Ex-principal accused of child abuse

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The charges against Raymond Melrose date back to the late 1960s. Photo / Thinkstock
The charges against Raymond Melrose date back to the late 1960s. Photo / Thinkstock

The former principal of a Northland Christian school has appeared in court on sex abuse charges involving two young boys more than 40 years ago.

Raymond George Melrose, of Paihia, has appeared in Kaikohe District Court on 10 charges including four of sodomising a boy aged 12-16.

Melrose was the principal of Kaikohe Christian School from 1997 until earlier this year but the charges date back to the late 1960s and early 1970s when he was teaching outside Northland. One of the alleged victims was aged 9 at the time.

The 68-year-old appeared before a registrar yesterday morning and was remanded on bail until his next appearance on November 22. As part of his bail conditions he was ordered not to have any unsupervised contact with children aged under 16.

His lawyer, Catherine Cull, did not seek suppression. There was no indication whether Melrose would plead guilty.

Kaikohe Christian School Board of Trustees chairman Mike Norman said Melrose was stood down when the allegations were made and resigned at the beginning of term two.

The school had an acting principal with a permanent replacement due to start next year.

It had been a difficult time for the school, Mr Norman said.

According to the school's website, it had just 19 students when Melrose became principal and now has more than 180. It also has a Kerikeri campus located at Waimate North.

Melrose is facing four charges of sodomising a boy aged 12-16 between August 1968 and January 1972. He also faces two charges of indecently assaulting a boy aged 12-16 and three of an indecent act on a boy aged 12-16, between August 1968 and August 1973, and one indecent assault on a boy aged 9 between February 1971 and February 1972. The victims are understood to be brothers.

The allegations against Melrose are only the latest to rock the Far North. Former Pamapuria School deputy principal James Parker is now serving preventive detention on more than 70 sexual abuse charges involving boys and yesterday, James Brian Sanders, 65, appeared in Kaitaia District Court on 24 sexual abuse charges relating to seven young girls.

Kaitaia man Daniel Luke Taylor pleaded guilty earlier this month to nine charges of sexual offending against boys and youths, more than 11 months after he was arrested.

The 37-year-old was remanded in custody for sentencing on November 14.

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