Teacher faces new child abuse charges

MICHELLE COOKE AND SIMON DAY
Last updated 15:42 15/11/2012
COMMUNITY BETRAYED: James Parker, 37, who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a dozen boys while he was deputy principal of Pamapuria School in Kaitaia.
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COMMUNITY BETRAYED: James Parker, 37, returning to court over new charges of child abuse.

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Confessed child abuser and former Northland teacher James Parker may be sentenced to preventative detention.

Parker today offered no plea to 23 fresh charges of sexual offending against young boys when he appeared in Kaitaia District Court.

Parker, 37, pleaded guilty in August to 49 charges of sexual indecent assault and sexual connection against 12 victims.

Eight more victims came forward through the police hotline, set up after Parker's arrest. All victims were boys aged 10 to 15.

He was due to be sentenced today on the charges he had earlier pleaded guilty to, but this was postponed until March 2013 due to the new charges.

Judge Greg Davis apologised to the victims and their families that the case was not able to be moved forward faster.

"It is some regret that I cannot proceed because it is in the interest of the victims that this is drawn to a close, and as fast as possible," Judge Davis said.

A pre-sentencing report that provides insight into the drivers of his offending and guidance to sentencing recommended Parker receive preventative detention.

"This means you are kept in custody for a long and indefinite period," Judge Davis said.

The District Court does not have the jurisdiction to impose a sentence of preventative detention and the case would need to be referred to the High Court.

Before that can happen, Judge Davis must receive reports that assess Parker's risk to the public and assess the offending in its totality.

"This is a particularly complex sentencing exercise. I have not been able to find similar offending or a similar extent of offending," he said.

Parker's offending occurred from 1999 - 2012.

His main offending period was from 2006 to 2012 while deputy principal at Pamapuria school, 10km south of Kaitaia.

Parker sobbed and avoided looking at the public gallery full of his victims and their families.

He will next appear at sentencing indication hearing on March 13, 2013.

Earlier today in the same coutroom, a Kaitaia businessman appeared facing 19 charges of indecent assault and sexual connection against children under 16.

Daniel Taylor collapsed in the dock as he was being addressed by Judge Davis and was escorted from the court by police to receive medical attention.

The hearing continued in Taylor's absence. Judge Davis denied him bail for fear that he could interfere with the ongoing investigation.

"In my view there is a real and appreciable risk that he will interfere with victims and witnesses," the judge said.

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The public gallery at the court was packed as five new charges against a new victim were today added to the previous 14 Taylor was facing, taking the total to five victims. All were under the age of 16.

Taylor’s alleged offending occurred between April 2007 and September 2012.

The judge said Taylor's apparent five-year grooming campaign meant there was likelihood he could interfere with the alleged victims, some of whom were aged under 12.

"There appears to be the hallmarks of a campaign of abuse, and with the ongoing investigation, this cannot be underscored."

The police investigation had revealed one further potential victim who had yet to come forward.

Taylor, who had been a prominent figure in the town, was a former leader of the Kaitaia Business Association and was also a prominent elder and youth leader in the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

Taylor also became a caregiver at Child Youth and Family in April 2011 after passing all the required checks, but this was revoked as soon as CYF became aware of the police investigation.

He will next appear on 18 December.

QUESTION OF TRUST

University of Canterbury Law School dean Dr Chris Gallavin said Parker will undoubtedly spend a number of years in prison.

“It appears with this guy that this is right at the upper end of the seriousness of sexual offending,” Gallavin said.

“It’s very safe to say that he is one of the worst sexual offenders.

“An aggravating factor is this person was in a position of trust and confidence and was given access to his victims…It’s usually the people who are a teacher or a religious leader or scout leader…the trust relationship exists in regards to the child. They’re told by their families that these people are people you can trust,” he said.

“You can’t help but think that out of all the people who are victims that there may be others who haven’t come forward out of fear. This could just be the tip of the iceberg.”

ALSO IN COURT

Another Kaitaia man, Daniel Luke Taylor, is due to appear in court today on 17 charges, including 15 of indecent assault and two of attempted unlawful sexual connection. He has not yet pleaded to the charges, which police say occurred between 2007 and 2011.

James Parker has pleaded guilty to 49 charges. They include:

16 charges of an indecent act on boy aged under 12

24 charges of indecent assault on boy aged 12 - 16

Four charges of sexual connection with child aged under 12

Five charges of sexual connection with young person aged 12 -16.

He faces another 23 charges, which include:

Four charges of sexual violation.

Eight charges of an indecent act on a boy aged under 12 years

Four charges of an indecent act on a boy aged between 12 and 16

One of an indecent assault on a boy aged under 12 years

Four charges of indecent assault on a boy aged between 12 and 16

One charge of indecent assault  on a boy aged between 12 and 16

One charge of indecent assault on a boy aged under 16

- Stuff

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