School rugby coach accused of sexually abusing boys in court

Auckland's High Court has heard how an Auckland rugby coach, accused of sexually abusing young boys, used his influence to gain their trust.

Alosio Taimo, described as a well-respected and senior community member, has pleaded not guilty to 83 charges.

Defence lawyer Panama Le'au'anae argues Taimo was simply a mentor to the boys, and wanted them to excel.

"They all have an association with each other. These boys have got their heads together and have talked about … sexual abuse," he said.

Le'au'anae also rubbished claims that some of the abuse happened at the school where Taimo worked.

"That school sports shed is right next to a group of classrooms … lots of children around the place, walking around.

"Ask yourself, did these things happen … why over this period of time, of eight to 10 years, was there no complaint? Why did nobody say anything?"

But jurors heard graphic details of some of the allegations, which in some instances happened while the boys were asleep at Taimo's house.

In one case, Crown Prosecutor Jasper Rhodes says a boy told Taimo to "get lost" when he woke up to being touched by him.

Another alleged victim claims the rugby coach "growled" when he moved his hand away during an assault.

"On one occasion he [a victim] didn't want to go back there [Taimo's house] as he saw the defendant massage boys with oil."

The prosecution argued Taimo had gained trust, and that he used this trust to exploit his victims.

Of all the charges, 24 of those relate to sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection; 23 of indecent acts on a person under 16; 18 of committing an indecent act on a child under 12; 10 charges of indecent acts with a boy under 12; and 10 of indecency with a boy between 12 and 16.

Ten of the 18 complainants are related to Taimo's tenure at a school, and as a rugby coach. The remaining eight are older, with some allegations dating back to the 1980s.

The trial is set down for 10 weeks.