Kyra is the Rotorua Daily Post's police, emergency and court reporter.

School rugby coach still employed after guilty plea

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GUILTY: Ngarimu Simpkins in action for Whakarewarewa in 2009.PHOTO/FILE
GUILTY: Ngarimu Simpkins in action for Whakarewarewa in 2009.PHOTO/FILE

Rotorua Boys' High School's director of rugby is still working at the school, despite pleading guilty to assaulting two boys.

Robert Ngarimu Simpkins, 35, known as Ngarimu, is a former Bay of Plenty Steamers hooker. He was appointed director of the school's rugby academy in October 2014 and also coaches the school's national champion 1st XV.

Last week he pleaded guilty in Rotorua District Court to two charges of assault on a child under 14 and two charges of injuring with intent to injure. The assaults happened in Ngongotaha in January 2015.

Today, Rotorua Boys' High School principal Chris Grinter and Board of Trustees chairman Herby Ngawhika released a statement saying the situation had been discussed in-committee on Wednesday.

"It is not appropriate to make further comment at this point in time" it said.

"Mr Simpkins remains on full and normal duties as director of rugby."

Simpkins' father, Robert Miroa Simpkins, 59, also pleaded guilty to one charge of assault on a child under 14 and one charge of assault with intent to injure in relation to the same incident.

The pair had chased three boys after one of them stole a pair of shoes from outside their house. During the incident, Ngarimu Simpkins pinned one on the ground and punched him in the head more than once.

He also kicked or punched the boy in the stomach and later punched one of the boys in the face, knocking him to the ground.

Two boys were taken to hospital where they were treated for injuries. A third boy was uninjured but shaken.

The pair will be sentenced on August 26 at the Rotorua District Court.

Ministry of Education's Steve Stuart, head of sector enablement and support said the ministry could not comment on individual cases, but supplied the Rotorua Daily Post with a general statement.

"Like all schools, our first priority is to do everything we can to keep children safe.

"A number of measures have been introduced recently to strengthen safeguards around people who work with children," he said.

The Ministry of Social Development states that any organisation funded by the government must observe the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act.

A police vet must be obtained for anyone appointed to work during normal opening hours.

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