Dilworth School investigation: Ian Wilson admits sex crimes against boys

A former assistant principal has pleaded guilty to two charges involving indecent acts while he worked at Dilworth School.

As he admitted the offending, the courtroom heard he had resigned from the private school in Epsom because of a similar conviction.

Ian Wilson was arraigned in the Auckland District Court before Judge Evangelos Thomas yesterday.

Crown prosecutor Brett Tantrum said Wilson, 69, had held several positions of responsibility during his time at the school.

He was a Scout Leader, Senior House Master of MacMurray Boarding House and later the Senior School Assistant Principal from 1988 to 1996. He also taught History and Te Reo Māori.

His career at the school ended in 1996 as a result of being convicted of doing an indecent act with a boy under 12 years, the court heard.

Today, as Wilson admitted the two new charges – one of which was representative – more details of those crimes were heard for the first time.

The Auckland District Court heard on about 12 occasions over a three to four-year period, Wilson indecently touched one victim.

The court heard he had used positions of power to form a close relationship with the victim. The victim would sleep over, was encouraged to stay in Wilson’s bed, and was abused.

Wilson was between 26 and 30 years old at the time of the offending.

He also admitted he had induced a different boy aged under 16 years old to perform an indecent act on him in 1977.

The court heard Wilson had laid down on a large sheepskin rug before telling the boy to sit down next to him.

Wilson lifted up his shirt and asked the boy to tickle his tummy.

He began moving his hips, “writhing” on the floor whilst groaning, instructing the child to move his hand lower.

As the boy became increasingly scared he immediately stopped touching Wilson and asked if it was okay to leave. Wilson allowed him to do so, the court heard.

Tantrum said Dilworth School had been founded with a vision to help boys from disadvantaged families.

The school was opened in 1906, with the aim of providing the boys with opportunities, including a top-quality free education, accommodation and food.

Most of the boys selected came from families of “broken marriages, solo parents, orphans” or they were severely disadvantaged in some other way, Tantrum said.

Judge Thomas convicted Wilson and remanded him on bail for sentencing in January next year.

Six other men were charged by police following the Auckland City Criminal Investigation Branch-dubbed Operation Beverly. All of them deny the allegations made against them.

Editor's note

It has been a shock for New Zealanders to learn that several former staff at Auckland’s Dilworth School have been charged with sex and drug offences against boys over more than three decades. We want you, our readers, to know that the Herald will follow this story wherever it leads. We have a team of journalists prepared to investigate and we want to hear from you. If you have any information please contact us at [email protected]

Murray Kirkness
NZ Herald Editor

Where to get help:

• If it’s an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
• If you’ve ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone call the confidential crisis helpline Safe to Talk on: 0800 044 334 or text 4334. (available 24/7)
• Male Survivors Aotearoa offers a range of confidential support at centres across New Zealand – find your closest one here.
• Mosaic – Tiaki Tangata: 0800 94 22 94 (available 11am – 8pm)
• Alternatively contact your local police station
• If you have been abused, remember it’s not your fault.

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