Many Kaitaia parents will be hurting over the offending of a trusted teacher who sexually assaulted a dozen boys, a resident says.
James Parker, 37, appeared in Kaitaia District Court this morning where he pleaded guilty to 49 charges involving indecent assault and sexual connection with children aged 12 - 16, and committing indecent acts and sexual assault on boys under 12.
Parker was deputy principal at Pamapuria School in Kaitaia when the assaults took place, between November 2005 and last month.
Parker made a tearful apology in court, where the public galleries were packed for the hearing.
"Believe it or not these crimes were committed against people I care about very much. I wish that I could fix the damage that I've caused," Parker said.
"My crimes have also had awful and drastic consequences for my school, community, students, staff, parents, board of trustees and my principal.
"As a teacher and deputy principal I held a position of great trust, my actions betrayed that trust.
"I have let you all down causing huge amounts of unnecessary stress. I am truly sorry," Parker said.
Parker had been a respected and well-liked member the community.
Long-time Kaitaia resident Des Mahoney said Parker's offending was "absolutely disgusting and so damaging for those children".
"Many parents will be hurting. This news may be tomorrow's fish and chips wrapper but it will affect Kaitaia residents for a long time. We send our kids to state schools to be educated, not violated.’’
Mahoney said he had mixed feelings about what had happened.
"I feel sorry for the school. There are a lot of good teachers there but this is an indictment of the Government because I don't believe there are enough bells and whistles in place to protect children and insufficient follow-up of complaints."
Haven Parrish said that the community had "trusted him" and then "he did this", TVNZ reported.
Iris Simeon, a mother and grandmother of children and grandchildren taught by Parker told TVNZ that she felt sympathy for the man who she insisted was like a part of the family.
“I don’t condone the behaviour whatsoever but I feel sorry for him because he’s only 37 years of age. He’s younger than my children. And to me he’s marked, his life is marked,” she said.
“If Jamie came here to have a cup of tea tomorrow. My door would be open to give him a cup of tea. He was like a part of the family.
Parker will appear in court on November 15 for sentencing.
- © Fairfax NZ News