St Patrick's Cathedral - the mother church of the Auckland Catholic Diocese - was unaware its former choir director had twice resigned from jobs following sex conduct allegations.
James Tibbles, a well-known early music specialist, was the choir director and organist at St Patrick's since 2014, but resigned in December "to pursue other musical opportunities", the church said.
A mass was held to farewell Tibbles in January, as he was moving to Oxford in Canterbury.
But on Sunday it emerged that Tibbles had resigned from his position at the University of Auckland in December 2020 amid an investigation into a sexual conduct complaint from a former student.
A similar allegation also surfaced regarding his time teaching music at St Cuthbert's
College more than 20 years ago. That complainant was just 16 at the time of the alleged incidents.
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Auckland Catholic Diocese spokeswoman Lyndsay Freer said Tibbles was contracted as choir director and organist in 2014.
"The cathedral was not aware of any complaints that had been made about him in any previous roles or employment, and he came with excellent references and records of his musicianship and experience.
"No complaints were ever received about him during his tenure at the cathedral," she said.
He had resigned in December 2020 "to pursue other musical opportunities", Freer said.
In 1998 the parents of 16-year-old St Cuthbert's College student Sara O'Brien made a complaint of inappropriate conduct against Tibbles, her music teacher.
Tibbles was suspended and then resigned, but faced no further repercussions and went on to work at the University of Auckland. But in December 2020, Tibbles - who by then was head of the university's music department - resigned following similar allegations from a former university student.
St Cuthbert's former principal Lynda Reid, who led the school in 1998, told the Herald that she and the board "completely believed the student" at the time of the complaint.
"I am deeply saddened for her," Reid said.
The school has now publicly apologised to O'Brien and said the original investigation into the allegations was "not good enough".
"Today, I can assure you that we have robust child protection policies in place to support the safety of our students, and if this situation arose now, we would handle allegations of this nature very differently," the school's principal and board chair wrote in a letter to old girls on Sunday.
"We would immediately notify the appropriate authorities and ensure the ongoing care and safety of the student concerned.
"Please be assured, the wellbeing of our students is our absolute priority, and we are committed to ensuring that they are able to recognise and call out inappropriate sexual behaviour in any context and would be supported when they did."
In correspondence from 2018 published by Stuff, Tibbles admitted to the University of Auckland student that the "relationship was fundamentally inappropriate, and damaging".
He said in a statement: "I have made mistakes in my past and now know that my mistakes have hurt people. That was never my intention, and I am deeply sorry. I do not believe it is appropriate for me to discuss these matters in detail. To do so would breach confidences in relation to matters that are deeply personal to me and others. Having recognised my mistakes, I have retired from music teaching."