Dilworth class action group calls for resignation of two of school's trust board members

The group taking class action against Dilworth is calling for the resignation of two of the school's trust board members who they accuse of ignoring alleged complaints of sexual abuse. 

Newshub revealed on Sunday that at least 22 former Dilworth students made allegations of sexual abuse but they say their complaints were ignored. 

When Neil Harding began a class action against Dilworth, he was joined by around 30 other former students. But now that's grown to 116. 

"I think some have been so traumatised, that they have been waiting and I think they don't want to be disappointed," the former Dilworth student tells Newshub.

"I think they're seeing that what we're doing is uncovering something that has been kept secret for over 50 years." 

In March, Harding spoke directly to his abuser, former assistant principal Ian Wilson - who was jailed for sexual offending against five boys.  

Earlier this month former Dilworth chaplain Ross Browne was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison after admitting historical sexual offending relating to 14 former pupils. 

That same day, the Dilworth trust board announced it will commission an 'independent inquiry' including the school's response to complaints. 

But on Sunday, Newshub revealed that at least 22 ex-students claimed former school leaders ignored complaints of alleged abuse.

Now the class action group is calling for two current trust board members to resign for their alleged roles. 

"We're asking the chairman of the board of trustees Aaron Snodgrass, and trustee Brian Maltby to resign," Harding says. "They have been on a board that has knowingly covered up abuse." 

In a statement, the trust board said: "Dilworth trust board chairman Aaron Snodgrass has no plans to resign and has the full support of the board." 

The trust board cited his initiation of a 2018 independent review of the school's records into historical sexual abuse and a public apology as some of the steps he has taken in the role. 

It said: "Mr Snodgrass, his fellow board trustees and the school have zero tolerance to abuse of any kind..."

"As planned, deputy chair Brian Maltby is retiring at the end of this year.”

Vaughan Sexton was also abused at Dilworth. He believes there must have been communication between offending staff and wants the independent review to truly be independent.  

"In hindsight, there was a ring, and through some communication amongst these people, they knew this was an area of availability for young people," Sexton tells Newshub. 

"There are two icebergs," Harding adds. "The tip of the iceberg is the amount of boys that were abused. The other tip of the iceberg is what the school did and didn't do, and what they knew." 

Watch the full story above.