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Vigilant Standtrue (39), who declined to have a lawyer, appeared in the Greymouth District Court last Thursday and admitted charges of assaulting children aged 9, 10 and 11 between July 2017 and July 2020.
Initially, he faced seven charges. However, four of the charges were withdrawn last week and three were laid representatively, where there are multiple offences of the same type.
The offending occurred at the Gloriavale School and the Gloriavale Christian Community's garden.
Crown prosecutor Mitchell McClenaghan said one of the victims was a 9-year-old.
‘‘During a treasure hunt in the classroom the victim found some treasure and put it in the rubbish. This made Standtrue angry and he held the victim on the shoulders and around the neck and shook them.’’
During another incident Standtrue shook a child, again in the classroom.
‘‘In the community gardens while Standtrue supervised young males he yelled at a victim when the victim pulled some weeds out, including yams. This made Standtrue angry and he grabbed the victim's collar and pushed the victim. The victim fell back. Standtrue shook the victim and called the victim a moron.’’
Mr McClenaghan said other incidents also occurred in the garden when a victim again pulled weeds out and this time crushed yams, which made Standtrue angry and he shook that child also.
‘‘Standtrue shook a victim who was late for work and grabbed and pushed a victim to the ground.’’
In explanation, Standtrue said that he was under pressure and had not intended to cause harm.
Mr McClenaghan said Standtrue was remorseful. He was convicted and remanded for sentencing on January 14.