Police have arrested six men in their 60s and 70s as part of an investigation into historical offending at Dilworth School in Auckland.
The men have been charged on a number of serious offences, including indecent assault, which allegedly occured across a number of decades from the 1970s to early 2000s.
Detective Senior Sergeant Geoff Baber said the investigation was launched after a complaint was made a year ago.
"A team of investigators were brought together to make further enquiries into this complaint and subsequently further offending and victims were identified," he said.
At this stage, they have identified 17 victims.
Those arrested are:
- A 72-year-old man who has been charged in relation to doing an indecent act and three counts of indecent assault.
- A 73-year-old who faces numerous charges relating to sexual violation, indecent assault, sexual exploitation and supplying class A, B and C drugs.
- A 68-year-old man faces a charge of indecent assault and inducing an indecent act.
- A 69-year-old man has been charged with indecent assault.
- A 72-year-old man faces four charges relating to indecent assault.
- A 78-year-old man has been charged with three counts of indecent assault.
Baber said the men are expected to appear in the Auckland District Court on October 5 and 6.
"Police are encouraging anyone who may have information that may further assist our enquiries or have matters they wish to discuss about this offending to contact us."
The Dilworth Trust Board said that they were saddened that some of their old students suffered abuse during their time at the school.
"We apologise to any old boys who have been affected by abuse of any kind at our school," chair Aaron Snodgrass said in a statement.
"The Board considers all forms of abuse, including physical, emotional and sexual abuse unacceptable."
Snodgrass said none of the men charged continue to have any connection to Dilworth School.
"The Board has full confidence in all of Dilworth School's current employees."
He said the school had made the decision to "proactively address" the historic abuse and has implemented several policies and programmes to "enhance the safety for our current students".
In a press conference on Monday afternoon Snodgrass, along with Dilworth School's headmaster Dan Reddiex, addressed the arrests.
"Mostly this historic abuse was physical and emotional, such as bullying and excessive corporal punishment, but sadly also sexual abuse," Snodgrass said.
Reddiex, who was appointed in 2019, apologised to the victims.
"Naturally as a father, an educator, and a human being, the recent charges and allegations of sexual abuse are both appalling and deeply saddening.
"I cannot comprehend the trauma or pain those who suffered abuse must have endured. And for this hurt, we are truly sorry."
He said the focus now shifts to the wellbeing of their current students and supporting their former students.
"We will take all of the necessary steps to ensure this chapter in our past is never ever repeated again."