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Teacher’s aide who was hired when she sexually abused two women quits her job

The teaching aide was vetted by police but was hired by the school anyway, a lawyer said.

A teacher’s aide who was hired when a school knew he had sexually abused two women has quit his job.

The teaching assistant was a relative of the headmaster, although the school said today she had no say in its hiring process.

Stuff reported this afternoon that the teaching aide quit after his background came to light.

Victims’ attorney Ruth Money, who is supporting the two survivors, said the young man admitted to raping one of the women and sexually assaulting the other.

The school had conducted a police vetting process for the teaching aide – as required by law – but continued to hire the young man despite his background, she said.

Money said the school’s decision to allow the man to work with young people re-traumatized the two young women.

“They literally think about it every day. Because those are the young people he attacked.”

“They felt really unfamiliar. Because they talked to [authorities] and said ‘This is really inappropriate, we don’t want you employed at the school.’ And yet, he did it anyway.”

Money said that after the vetting process, the police advised the school not to hire him because it would be dangerous.

“What good is a police check if you don’t have to follow the instructions that come with it? It’s absolutely useless.”

She understood that the school had rules in place that the man could not be alone in a class with children.

“You’re in a position of power over these kids. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re in the room or not.

“It’s just a violation of Child Protection 101. It’s just insane.”

Victims' attorney Ruth Money said both survivors were re-traumatized by the school's hiring of their attacker.  Photo / Dean Purcell
Victims’ attorney Ruth Money said both survivors were re-traumatized by the school’s hiring of their attacker. Photo / Dean Purcell

The president of the school’s board of trustees did not respond directly to questions about police scrutiny or the school’s actions, saying she could not comment because it was a matter employment.

In a statement, she said: “We take our responsibilities under the Children’s Act 2014 very seriously and ensure that we comply with all police check requirements.

“We are working very hard to ensure that we comply with all Ministry of Education guidelines, as well as all our legal obligations, and we are confident that we have done so.”

The President rejected any suggestion of conflict of interest.

It was not unusual for schools across the country to employ whanau members, she said, and policies were in place to ensure conflict management.

“Although the Principal has delegated responsibility for the employment of teachers, we can confirm that another member of the management team has delegated responsibility for the appointment of non-teaching positions within the school (including this post).”

Hautū Te Tai Raro Isabel Evans (Northern Leader) of the Department of Education said the department is talking with the school to ensure that all of its employment policies and practices comply with the law.

Evans said the school is required to provide a safe environment for students.

“Given the seriousness of the concerns raised, we have asked for assurances that their young people are safe and that the appropriate processes are in place to support them.

“While decisions can be made that meet a legal threshold, there is also a moral obligation for schools to make decisions based on what is best for their students, staff and the school community and that reflects their expectations” , she said.

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