A teacher who sexually assaulted young boys at a Northland school while he was the deputy principal says "he wishes he could fix the damage" he has caused.
James Parker, 37, pleaded guilty in Kaitaia District Court this morning to all 49 charges relating to sex crimes against boys.
He was the deputy principal at Pamapuria School, near Kaitaia, when he sexually assaulted 12 of his students between 2004 and 2012.
Parker cried as he read out an apology in front of a packed public gallery today.
"Believe it or not these crimes were committed against people I care about very much. I wish that I could fix the damage that I've caused.
"My crimes have also had awful and drastic consequences for my school, community, students, staff, parents, board of trustees and my principal - you have all been directly victims of what I have done.
"As a teacher and deputy principal I held a position of great trust, my actions betrayed that trust.
"I have let you all down causing huge amounts of unnecessary stress. I am truly sorry," Parker said tearfully.
He said the shame and guilt consumes him day and night and he wants to get "help to deal with the sickness from within him".
He said he is not "the monster that many people will portray him as" but is "an unwilling host of a terrible disorder".
Parker will be sentenced on November 15.
Parker was well known and well liked in the community. The town is now divided with some choosing to stand by him.
Kaitaia Resident Haven Parrish said the community "trusted him" and then "he did this".
Iris Simeon's children and grandchildren were all taught by Parker, and she says he was part of her family.
"If Jamie came here to have a cup of tea tomorrow he could have a cup of tea I would never turn him away," she told ONE News.
"I don't condone the behaviour at all but he's only 37-years-old, he's younger than my kids, but his life is ruined he's marked," she said.
The Ministry of Education is offering trauma support to the school and working with other agencies in the community.
Meanwhile the school's board of trustees has resigned. Pamapuria School has been taken over by a commissioner and the principal has taken leave.
Ministerial Inquiry into vetting process
Earlier today, Education Minister Hekia Parata confirmed she was aware another convicted sex offender was working in an Auckland school.
Parata confirmed to TV ONE's Breakfast she knew the man concerned was employed at the school but said employment decisions were the responsibility of the school board, not the Ministry.
"That has been reported to me, yes," said Parata.
"That matter has been taken up with the board and they maintain their confidence in their employee."
Yesterday, the Government announced the recommendations of a Ministerial Inquiry looking to tighten the employment process for teachers.
The Inquiry was ordered after another convicted sex offender managed to gain employment in six schools.
Rito Henry Miki, 40, worked in primary and secondary schools over four years despite supervision order that prevented him from coming into contact with children.