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More victims of sex abuse teacher feared

Last updated 16:21 05/12/2013
Rueben James Parinui Tapara
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THE ACCUSED: Rueben James Parinui Tapara.

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Police have widen their investigation into teacher who admitted sexually abusing children to include former pupils of a Te Kuiti school.

Rueben James Tapara, a former assistant principal of Te Wharekura o te Kaokaoroa o Pateter,e yesterday pleaded guilty to 10 charges of sexually abusing boys at the Putaruru school and one charge of selling or supplying cannabis in the Hamilton District Court.

The 33-year-old was convicted and remanded in custody for sentencing next year.

Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Whitehead this afternoon said police were now trying to work out if there was any criminal offending by Tapara during his time as a teacher at Te Kura Kaupapa, Oparure [now Te Wharekura o Maniapoto], near Te Kuiti.

A first step would be to establish the names of students who attended during the time that  Tapara taught there.

Police were waiting for records of his employment and school rolls but understood Tapara taught at the kura for several years before leaving in 2008, Whitehead said.

"Once the total number of students for this period is known a decision will be made on the best method of identifying any who may have been offended against.

"With the passage of time, past students may be widely spread around New Zealand or overseas.

"I encourage anyone who has been subjected to or has witnessed what they consider to be inappropriate behaviour to contact the police. We would also like to hear from anyone who has any information that might assist the investigation,'' Whitehead said.

Complaints would be treated discreetly and the identity of victims would be protected during any court hearings that might result from the investigation.

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- Waikato Times

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