Dilworth headmaster speaks out after alleged sexual abuse of 17 boys casts 'dark shadow' over school

An Auckland boarding school has come forward to address historic allegations of sexual abuse against six of its former staff, saying it's "cast a dark shadow" over the school.

It comes after police charged six men who worked at Dilworth School over offences that took place across a number of decades.

The decile 4 school gives free scholarships and board to boys suffering from financial or personal hardship, in the hope of transforming their lives. But it's been alleged at least 17 boys were abused during their time there.

"I cannot comprehend the trauma and pain those who have suffered abuse must have endured," Dilworth headmaster Dan Reddiex said.

"The abuse has cast a dark shadow over our school."

Police have made six arrests as part of a 15-month investigation into historical offending at the prestigious school. The charges include indecent assault and sexual violation - and in one case, supplying Class A, B, and C drugs.

The men - now between the ages of 68 and 78 - worked at the school between the 1970s and 2000s and face a range of charges.

Dilworth headmaster speaks out after alleged sexual abuse of 17 boys casts 'dark shadow' over school
Photo credit: Newshub

Auckland City Police Detective Senior Sergeant Geoff Baber said they were all working in various teaching roles within the school, and had overlapping roles within that period of time.

Dilworth officials say the school waived the opportunity to seek name suppression to acknowledge what has happened, and say it would've made it practically impossible to discuss the abuse openly with the school community.

"Any old boy that suffered abuse while at Dilworth, I want you to know if you engage with our listening service, you will be listened to, you will be believed, and you will receive the professional support you need," said Dilworth Trust Board chairman Aaron Snodgrass.

Male survivor advocate Ken Clearwater says it will have felt like a life sentence for the victims.

"I take my hat off to the guys who've come forward and had the courage to go to the police - it's huge, it's a massive step," he said.

None of the men charged have any current connection with the school. They're expected to appear in court next month.

Police have thanked those that come forward so far for their bravery - but given the period of time and the number of victims so far, they are expecting more complainants to come forward.

They're asking those with information to call (09) 302 6624, or email Operation.Beverly@police.govt.nz.