An Auckland school rugby coach exploited and abused the trust of nearly 20 children for his own pleasure, a court heard.
Alosio Taimo is facing a total of 83 charges against 18 then-young boys — some going back to the late 80s and early 90s.
Initially, there were nine complainants and 53 charges against Taimo.
However, after the 55-year-old's name was published by the Herald and other media, more complainants came forward.
Taimo denies all the charges against him and his defence says the allegations are "lies" and a "fabrication".
Today, after procedural delays, Crown prosecutor Jasper Rhodes made his opening address.
He said the alleged offending, from 1987 to 2016, saw the 18 boys abused in different ways.
"He abused them frequently, repetitively and in a number of different ways, in a number of locations," Rhodes said.
Taimo is accused of touching the young boys, sexually violating them or inducing them to touch or perform sexual acts on him.
The alleged offences took place at his home, in his car, in school sports sheds, in a classroom, and in a South Auckland park.
On some occasions the boys were allegedly abused while Taimo was dropping them off at their homes.
It is also alleged Taimo touched a young boy on one occasion while his family was at a birthday party.
The youngest boy was 9 at the time, while the eldest was 16, Rhodes said.
"Given the date range of the [alleged] offending, some of the complaints are [now] in their 40s, 42 is the oldest and the youngest is now 13."
Rhodes said Taimo was a senior member of the community and in many cases a family friend, while in some cases a family member.
He was an experienced and successful teacher aide, rugby coach and sports manager, he added.
"He was in a position of respect and trust.
"It was this trust that allowed the defendant to be in a position to care for these boys, or at least that's what their parents thought.
"It was this trust that the defendant ultimately exploited and abused for his own pleasure."
The court heard several of the boys were allegedly violated in a school sports shed during lunch breaks.
One complainant said Taimo also laid down a high jump mat at the school and asked the student to perform oral sex on him.
Another boy, staying at Taimo's home, said he was woken during the night to find his pants pulled down and Taimo touching and kissing him, Rhodes said.
The court heard the boy told Taimo "to get lost" before the rugby coach replied, "I do everything for you, this is how you pay me back?"
Another complainant recalled Taimo "growled" at him when he pulled his hand away after Taimo allegedly indecently assaulted the boy, Rhodes told the court.
Taimo came to New Zealand from Samoa in 1987 and initially moved in with his sister in Ōtara, the court heard.
Rhodes said Taimo's alleged offending first came to light when one of the boys' aunty overheard him "talking to other children about what had happened", Rhodes said.
"He told her in basic terms that the defendant had been touching him and sexually abusing him."
The woman then rang her son who said: "Yes mum, it happened to me too."
Taimo's trial, before a jury and Justice Simon Moore, began on Monday in the High Court at Auckland and is expected to last 10 weeks.
The charges consist of 24 counts of sexual violation by unlawful connection, 18 charges of an indecent act on a child under 12, 23 counts of an indecent act on young person under 16, eight charges of indecency with boy under 12, and 10 charges of indecency with a boy between 12 and 16.
The jury will be asked to return verdicts on each individual charge.
Defence counsel Panama Le'Au'Anae said during his opening statement the allegations against his client were "lies" and a "fabrication".
"Mr Taimo was a mentor to these [boys], particularly the first group of young men, the first 10 complainants," Le'Au'Anae said.
Taimo helped many of the young boys excel in education and sports, he added.
Le'Au'Anae asked why no complaint was made earlier during Taimo's alleged offending over 29 years, most of which stem from 2003 to 2016.
"Did these things happen?
"Why over all this time, was there no complaint?"
"How is it that nobody saw anything? How is it he was able to keep these things secret? Away from the limelight, away from the glare of other teachers."
Rhodes, however, told the jury it would be "an extremely unlikely coincidence for different people to make up such similar things about one person".
"It is the truth, the defendant is guilty of every charge he faces and by the end of this trial you will be sure of that beyond a reasonable level of doubt," he said.
But he said it was not a case of "where there's smoke there is fire" and urged the jury to consider each charge as if it was its own individual trial.
Suppression orders prevent the Herald from naming any schools or sports clubs associated.
The trial continues.