Former NZ hockey rep in alleged sex abuse case
A former New Zealand and Manawatu representative indoor hockey goalkeeper has been charged over the alleged sex abuse of four Filipino children as young as nine.
Hilton Reece Munro, 45, used a 14-year-old boy to recruit younger boys who were sexually abused at a beach resort hotel on the Philippine island of Cebu, police allege.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, police say the boys, aged from nine to 14, were brought to Munro's room by local taxi driver Gilbert Andrada, 41, who has also been charged with child sex offences.
Munro played for Manawatu in both outdoor and indoor hockey in the 1990s and made headlines when firing a broadside at "inept" regional management, before shifting allegiances to Marlborough in 1997.
He then moved to Melbourne.
He played again in Manawatu for the New Zealand Men's indoor hockey team against Australia in 1998 and for the Manawatu men's indoor hockey team in the nationals in 2001.
Munro was the head of the Zhuhai International School in Zhuhai City in China's Guangdong province until last month and was formerly a teacher and boarding master at a prestigious boys' school in Melbourne, Victoria.
He denied the allegations after his arrest last Friday, telling police: "The kids are my friends who were contacted by another friend here in Cebu."
Police said boys aged nine, 10, 11, 12 and 14 were found in Mr Munro's room at the Stakili resort in Compostela town in northern Cubu.
Police said Munro told them he was a "professor" from Australia before refusing to answer any more questions and then laying down on the floor of a police cell with his T-shirt over his head.
Munro was found not guilty of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in the dorm of a Melbourne boarding school in 2003.
It was alleged that he arrived by taxi in the early hours after a night out drinking with friends, climbed through a bedroom window, lay down next to the boy in bed and indecently assaulted him.
The prosecution told the Victorian County Court in 2004 that Munro, who lived in Prahran at the time, said he had met his alleged victim the previous night on a tour of the dormitories during a campus visit.
A jury accepted Munro's defence that he did not sexually assault the teenager but had asked to "crash" in the boy's room.
He climbed back out of the window at 7am, the court was told. He was found not guilty of two counts of indecent assault and guilty of aggravated burglary. He was later acquitted on appeal.
Munro was a successful hockey player who represented both Australia and New Zealand. He toured India with the Australian Universities Hockey Team and captained the NZ Indoor Hockey Team at a competition in South Africa.
During the early 2000s, he was heavily involved in boarding life at the prestigious Melbourne school, coaching hockey teams, refereeing matches, organising special father-and-son "working bees" and "cooking up feasts" for groups on weekends away to the bush.
In 1999 and 2000, he took groups of Year 7 students and international students on weekends away.
In an interview posted on the Zhuhai International School website last year, Munro said he has worked in international education for 15 years, 10 of those in leadership positions.
On Monday, he tried to cover his face during a brief closed court appearance on Monday.
Sheryl Bautista, deputy head of the Philippines' anti-human trafficking task force, told the Cebu Daily News Mr Munro paid the boys between the equivalent of $12 and $25 in Philippine pesos.
"According to the rescued minors, the suspect would take nude photos of them ... and have sexual relations with them," Inspector Bautista said.
Three mobile telephones taken from Munro have been sent for forensic examination.
Police said Munro of Shepherd Street Hong Kong travelled between resorts in Cebu province for several days while under police surveillance after a tip-off.
Andrada picked up Munro from Cebu airport on July 5 and he was scheduled to leave the country on July 26, police said.
Immigration records show Munro has been a regular visitor to the Philippines since 2011, usually staying for 21 days, police said.
Several of the boys' mothers burst into tears on Monday when they went to a welfare office where welfare officers are caring for their sons.
"I kept looking for my son since 5pm last Friday because we usually have dinner at 6pm," one mother told the Cebu Daily News.
"If my husband knew about this I don't know what he would do to that foreigner," she said.
Welfare officer Edna Regudo told the parents not to scold or blame their sons.
"Remember, they are the victims ... for them, they were just playing around, having fun," Regudo said.
Munro has been charged with human trafficking and child abuse, laws where an accused cannot be bailed if prosecutors allege they have strong evidence.
He is being held in custody while prosecutors said they would bring the case to court within 15 days.
Munro's lawyer, Leilani Villarino, told reporters the Australian would respond to the charges in due time.
On the Zhuhai International School website last year, Munro said he has been teaching in South-East Asia, Europe and the Middle East "and so have a strong global perspective".
"I bring a depth of knowledge regarding education because I have worked across all levels of schools as a classroom teacher ... curriculum co-ordinator, program leader and principal."
The website said Mr Munro "is an active and sports-minded person, having played field hockey to an international level".
The school teaches more than 160 students from 28 nationalities, catering for expatriate families living and working in Guangdong province.
The school is now in mid-year holidays.
A woman who answered the school's after-hours number said Munro finished up at the school at the end of the term and was intending to work in the Philippines.
Munro's photograph and background information have been removed from the school's website.