Dilworth School: Convicted sex offender taught for almost 20 years
A former deputy headmaster of Dilworth School continued to teach for almost 20 years and was the New Zealand representative for a global youth charity, despite being a convicted child sex offender, Things can reveal.
Ian Robert Wilson was charged in January 1997 with committing an indecent act on a boy between 1978 and 1981. Court documents show he befriended the boy’s mother before taking his son into the house. north and sexually assault him.
He pleaded guilty, was granted a permanent name removal and a $ 3,500 fine.
But more than 20 years later, other offenses have emerged. At Auckland District Court in March, Wilson admitted to sexually abusing five boys in Dilworth and was sentenced to three years and seven months in prison.
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The removal orders made in 1997 – which had kept her and Dilworth’s identity a secret – were also lifted.
But while the 1997 conviction caused Wilson to leave Dilworth, that didn’t stop him from continuing to work with young adults.
Armed with a three-page commendation from Dilworth, the former householder and head of history went on to teach English at the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT).
The reference, seen by Things, is dated July 1996 – six months before Wilson’s arrest – and was written by then-director Murray Wilton.
It is not known if Wilton was aware of Wilson’s offense. Attempts to reach Wilton by email and via Dilworth were unsuccessful.
The reference hailed Wilson as an “inspiring and inspiring teacher” who has made invaluable contributions to Dilworth for 25 years.
âMr. Wilson brought a breath of fresh air with a lot of flair and imagination to his teaching and quickly gained a reputation as an exceptional educator,â Wilton wrote.
He concluded the reference by saying that Wilson was ready to take on “other challenges and new directions” and had his full support and encouragement.
“I therefore recommend him with confidence to any organization that might consider using his positive attributes and considerable capabilities.”
Wilton’s compliments to Wilson continued almost a decade later, when the director sat down to write The Dilworth Legacy, a book commemorating the school’s centenary.
âIan Wilson’s name was synonymous with boarding school administration, pastoral care, imaginative teaching and enthusiastic athletic training. His departure was a serious setback … “
He described Wilson’s departure as an “unexpected” resignation.
Sources said Things that Wilson worked at a gas station for two years after leaving Dilworth. He was then employed as an English teacher at MIT.
It is not known if Wilson still had his teaching certificate at the time.
A spokesperson for the Education Council said its predecessor, the Teacher Enrollment Council, had not made public its decisions about certificate cancellations.
The Council was replaced by the Council in 2005, when Wilson’s certificate was revoked.
MIT Managing Director Gus Gilmore said Things that police and Justice Department checks were unnecessary when Wilson was employed. It has since changed.
âIn addition, offenders who have their names removed from the court system are not required to provide employers with their full criminal history,â Gilmore said in a statement.
He declined to respond if MIT contacted Dilworth about Wilson and asked for a reference.
He said Wilson was teaching “adult learners” in a classroom and there was no record of a complaint in his file.
“His crimes represent a terrible violation of the trust all educators place in their students.”
Wilson stopped working full-time at MIT in 2015, but continued as a part-time administrator and examiner until September 2018.
Gilmore declined to answer why Wilson left MIT.
Things understands that Wilson has also worked for an international youth charity, GAP Activity Projects.
GAP changed its name in 2008 to Lattitude Global Volunteering, a charity that specializes in placing volunteers between the ages of 17 and 25 in countries around the world.
Things saw Wilson’s business card at the time. He registers his position as “Agent for New Zealand”.
Things understands that the organization took office in August after travel restrictions associated with Covid-19.
No one from Lattitude was available for comment.
Dilworth Trust board chairman Aaron Snodgrass said the school had no reference to Wilson, nor any potential employers contacting the school about Wilson.
Things asked Wilton and Snodgrass if there were any plans to revise his story, The Dilworth Legacy.
Wilton did not respond. Snodgrass did not answer the question, but said: “Given what we now know of the harm that Mr. Wilson has inflicted on our Old Boy survivors, the board and the school today do not support in any way these comments and acknowledge the harm they must cause Old Boy Survivors.
Snodgrass says the first survivor of Wilson’s sexual abuse came to school in 1996 and was “encouraged and supported” to report it to police.
Survivor said Things he called the school and was asked to “chat” but refused. That night, a senior lawyer and a schoolboy representing the school called him.
âHe begged me not to go to the police, he was almost crying. I could hear his voice breaking over the phone, âsaid the survivor.
Instead, the survivor surrendered to the police on his own. He says he had hoped the extent of Wilson’s offense would be revealed in 1997 when he approached police.
But the removal of the name at the time, for Wilson and Dilworth, prevented that.
“All the victims would then have come forward and spoken, and it took 24 years for that to come out.” I tried removing the worm box cover, but they slammed it and soldered it.
Another Wilson survivor, Neil Harding, is leading a class action lawsuit against Dilworth before the Human Rights Commission.
Harding says 116 survivors joined the action. A recent survey of their members shows that 22 boys spoke up about the abuse and alerted someone in Dilworth at the time the abuse occurred.
Harding says the fact that Wilson was able to continue teaching, albeit to adults, shows that the abuse that occurred at Dilworth could have broader implications.
He says the abuse has caused intergenerational damage to boys, their future spouses, children and their extended families.
âAnd it pisses me off, it absolutely pisses me off,â Harding said.
He said the group were struggling to find a word to describe their situation.
“Maybe the new word could be Dilworth.”
Where to get help for sexual violence
Male Survivors Aotearoa Helplines across New Zealand, click to learn more.
Rape Crisis 0800 88 33 00, click on the link for local helplines.
Victim assistance 0800 842 846, SMS 4334, web chat safetotalk.nz or e-mail [email protected]
Harbor Online support and information for people affected by sexual abuse.