High School coach investigated following stripping incident

SIMON DAY
Last updated 14:14 04/09/2014

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A male coach of a soccer team at a prestigious Auckland all-girls school has been stood down and is being investigated after a teenage member of his team stripped down to a bikini and fishnet stockings on a street in Rotorua.

St Cuthbert's College is investigating the actions of the coach and its students after the girl stripped on the request of passing drivers on Fenton St yesterday afternoon as part of a team initiation during college winter tournament week.

The girl was left wearing a string bikini, fishnet stockings and a dog collar according to witnesses and was surrounded by her team mates, carrying a sign that said 'toot for a strip.

The team has been withdrawn from the tournament and is returning to Auckland where the incident and future employment of the coach, who is an independent contractor, will be reviewed by the school.

The event was witnessed by Rotorua Bike Barn employee Ruthy Arrowsmith who, concerned about the age of the girls, complained to the coach, who stood by laughing as the girl disrobed.

"They were all 14, 15, if they were older I would be very surprised. As a parent, those parents of those girls would not have signed a waiver to say those girls can go to Rotorua to strip in the streets, it just not acceptable." she said.

The girl was getting attention from a growing crowd of older men and a van with the school logo was nearby, according to Arrowsmith.

"It is a young girl stripping off in the streets, and they're from a prestigious school in Auckland, don't come down and do your skanky stuff," she said.

According to Arrowsmith's conversation with the coach this was one of a number of initiations, including a girl who was duct taped to a power pole and another who ran through a supermarket naked.

St Cuthbert's principal of 16 years, Lynda Reid, said she was shocked by the incident and it was the first time she had encountered anything like this before.

"We are deeply disappointed. I am devastated. This is not what we expect. It is not something that we have ever experienced before. It is deeply disappointing to our whole community," said Reid.

She was not aware any videos or pictures of the incident being posted online.

The girls parents had been informed. Privacy issues meant all she could say was the girl was an "older student in the senior school."

"One of the things we will look really closely at is why despite all the programmes and all the cyber safety the girls thought this was an ok thing to do," she said.

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