There will be a Ministerial Inquiry into the employment of a convicted sex offender in the education sector, Education Minister, Hekia Parata, announced today.
The inquiry has been initiated after Ministers were informed late last week that a convicted sex offender had been arrested while allegedly in breach of the offender’s conditions of release. The individual was working in the education sector.
Following Ministerial approval today, the inquiry will be conducted by former ombudsman Mel Smith. It will look at how and the specific means by which [Person A – name withheld] was able to exploit opportunities in the system as well as how the system can be strengthened to prevent this happening again.
“At this stage, I cannot discuss the details of this individual case as the matter is now before the courts and therefore there is very little information that can be made publicly available at this point. However, I am extremely concerned by the details of this case,” says Ms Parata.
“Parents should be able to send their children to school confident that an individual of this type is not part of the school environment.’’
Person A is in custody.
“The schools that were immediately affected have been notified. School communities have been informed and the Ministry of Education is actively working with those schools. It is possible that several other schools have also been affected,'' says Ms Parata.
“We have asked the courts to vary suppression orders so that we can work with other schools that may have been affected and they can inform parents.''
Ms Parata has asked for the inquiry to report back no later than 30 April 2012.he