Taekwondo champ molested by top coach speaks out

Warning: This article contains details that may disturb some people.

International Taekwondo New Zealand has introduced a child protection policy following the conviction of one of its top coaches. 

The organisation suspended senior master Andrew Salton soon after the police charged him with indecently assaulting a teenage student. The policy will require instructors and assistants to undergo a yearly education programme.

Janae Whakarau, a student of Salton’s and world number one power breaker for her age group told her parents her master was behaving inappropriately. The family went to the police and charges were laid in 2018.  

The court found Salton guilty on three counts of indecent assault and sentenced him to one year of home detention. Salton lost his appeal for name suppression in June.

Whakarau has since applied to the court to have her name suppression lifted so she can tell her story in the hope other rangatahi will find the courage to speak up.

The black belt was at the pinnacle of her fighting career, bringing home two gold medals from the world championships in Germany last year - adding to her already impressive collection. 

Her six sisters and their mum Corrina had all been part of the Shannon Taekwondo club and students of taekwondo master Andrew Salton.  A veteran of the martial art and an internationally renowned trainer who’d reached one of the highest levels, 7th darn just two belts under the most esteemed position of Grand Master.

The married father of two was welcomed into the large and loving Whakarau whānau even attending a family wedding. 

He was dedicated to his star student but Janae’s mother Corrina says it was just a ruse. He offered Janae private lessons in his garage and they took a sinister turn.

Following the lessons, he gave unwanted massages which became increasingly intrusive, and role-played simulated rape scenarios where he became aroused and exposed his penis to her.

At the time The Hui spoke to the Whakarau whānau, International Taekwondo NZ hadn’t made contact with the family causing them to feel isolated from the organisation.

International Taekwondo NZ’s chairman Nick Lourantos says they were asked not to contact the family but are sorry for what has happened.

Lourantos also says if there is anyone else that has been impacted by this they can contact the organisation or the police.

The Hui

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