Waikato Teacher Found Guilty of Sexually Abusing, Giving Drugs to Young Students, Slapped with 7-year Imprisonment

By @ibtimesau on

A male teacher from South Waikato has been found guilty of sexually abusing his young students, as well as providing drugs to a minor. He has been slapped with a 7-year imprisonment sentence.

Judge Barney Thomas said the acts of Rueben James Parinui Tapara, 33, a former assistant principal of Te Wharekura o te Kaokaoroa o Patetere in Putaruru were "planned and premeditated'' and been carried out in a "cynical and calculated way'' over a number of years.

Mr Tapara had been the school's assistant principal for three years until his arrest in October 2013.

Three of his students made complaints against the former teacher. Two of them were just 11 years old when the abuse took place.

One of the victims said Mr Tapara would offer money in exchange to let him "play" with the boy's private parts. It was learned during the proceedings that the former assistant principal abused the boy for three years, at times giving his victim cannabis to make the boy more obedient.

Mr Tapara took his victims to several locations. Apart from money, he bribed his victims with cigarettes, lollies and energy drinks.

Mr Thomas said Mr Tapara had abused the trust not only of the young boys, but also their families, the school and the community. He noted the effects of what he did on the victims would be "significantly traumatic and on-going."

"It makes me sick the offender killed my son's childhood, he scarred my son with terrible memories that he will carry with him for the rest of his life. He killed his innocence," the mother of one of the boys told the court.

Mr Tapara, appearing via audio visual link to the court, cried when he heard the impact statement read.

"I have not had a full night's sleep since finding out about what you did to my son. Every night I have nightmares," she said.

Through his lawyer, Mr Tapara expressed remorse over his actions.

"Through my actions I have caused so much suffering and for that I have no-one to blame but myself. I realise I cannot retract the hurt I've caused with words alone and that I must prove through my actions that sorry is not just a word. I'm terribly regretful and also very angry with myself for doing what I did. I have no excuses to give," James Gurnick, Mr Tapara's lawyer, said as he read the latter's letter.

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