Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Paedophile James Parker to serve at least seven years - TVNZ

Published: 1:40PM Thursday August 15, 2013 Source: ONE News

Paedophile James Parker has been sentenced to preventive detention with a minimum term of imprisonment of seven years.

One of New Zealand's worst paedophiles, the former deputy principal pleaded guilty to 74 sex charges over the abuse of 20 of his students between 1999 and 2012 while he worked at Pamapuria School in Kaitaia.

Victims and their families were at the sentencing at the High Court in Whangarei and some chose to read impact statements.

One boy, while crying, explained how scared and angry he has become. He said his family originally didn't believe that Parker had abused him, calling him a liar.

He said he "felt bad inside, like [he'd] done something wrong".

Parker was deputy principal at the school last July when he was arrested for paedophilia. He was heavily involved in the school's kapa haka movement and popular among students and staff.

The 38-year-old, whose parents are British, immersed himself in the Maori culture and became fluent in Te Reo.

The local community came to trust and respect Parker, giving him the title "Uncle Jamie".

He would take male students home for "marae-style sleepovers" in the weekends and go away with them on school trips.

Concern about Parker's behaviour was raised in 2009 when boys from a kapa haka group complained about inappropriate touching by Parker. Parker was spoken to by police and stood down from school while police investigated.

He denied everything and the boys later withdrew their complaints. Parker returned to the school.

Police later wrote a letter to the then principal of Pamapuria School, Stephen Hovell, urging him to stop Parker taking the students to his house, saying the behaviour was "inappropriate". However the offending continued for four more years.

Mr Hovell has since lost his job at Pamapuria School and the Board of Trustees has been dismissed.

Community leader Ricky Houghton says the community "still hasn't got up from all the pain and the hurt and hate that he's caused."

"They're still left in this big space and were trying to recover from it a year later - we still haven't recovered," Mr Houghton said.

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