Paedophile slipped through the net
Thu, 23 Aug 2012 6:26p.m.
By Tova O'Brien
Kaitaia teacher James Parker was investigated by police and Child, Youth And Family (CYF) three years before pleading guilty to sexually abusing young boys in his care.
The case was dropped and the information wasn't passed on, but the principal of the school knew about the investigation and was given a stern warning about Parker's behaviour.
For six years Parker sexually abused young boys in his care, often taking them to here to his home where they would sleep over.
"I have looked at CYF's work in this area," says Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett. "I think they have worked to the letter of the law in the best that they could. The effects of that though are horrific in a more general sense."
So CYF red-flagged Parker, but did nothing further. The Teachers Council, which registers teachers, wasn't told. Nor was the Ministry of Education.
Nor the Education Review Office, which went on to give the school a glowing review.
"The information that was known and passed on wasn't passed on all the way through the chain, and wasn't acted on appropriately," says Minister of Education Hekia Parata.
The only real action was a letter from police to the school principal, saying: "It is clearly inappropriate for a school teacher to invite children to their residence outside of school hours and having them sleeping over… I would suggest this practice stop immediately and protocols be initiated to stop this occurring in the future. "
Whether the school's principal Stephen Hovell told anyone about the letter is under investigation. He is on indefinite leave in Australia.
"I think there was a measure of trying to cover up and trying to protect, not only James Parker's behaviour but also the reputation of the school," says Kelvin Davis, former principal of Kaitaia Intermediate.
Parker managed to fool police, CYF and an entire community, and because the initial complaints couldn't be proven, a man accused of sexually abusing children was able to continue abusing them for three more years.
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24/08/2012 9:23:15 a.m.
Alison, what the hell are you on about? What has the government got to do with a principal and school board sitting on their hands and doing nothing about the concerns of the Police? Bla bla government's fault - grow up and think efore commenting.
24/08/2012 5:38:06 a.m.
@ brian No I mean govt. With acc, rail, social welfare and every other dept making headlines for the wrong reasons and now our pms put his foot in mouth again. this govt will long be remembered as the keystone cop govt. It was police and cyf that initially interviewed this pervert but what do you expect when you cut funding and jobs. A second rate service.
24/08/2012 3:00:08 a.m.
This is not the only school in New Zealand that they abused children before their time and I wouldn't called parents bad parents specially when the bad attitute comes from the outside..
We can only rest in peace when justice is serve..
24/08/2012 1:08:55 a.m.
Is a public lashing out of the question??On a side issue.. Alison.. what? he sliped thru well before the current govt came in, clue up.
23/08/2012 10:45:29 p.m.
@ Alison, It wasnt the government. It was the Teachers board.
23/08/2012 9:27:25 p.m.
Oops another one of those just slipped through the net jobs of nationals. The news is full of major blunders due to cost cutting and ridiculous policy from a government that I personally have no faith in. How long must we wait before they admit they are unable to do the job they were hired for and step aside. They are making the country look like idiots on the world stage. We accept theyre human but once is a mistake, twice is frowned upon and umpteen mistakes really does make for one embarrassing govt. No more please.
23/08/2012 7:10:41 p.m.
I love the comment, "there was a measure of trying to cover up and trying to protect, not only James Parker's behaviour but also the reputation of the school". I've worked in schools. If the Columbine high school massacre occurs in a school, the principal's first thought is always how to cover it up. Principals have no higher priority than the school's reputation.
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