Indecent assault allegations against music teacher

Police are meeting with parents of children at Havelock North Primary School tonight to discuss indecent assault allegations against a music teacher.

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 the school for two and a half years, 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 Monday morning after an application from the school. 

The school has organised a meeting tonight for parents of children who may have been taught by Harter during his time there.  The meeting is not open to the public.

Also attending will be Police staff, representatives from CYF and the Ministry of Education.

Eastern District criminal investigations manager detective inspector Rob Jones said the meeting was a chance for police to explain to parents about the investigation into Harter and to answer any questions they may have. 

‘‘We are expecting parents to have a lot of questions about this case and we want to reassure them we are taking all allegations very seriously.  We have a dedicated team of specialist detectives working on the case and we will be putting every available resource we have into this,’’ Mr Jones said. 

He said the investigation was ongoing, and police were limited about what they could say publicly as the case was now before the courts. 

‘‘There were also major privacy issues that both the Police and the school were bound by,’’ he said.

Chair of the schools Board of Trustees Rachel Cornwall said it was essential that  parents were kept well-informed about the processes underway by the school, Police and other agencies.

‘‘Our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of our pupils, so they will be the focus of any ongoing activity.  It's important that families feel they are supported and kept in the loop about what is happening regarding both the police investigation and the school's response to the allegations,’’ Ms Cornwall said.

Police have set up an 0800 phone line and email address for parents or anyone else who may have concerns about any interactions they or their children may have had with Harter.