Warning: This article discusses sexual abuse and suicide.
A former Senior Master at Dilworth School has been sentenced to three years and seven months in prison after admitting to sex crimes against young boys while working at the school.
Ian Wilson's sentence was handed down on Tuesday afternoon, shortly after three powerful impact statements were delivered in court.
Wilson, 69, is one of seven men charged in relation to alleged historical abuse at the Auckland school.
Judge David Collins found him guilty of seven offences - two of which are representative charges, where multiple offences of the same type are alleged.
Five of the charges are of indecent assault of a boy under the age of 16.
"While you had been a victim of sexual abuse yourself, I don't accept that at the time you became a qualified teacher in the early 80s [you didn't know it was wrong]," Judge Collins said.
"You knew what was wrong… You did what you did in secret, and you sought secrecy from your victims."
Wilson's offending spanned more than a decade and involved many victims. It started in the late 1970s, when Wilson was 22 or 23, and continued until 1992, when he was in his early 30s.
Emotional scenes as victims deliver impact statements
Earlier on Tuesday, two victim impact statements were read out by a Crown prosecutor and a third was delivered by Neil Harding, another of Wilson's victims.
Harding spoke directly to his abuser, asking Wilson: "Did you not consider I would grow up and remember your actions?"
"You're sitting there and I'm sitting here. It feels good, it feels right."
Harding was 11-years-old when he went to Dilworth School.
Wilson was Scout Master at the time and Harding says he found him witty and felt safe with him.
"I felt special being chosen - then it all changed," he said. "I was devastated by what you did to me and that there were ulterior motives."
"I stayed quiet and told no one. I copped it and shut up.
"You also said nothing and life proceeded as it had - It is a frightening space to live in.
"It seemed I could trust no one - especially those in authority. The Dilworth way was to shut up and take whatever was thrown at you."
Harding left Dilworth School after two years. He revealed he'd had regular counselling for three and a half years and was taking antidepressants.
Victim A, whose statement was read by a prosecutor, said his first time being assaulted was when the school was empty and quiet. He said it continued for four and a half years, at an average of two and a half times a week.
He said he tried to tell a priest about the abuse, but was called a stupid boy and a liar.
"I couldn't complain to anyone - I had no where else to go," he said.
"Emotionally I was a wreck. Financially, mentally [it] changed my entire life and sent me in a direction that almost anyone would fail at.
"I found some peace with Wilson's guilty plea... Wilson changed my life and I'll always wonder how my life could have been."
Victim E, who had Wilson as a housemaster in 1990, was a 12-year-old student at the time of his abuse. His mother had just passed away from cancer.
Encouraged to share their "dark stories" at a camp in Huia, Victim E had shared guilt about not being able to be there during her passing.
"To this day this is my biggest regret I harbour," he said.
It was at this camp he says Ian Wilson assaulted him.
"Wilson said 'oops, just a little lovebite there' - it was so cavalier, this has struck me ever since," he said.
"What I did not share at the camp was that I was already a survivor of sexual abuse for several months the year earlier, by someone else. My trust was lacking and I was already vulnerable.
"I lost my ability to trust, my ability to ask for help.
"Ian Wilson was also the assistant principal. He took advantage of his position."
Victim E's remaining years at Dilworth School were spent alone. He described himself as a depressed teenager who often thought about suicide.
"I would drink to excess and would cut myself," he said.
He said he still has trouble expressing intimacy - trust issues that contributed to his divorce and to another relationship coming to an end.
"He assured I would never trust in others," Victim E said of Wilson. "I feel angry that he took advantage of a 14-year-old me."
Where to find help and support
- HELP AUCKLAND - 09 623 1700
- Safe to talk - 0800 044 334
- Shine (domestic violence) - 0508 744 633
- Women's Refuge - 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE)
- Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
- What's Up - 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)
- Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
- Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email firstname.lastname@example.org or online chat
- Samaritans - 0800 726 666
- Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
- Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
- Shakti Community Council - 0800 742 584