School avoids charges over sex complaint delay

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CHARLES HARTER: The school teacher whose offending led to complaints against his bosses. PHOTO/FILE
CHARLES HARTER: The school teacher whose offending led to complaints against his bosses. PHOTO/FILE

Criminal charges won't be laid against a Havelock North Primary School Board over alleged failures to act quickly enough over claims of a teacher's sexual abuse of pupils in early 2014.

Charges were being considered after the board in place at the time was criticised by the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal, which earlier this year censured former principal Paul Bremer for serious misconduct in failing to refer the complaints involving teacher Charles John Michael Harter to the police.

In court in September 2014, Harter admitted nine charges and was the following month sentenced to three years and four months imprisonment. He was released on parole at the end of January this year after serving about 18 months.

The tribunal found the school did not report the complaints to the Education Council until the day after complaints were lodged with police, more than two months after school administration became aware of the allegations.

Now police have conceded they were unable to take the matter further because of the expiry of a statutory six-month timeframe within which charges would needto have been laid and have apologised to a school parent who lodged the complaint.

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