Out paedo colleagues, say teachers

ROB KIDD
Last updated 10:50 01/06/2014

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A sex-offending male teacher who preyed on a young girl had his name kept secret by a judge, allowing his wife to stand for a board of trustees without the school's parents knowing her husband was a paedophile.

The 33-year-old Auckland primary school teacher, who can never be identified, is just one of a succession of male teachers involved in sex offending to have had their identities kept secret by the courts in the past few weeks.

The rulings have infuriated other teachers, who feel let down by the justice system.

They want offending teachers publicly outed so they can never work near children again, and so parents can feel the teaching profession is clean.

Protection of child victims or schools has not been the deciding factor in granting the sweeping suppressions. Instead, in each of the current cases before the courts, judges have been persuaded to order suppression because naming and shaming the sex offender would allegedly be hard on their wives and families.

In the case of the Auckland primary school teacher, police found he had systematically groomed an 11-year-old girl over three months, sending her 183 Facebook messages before luring her into his car and progressing to kissing her.

It was then that police, alerted by her family, arrested him. He was jailed for eight months after pleading guilty to grooming the girl, and two counts of sexual contact with her.

He pleaded for name suppression, saying his wife would suffer, but district court judge Gerard Winter refused, saying the hardship suffered by his family was a natural consequence of his actions.

An interim suppression order until after the man's heavily pregnant wife had given birth should be allowed to lapse, he ruled.

But the teacher appealed to the High Court, where Justice Brendan Brown reversed Judge Winter's decision and gave him permanent name suppression on the grounds the man's wife could become "incapacitated by depression" if her husband's name was released.

In Auckland District Court on Friday, a father-of-two accused of masturbating in his classroom won his battle to keep his identity secret at least until August, despite the school arguing for him to be outed.

Judge Claire Ryan suppressed the details of the hearing but allowed media to report that her decision was made because of potentially "devastating consequences" for his family.

The man - who resigned when the allegations arose - will defend the charge.

In a third case a 36-year-old West Auckland trainee teacher appeared in Waitakere District Court last week for sentencing on four representative charges of possessing videos showing women having sex with dogs and horses.

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His lawyer Shan Shan Ou said any reporting on the man would have an impact on his wife and children and Chief District Court Judge Jan-Marie Doogue suppressed their names, making it also impossible to name him.

A New Zealand Teachers Council spokeswoman said it abided by court decisions on suppression, but it would also carry out its own disciplinary investigations and cancel the registration of teachers when needed, barring them from the classroom.

But several male teachers spoken to by the Sunday Star-Times, were outraged their former colleagues escaped being identified.

A West Auckland teacher said not identifying offending teachers put a black mark on the profession.

"I understand the need to protect the victim, but society has a right to know, and this is only possible by naming and shaming."

- Sunday Star Times

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