Music teacher charged over indecent assault

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 10:29 18/08/2014
Harter
FACING CHARGES: Charles Harter, 63, who is facing three representative charges of indecently assaulting two girls.

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A Havelock North music teacher has been charged with indecently assaulting girls.

Charles Harter, 63, is facing three representative charges of indecently assaulting two girls between February 1 and July 21.

Harter was a drama and music teacher at Havelock North Primary School but is no longer employed by the school.

Harter has taught in several schools and written and directed numerous musicals, and plays for youth.

In 1982 he founded the Wellington based Shoe String Theatre Company which has attained national awards in festivals of drama with his works.

In 2001 his script The Magic and the Madness received Best New New Zealand Script, Best Production of a New Zealand Play, the Technical and Design and Best Overall Production Awards at the New Zealand Theatre Federation´s One Act Play Festival.

Harter was granted name suppression after appearing in Hastings District Court last week. Name suppression was lifted this morning.

He is remanded on bail and will appear again in Hastings District Court on September 2.

Havelock North Primary School board of trustees chair Rachel Cornwall said the school was shocked by news that Harter had been charged.

"The school has been working closely with NZ Police to assist in an investigation but until today has been hampered by name suppression of the accused," Cornwall said.

 "As a Board, we applied to have name suppression lifted as it was hampering our ability to communicate with our school family.

"We are pleased this was successful. We are a small school in a tight-knit community," she said.

"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."

She said the board and school management team were working with appropriate agencies and were holding a joint meeting with police, Ministry of Education staff, and Child Youth and Family.

The school has set up a phone line for parents and a social worker is on site for students, staff and parents. 

Parents with any direct concerns, pending the inter-agency meeting, have been asked to contact Detective Lisa Tod

- To contact Detective Tod, phone 06 831 0365 or email lisa.tod@police.govt

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- The Dominion Post

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