Teacher name supression

May 19th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

A woman who, while a teenager, was preyed upon by her physics teacher for sex during extra-curricular sailing classes is pleading with authorities to make details of the case public.

She says publishing the man’s name may encourage any other victims to come forward.

The Teachers’ Council Disciplinary Tribunal struck the teacher off and said it was in no doubt that the 18-month full sexual relationship took place in the late 1980s when the woman was aged 16.

However, the tribunal’s decision late last year was published without the teacher’s name. Chairman Kenneth Johnston rejected the woman’s application to publish it because, he said, “particular reasons” were needed to justify publication.

It is the case that has become the face of a Herald on Sunday push for more transparency of teacher disciplinary hearings.

The paper has formally applied for the case’s details to be made public and asked the council to rewrite its rules so it does not start from a point of automatic suppression.

Absolutely. Suppression should be the exception, not the rule.

For the first time, we can reveal that the victim in the test case – who the Herald on Sunday has chosen not to name – fully supports our application.

She contacted the paper in the wake of the publicity, and gave us a copy of a letter she has written to the Teachers’ Council.

It says: “Indeed, it was a newspaper article about a different teacher at another school which first prompted me to action, realising that I could have the potential to prevent further crimes being committed by the individual who targeted me, and it has always been my wish that this teacher be publicly named, to prevent his re-offending in the future.”

Publishing his name could prompt any other victims to come forward, the woman believes.

It is about preventing further victims.

19 Responses to “Teacher name supression”

  1. Matt (255 comments) says:

    What’s to stop the Herald from interviewing the woman and printing what she says rather than printing information taken from the disciplinary tribunal’s report? If Rebecca Loos is allowed to tell the Sun that she had an affair with Beckham, surely this lady can tell the HoS about her experience with her teacher.

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  2. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    There is an excellent example of this, again with a teacher. At Mahurangi College, Warkworth, during the 70-90’s a teacher by the name of Thomas Lee used to take teams of a girls away on hockey trips, as well as use his office to met with female students in private. He particularly befriend girls from broken marriages, and got close to their parents, in order to gain access to the young girls. For years rumours circulated about his sexual behaviour, but many in the very conservative Mahurangi Area refusing to acknowledge what was going on.

    Finally one of his victims spoke up, making the issue and the teachers name public. She was rubbished by the schools administration and treated appallingly, however, her brave actions in going to the police, despite the treatment her, and her family got, made other victims come forward. Eventually Thomas Lee pleaded guilty to more than 20 charges of rape and other sexual offences against pupils of the school. There were more than 20 of Lee’s victims spanning a great many years.

    The Principal of the School, Alon Shaw failed to take any responsibility, despite his having been warned on many occasions that something was wrong – the school as far as I know, to this day, has failed to apologise to the victims and their families.

    The behaviour only stopped because one family would not accept the ruling to keep the teachers name private. Thomas Lee died in prison.

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  3. Harriet (7,527 comments) says:

    “……Absolutely. Suppression should be the exception, not the rule…..”


    The ‘test’ case involves a women in her mid 40’s[16 in the late 80’s] who is making a ‘claim’.

    Cases with 16-18-20yld’s making ‘claims’ is likely to see a few males ‘exonerated’ – long after they’ve been publicly shamed.

    All these ‘claims’ should be reported to the police first by the ‘victims’ so that they may then become ‘fact’- if not – they should then be seen for what they are – just ‘claims’ – and not acted on by anyone!

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  4. Lloyd (125 comments) says:

    If the victim supports naming, the miscreant teacher should be named. I taught at a school where one teacher was disciplined but not named. The individual (I STILL legally can’t even make a reference, even to their gender!!!) was roughly the same age as me. I was enraged that the miscreant could not be named and stayed on until the end of the year. I left to go on study leave at the same time as they resigned, and always worried that assumptions about me might be made.
    Name and shame should be automatic, particularly in examples like the feature of this article and for examples like the one Judith quotes.

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  5. calendar girl (1,866 comments) says:

    Harriet, the Teachers’ Council Disciplinary Tribunal struck the teacher off, saying that it had no doubt that the offending occurred.

    Are you suggesting that this teacher is potentially innocent? Are you perhaps aware (unlike the rest of us) that he has taken an action against the Teachers’ Council to clear his name and restore him to his teaching occupation?

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  6. oob (206 comments) says:

    Name the members of the Teachers’ Council who reached this decision, protecting their colleague.

    Name them, list their occupations and their places of employment. If they’re employed by schools, their school communities should be made aware of their actions.

    Name and shame the teachers protecting the guilty.

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  7. Manolo (22,014 comments) says:

    The perv teacher should be exposed. if not, why not?

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  8. Harriet (7,527 comments) says:

    Calendar girl#

    The police sexual offence squads are very professional – by ‘going around them’ – does nothing in helping victims of other sexual offences to come forward, infact, it may discourage them by giving to them the belief that the police can’t be trusted or are incompetant! Hardly a position that would benefit women in NZ society!

    We have the rule of law. There is nothing wrong with taking your ‘claims’ to the police. They can then ‘open’ a file and investigate your ‘claim’.
    If the police believe that they have reason to seek out more ‘victims’ they can then do that in an appropriate and ordely manner through the media and/or school records ect.

    Finding ‘other victims’ of a particular crime is not the domain of the media, if anything, it should be at the discreation of police if the media should be used.

