Eleven child sex offenders living near Auckland schools

Mt Richmond School principal Kathy Dooley understands 10 offenders are living in a single boarding house. Photo / Google Maps
Mt Richmond School principal Kathy Dooley understands 10 offenders are living in a single boarding house. Photo / Google Maps

Schools in Otahuhu appear to have been kept in the dark about a large number of child sex offenders living in the area.

The Department of Corrections says 11 people with convictions for child sex offences are living in one street in the South Auckland suburb.

They resided at two separate addresses, at properties that had been used to house offenders for a number of years, said Corrections Northern Regional commissioner Jeanette Burns.

Schools are shocked to know that the offenders are living in close proximity to children.

Mt Richmond School principal Kathy Dooley understands 10 offenders are living in a single boarding house.

She told Newstalk ZB Corrections didn't contact the school before the offenders were placed in the area.

It is understood at least two offenders triggered GPS alerts this week after being too close to schools.

In a statement, Corrections said it does not decide which offenders were released from prison, or when. But it does talk to affected schools.

"Finding suitable accommodation for offenders is one of the biggest challenges we face. Ensuring that offenders have stable accommodation keeps the community safe.

"Being homeless increases an offender's likelihood of committing crime, and we have appointed a dedicated staff member in the northern region whose sole focus is to source accommodation for medium- to high-risk offenders.

"Community Corrections assess a range of factors when considering the use of a property for an offender convicted of child sex offences. These include the location of victims, proximity to places designed for children, physical factors such as shared access, location of support services, and ability to ensure a clear GPS signal at all times.

"The safety of communities is paramount in any decisions we make and if an offender was residing at an address that posed concern, they can be directed to reside elsewhere."

Corrections said it met regularly with the property manager for the Otahuhu properties where sex offenders lived, and visited the offenders frequently.

"We have regularly engaged with police, the Otahuhu business community and schools about how we manage offenders living in this community, and we're committed to continuing to do this.

Offenders residing in the community had to comply with strict conditions. These could include use of a GPS locating device, reporting regularly to community probation, restrictions on living and working arrangements, and restrictions on associating with certain people.

Conditions could also be imposed to address any specific risks an offender posed or to address their individual needs. The offender's compliance with the conditions is managed by their probation officer.

"We expect offenders to fully comply with the conditions imposed on them and [we] take any breach very seriously. A range of enforcement sanctions are available, including formal prosecution for breach of conditions which can result in imprisonment."

- Newstalk ZB

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