A primary school has successfully had name suppression lifted from a teacher facing charges of indecently assaulting two girls.
Charles Harter, 63, is facing three representative charges of indecently assaulting the girls between February 1 and July 21 this year. One girl was aged under 16, and the other under 12.
Harter was a part-time drama and music teacher at Havelock North Primary School, but has not been employed there since June.
He was granted name suppression after appearing in Hastings District Court last week, but that was lifted yesterday morning after an application from the school.
Harter, presently in Masterton, declined to comment when contacted by The Dominion Post yesterday. He is on bail and due to appear in court again next month.
School board of trustees chairwoman Rachel Cornwall said it had applied for name suppression to be lifted "as it was hampering our ability to communicate with our school family".
"As a board, we are pleased this was successful. We are a small school in a tight-knit community. We have been working closely with police and other agencies to put in place measures to support our pupils, parents and staff. They are our first priority."
The school has set up a phone line for parents, and a social worker is on site for students. A joint meeting has been planned with agencies including police, the Ministry of Education, and Child, Youth and Family.
Harter has taught in several schools and written and directed numerous musicals, as well as plays for youths. He taught mathematics at Hutt Valley High School for many years.
In 1982 he founded the Wellington-based Shoe String Theatre Company, which has won national awards in festivals of drama with his works. In 2001, his script The Magic and the Madness received best script, best production of a New Zealand play and the technical and design and best overall production awards at the New Zealand Theatre Federation's One-Act Play Festival.
Ministry head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said: "We have been at the [Havelock North] school today and will be there over the next few days helping staff maintain day-to-day routines so that the school can return to normal as quickly as possible".
- The Dominion Post
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