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Teacher aide who was hired despite sexually abusing two women quits job

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The teacher aide was vetted by police but was hired by the school anyway, an advocate says.

A teacher aide who was hired despite a school knowing he had sexually abused two women has left his role.

The teacher aide was a relative of the principal, though the school said today that she had no say in his employment process.

Stuff reported this afternoon that the teacher aide had resigned after his background was revealed.

Victim advocate Ruth Money, who is supporting the two survivors, said the young man had admitted to raping one of the women and sexually violating the other.

The school had carried out a police vetting process on the teacher aide – as required by law – but had gone on to hire the young man despite his past record, she said.

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

“They literally think about it every day. Because it is young people that he preyed on.”

“They just felt really unheard. Because they spoke to [authorities] and said ‘This is really inappropriate, we don’t want you to be employed at school.’ And yet he still did it.”

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

“What’s the point of police vetting if you don’t have to follow the instruction that comes from it? There’s absolutely no point.”

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

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

“This is just a breach of child protection 101. It’s just insane.”

Victim advocate Ruth Money said the two survivors were re-traumatised by the school's hiring of their abuser. Photo / Dean Purcell
Victim advocate Ruth Money said the two survivors were re-traumatised by the school’s hiring of their abuser. Photo / Dean Purcell

The chairwoman of the school’s board of trustees did not directly answer questions about the police vetting or the school’s actions, saying she could not comment as it was an employment matter.

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

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

The chairwoman rejected any suggestion of a 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 conflicts were managed.

“While the principal has delegated responsibility for the employment of teachers, we can confirm that another member of the senior leadership team has the delegated responsibility for the appointment of non-teaching positions within the school (including this position).”

The Ministry of Education’s HautÅ« Te Tai Raro Isabel Evans (northern leader) said the ministry was talking with the school about making sure all of its employment policies and practices complied with the law.

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

“Given the serious nature of the concerns raised, we have sought assurance that their young people are safe and 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 that are based on what is best for their students, staff, and school community and reflects their expectations,” she said.

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