Calls for child rapist inquiry dismissed

Calls for child rapist inquiry dismissed

Minister Hekia Parata says there are no plans for an inquiry into how the Ministry of Education handled information about child rapist Robert Burrett, despite mounting pressure from the Opposition. 

The former bus driver and school caretaker was investigated for making sexual comments two years before his arrest.

Burett raped and sexually assaulted 12 school girls, some disabled and others as young as five years old.

The question is whether the Ministry of Education missed the warning signs.

An investigation into Burrett began in 2013 after he'd made inappropriate comments to a disabled schoolgirl.

Opposition MPs want an independent ministerial inquiry.

"In some cases it may be possible that that could have been avoided if the appropriate agencies had taken a different course of action earlier on," says Labour education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.

Ms Parata was unavailable for comment today but a spokesperson confirmed there are no plans for an inquiry. 

Her ministry released a statement saying it was happy with the way the complaint of inappropriate behaviour was handled. However, it does plan to start checking whether bus drivers have previously worked as teachers.

"I don't think is acceptable to brush this under the carpet and pretend that nothing went wrong. I think it needs to be thoroughly investigated so this type of thing doesn't happen again in the future," says Mr Hipkins.

Burrett will be sentenced next month on the 21 charges he pleaded guilty to.