A convicted sex offender allegedly evaded arrest for nearly five years while legally changing his name and working as a teacher.
Fallout from the case, which has sparked a ministerial inquiry, continued yesterday as it emerged parents with children at schools he allegedly taught at did not know did not learn of his 2004 conviction for indecent assault and assault against a child until it was announced to the media.
Court documents dating to March 2010 show a warrant for the man’s arrest was issued soon after he failed to report as required in May 2004. But he evaded arrest until August 2009.
Even after his March 2010 court appearance, when he was assessed as “likely to commit one or more of the offences” and issued with a renewed supervision order, the man allegedly went back to teaching, obtaining teacher registration under an assumed name and provisional registration to teach until August 2013.
Fairfax has seen documents in which the man uses other assumed names and dates of birth.
A neighbour at an Auckland address of the man, who did not want to be named, said the man lived alone there for about six months and often had visitors.
He was not the sort of person you said hello to, the neighbour said.
“He is just not friendly and really aggressive.”
It was not until a member of the public who knew his background allegedly spotted the man driving a van-load of children last week that he was arrested and charged over breaches of his supervision order.
Corrections Minister Anne Tolley yesterday said she still had total confidence in the probation service.
“They do the very best they can with some very difficult people … Anyone who has more than one identity creates problems in any system,” she said.
The Teachers Council said when a registered teacher received a conviction that carries a possible sentence of three months in prison or more, the teacher or the school was required to disclose that within seven days. The District Court must report to the Teachers Council.
Days after the man’s arrest and appearance in court last week, parents at two schools where is believed to have taught were sent similarly worded letters from the principals and board chairs at each school.
The letters stated only that the man had been arrested for breaching his supervision order.
Hours later, Education Minister Hekia Parata revealed the man had a 2004 conviction for a sexual offence.
Yesterday, Ministry of Education deputy secretary Nichols Pole said the first letters had been sent to parents on the basis of legal advice from the department of corrections and new information had come to light after that.
“I think it’s fair to say we have been gathering more and more information around this case … we have worked through subsequent legal advice.”
The mother of an eight-year-old boy at one of the school where the man is believed to have taught said guidance on how to deal with the issue with their children had been slow to emerge.
Another mother said there had been a lack of support for the school and the absence of any professional agencies to guide parents.
Mr Pole said the letters sent out had included contact details for parents who were concerned. There had also been an 0800 number set up yesterday and parent meetings were organised for last night and tonight.
Four more schools where the man was believed to have taught were told of his convictions yesterday, but it was yet to be confirmed whether a further two have also been told.
It was not yet clear whether the man or someone else of the same name worked at those two schools, Mr Pole said.
There were no reports yet that children at any of the schools had been interfered with.
Associate Education Minister Pita Sharples said the case was “shocking”.
“We’ve got to know that our children are safe,” Dr Sharples said.