Waikato arrest over images

MATT BOWEN
Last updated 05:00 28/08/2014

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A Waikato professional in the education sector accused of supplying objectionable photographs of a boy will have his identity kept secret, for now.

The man, in his 40s, appeared in Rotorua District Court yesterday charged with four counts of distributing objectionable material, and court documents show they relate to supplying photographs of a sexual nature featuring a boy under 10 years old.

A wide-ranging suppression order prevents the Waikato Times from revealing the man's name, occupation or place of work.

Yet the Times can reveal he was a professional working in the education sector at a Waikato institute.

The man was released on bail with strict conditions.

Police arrested and subsequently charged the man late on Tuesday night, police said in a statement.

"Police are working with the appropriate agencies to [provide] support . . . As the matter is before the courts and is a complex and sensitive on-going investigation, police will not be commenting further."

A sector spokeswoman said the safety and well being of children is their "absolute priority".

"We provide support and advice . . . whenever an incident occurs. A response team is currently supporting [the institution] following the arrest. That support will be ongoing for as long as it is needed.

"As this matter is now subject to a police investigation and before the courts, no further details will be provided."

A meeting for affected parties was held. There was widespread concern beforehand about the reason for the man's arrest.

Staff would not comment on the situation yesterday morning.

Neighbours of the accused were shocked to see a heavy police presence at the man's house on Tuesday.

One man said numerous police officers and vehicles stayed at the house from 7am till about 3pm.

"There are serious rumours here," the man said.

"There were a lot of detectives, a lot of vans, a lot of cars - that's what got people talking . . . Other people said they were carrying out lots of bags and items from under the house and inside the house. Apparently the operation's been going for quite some time."

He said the accused was well known in the area.

"If nobody's dead or injured then there are only really two other possibilities aren't there. And drugs probably wasn't one of them.

Another witness watched the police operation unfold from next door.

"I didn't realise they were police cars," he said.

"I thought it was an election gathering or something. It wasn't until we saw police in uniform across there . . . I know there were police running around with cameras and that, sort of taking photos in the house area.

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"[It was] a bit of a shock when you see that many people converge on a house like that. It makes you wonder what's going on, but, yeah, nobody's saying anything."

matt.bowen@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

- Waikato Times

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