    Like Judith has said: “…her brave actions in going to the police……made other victims come forward…”

    The likes of the Teachers’ Council Disciplinary Tribunal are starting to look like kangaroo courts.

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  9. Dennis Horne (4,237 comments) says:

    I am not saying anything makes it right, but how old was the teacher at the time?

    Please don’t beat me over the head, Judith. (By the way, what have you got in that handbag?) Are we not leaping to the conclusion he was a serial paedophile and the girl wasn’t a willing victim (“in love”)?

    I’m with Harry-nyet on this one.

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  10. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Dennis Horne (1,108) Says:
    May 19th, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Dennis, the girl may very well have been a ‘willing’ victim, but the fact is there was a power difference in the relationship. The male, a teacher – one in a position of authority, the other a teenager, still working out her place in the world, presumably immature, and ‘subservient’ to the teacher.

    This is the very reason we have a legal age for sex. Physically many females are ‘ready’ for sex from about 13 years of age, however, to prevent sexual partners taking advantage of their emotional immaturity, and exploiting them in power relationships, we put an age of 16 (with the intention of presuming they will then be emotionally mature to make the right decisions).

    The teacher, being qualified should have been much mature, and even if the girl had initiated the relationship, been responsible enough to do the right thing, reject the advances and one would even hope, report them to the right people, should they have been vastly inappropriate.

    (I don’t have a handbag, I carry a violin case ;-))

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  11. Manolo (22,014 comments) says:

    Judith, are you Nigel Kennedy’s assistant?

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  12. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Manolo (9,863) Says:
    May 19th, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Me? Someone’s assistant? Do you really think there is a person out there that would employ me? WOW !! 🙂

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  13. Dennis Horne (4,237 comments) says:

    @Judith. You completely miss the point, which is perhaps reassuring, your carrying a “violin” case and all…

    I started by saying nothing made it right, but for all we know the pupil seduced the teacher. Yet we are assuming he is a serial paedophile.

    Judith, you are not my grandmother. I do understand professional relationships but I don’t have enough facts to judge this particular case.

    It was wrong but how wrong? You’re not one of those silly woman who cry, “Rape is Rape is Rape”, are you?

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  14. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Dennis Horne (1,110) Says:
    May 19th, 2013 at 12:23 pm
    NO I’m not your grandmother, however I was once a teenage girl, and I am perfectly aware of their ability to seduce – however, regardless of that ability a teacher is in a position of power, and should NEVER succumb to any temptation. If he is unable to do that, then he needed to pick another career.

    I have made no conclusion about him being a pedophile at all. In fact, as the girl was, I presume a female who had been through puberty, then the relationship would not have been one of victim/pedophile. Paedophillia is characterised by the sexual attraction to the immature form.

    The relationship was characterised by one person being in a dominant position over another – a power relationship, and therefore totally inappropriate on those grounds. The fact the male teacher has demonstrated his poor judgement makes him a risk to making further such mistakes. He may never do that – however, in order to protect the vulnerable in society, we must be aware of those who demonstrate a propensity to make such errors.

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  15. Dennis Horne (4,237 comments) says:

    Dear Great Aunt Judith. Yes, I know all that. Grandma’s sister.

    The girl was 16 and had a sexual relationship with a teacher over 18 months about 25 years ago. Last year there was a teachers’ enquiry. He was found “guilty” and his name suppressed.

    Are there any other facts about this case or this man you can tell me?

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  16. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Dennis Horne (1,112) Says:
    May 19th, 2013 at 12:52 pm
    Can’t tell you anything other than what I have. The relationship, when it took place was inappropriate, with the teacher being in a dominant and superior position, both employment and age wise, was wrong – no matter which way you look at it.

    There is always a problem with historical cases – they are complicated but the initial factor remains – he should not have been involved. Whether it is 25 years ago, or last week, he must pay the price for that error AND …

    the school and the community must make sure there are not any pupils that have been involved in such a relationship with him. (This is the price he must pay for demonstrating that he does not know the boundaries of his position).

    We do not know if there was just one such relationship, or more, and will not know unless other people come forward. Because many victims do not tell others, especially when it involves power relationships, they may not be aware that there has been others…..

    or, it may have simply been a one off. The issue is – should there be any action to find out?

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  17. Dennis Horne (4,237 comments) says:

    Thank you, Judith. You know nothing and neither do I. We agree it shouldn’t have happened, but it did. About 25 years ago.

    Ding-a-ling, Judith. Twenty five years. The man might have lead a blameless life since. He might be a “saint”. You don’t think there might be an element of rewriting history here?

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  18. doggone7 (1,654 comments) says:

    Dennis, you wonder if there any other facts about this case or this man which could be told. The implications and extension of that are while it seems many people have been involved in this awful situation, it’s us bystanders who want to be involved, have our say and expect our word to be followed..

    Facts? What are they and why do we need them? This is emerging as another case where the most important thing is having some good old fashioned blood letting.

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  19. Dennis Horne (4,237 comments) says:

    @doggone7. Actually, I don’t wonder if we could be told any more facts; I simply make the point we don’t know the facts. For all we know the girl might have been promiscuous from 13. That would not make it right, but it certainly would make the likelihood of serious psychological damage unlikely. Not to say she may have problems, and blame this teacher.

    Unless I have misunderstood, which is quite possible, this is a historic case that has appeared out of the blue, with no complaints about the teacher since the relationship 25 years ago, or prior. Mmm. I think we’re agreeing on this one.

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