19 Oct 2015

Female teacher accused of sexual abuse

7:18 pm on 19 October 2015

A former teacher accused of a raft of sexual offending against a child in Porirua has gone on trial in the High Court in Wellington.

The charges against the woman, whose name is suppressed, include indecent assault, sexual violation and unlawful sexual connection.

The Crown also says she frequently exchanged text messages and pictures with the boy, who was aged between 10 and 13 at the time.

This afternoon, the jury watched a DVD interview in which the boy ran through the incidents he said occurred between him and the teacher.

He said on one occasion he asked the teacher if she loved him and she said yes.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said the teacher gave him a phone and would text him to say good morning.

However, if he did not reply, she would get angry at him or "snob" him for the whole day at school.

The boy said whenever he ran out of credit on the phone the defendant would give him a top-up.

He said sometimes he would use that to go on the internet and listen to music, and the woman would become angry about that too.

The boy said that in the middle of last year another teacher found the phone and asked him for its PIN, then read the messages about his relationship with the teacher.

The police became involved a week or two later.

Earlier, Crown prosecutor Adele Garrick told the court the relationship between the boy and the woman progressed over time from kissing to sexual touching to oral sex and, on one occasion, sexual intercourse.

She said the boy told the woman he wanted to break off the relationship but it rekindled in 2012 and they exchanged photos of their genitals.

In February last year, when the boy was 12, the woman took him to a motel in Paraparaumu where they had sexual intercourse, Ms Garrick said.

The Crown says sexual interactions between the woman and the boy occurred about once a fortnight through 2013 and into the first half of 2014.

Phone confiscated

The police were called when the other teacher confiscated the boy's phone and saw what she thought was an inappropriate message on it.

The accused woman's lawyer, Stephen Iorns, told the jury his client denied that any of the offending occurred.

He said she was a distinguished teacher who had travelled overseas on a scholarship and returned with skills to spread bilingual immersion in the schools she taught in.

Mr Iorns said the woman taught singing, coached netball and waka ama and, while nowhere near the poverty line herself, dedicated her life to children attending one of the poorest schools in the country.

Children regularly came to school showing signs of poverty and neglect, and they needed teachers to not just teach but to be social workers and counsellors, and his client did that well.

A jury of seven men and five women has been chosen for the trial, which is expected to run for a week.