'

By Heather McCracken

The delay in cancelling convicted paedophile James Parker's teaching registration was necessary to avoid re-traumatising victims, the Teachers Council says.

In a decision released today, the council's disciplinary tribunal has censured Parker and cancelled his registration.

Parker was sentenced to preventive detention for 74 sexual abuse offences in August.

The move came after Education Minister Hekia Parata told the council to review urgently its processes for dealing with teachers convicted of serious crimes.

Council director Peter Lind said the council knew the harm and pain Parker had caused to numerous children, and had ``absolutely no desire to further increase that pain through its actions''.

"We knew Parker was locked up in a cell from day one. We knew there was absolutely no safety issues involved in continuing with our normal deregistration process,'' Dr Lind said.

"We knew that by waiting and being able to use the High Court's sentencing notes, the Disciplinary Tribunal would not have to seek any further evidence and, in particular, interview the victims to prosecute Parker.''

Dr Lind said following this path was in the interests of the victims, the profession and the wider community.

"It ensured first and foremost that the safety of children and young people was protected and, by acting lawfully, ensured that the evidence of his 74 charges of unlawful sexual connection and indecencies against young boys was put on his registration record without re-traumatising his victims.''

Parker was sentenced in August after being convicted of 74 charges of sexual offending against young boys.

They occurred between 1999 and 2012 when he was a teacher at Pamapuria School in Northland and held sleepovers at his Awanui farm.

In an unusual step, Parker was named by the disciplinary tribunal. All identifying details are usually removed from the published decision.

The tribunal, chaired by Kenneth Johnston, said counsel for both Parker and the council's complaints assessment committee agreed on Parker being named, and his registration being cancelled.

"This is an unsurprising development. The convictions referred to the tribunal by the complainant are truly horrendous, and it is impossible to conceive of there being any outcome in this case other than the one to which the respondent has agreed.''

The tribunal ordered that Parker be censured, his registration as a teacher be cancelled, and that the decision be published including the respondent's name.

- APNZ

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