New complaints follow sex offence conviction

JAMES GREENLAND
Last updated 13:59 20/01/2014
Lawrence Shaw
GUILTY: Lawrence Shaw was sentenced to 2 years, 3 months in prison for indecently assaulting five girls.

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Nelson police have been "inundated" with phone calls following the jailing of a former teacher for sex offences against children.

Lawrence Shaw, 44, was sentenced to two years and three months in prison last week having been found guilty of indecently assaulting five school-aged girls, in what Judge Tony Zohrab described as "opportunistic sexual offending against children in a public place".

Outside of court, Detective Constable Steve Arnold, said police were appalled by Shaw's "abuse of trust".

While none of the five complainants at trial were Shaw's students, he had been a teacher in Nelson, Marlborough and Canterbury for the past 20 years, which had put him in a "position of responsibility over other people's young children," Arnold said.

He said he expected more victims of Shaw's opportunistic offending to come forward following reports of his conviction, and invited anyone with concerns to call him on 03 970 2163.

They could also make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, he said.

Since Shaw's sentencing, Arnold said his phone had been "ringing off the hook".

Nelson police communications spokeswoman Barbara Dunn this morning confirmed that at least one complaint would "definitely" be investigated.

Because the investigation was active, she was unable to give details.

While police would look into any new reports about Shaw's behaviour in public and at school, it was too early to know if that would lead to further prosecutions, Arnold said.

"There is certainly potential for further prosecutions, but there is a lot of work to do before we will know about that," Arnold said.

He said police would have to weigh up the benefits of laying further charges against the severity of the alleged offending, and against the stress and difficulty of proceeding more cases through the courts.

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- The Nelson Mail

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