Allegations of Sexual Abuse

False Allegations Index


The John Edgar case
A primary school teacher accused of sexual abuse by pupils.
”Emphatically acquitted”

News Reports

Dr John Edgar
John holds a PhD in history and a Diploma in Education. He was a teacher for 12 years, until he left as a result of the false allegation. He subsequently worked as a Post Doctoral History Researcher at Waikato University, and has qualified with LL.B. Honours degree at Auckland University – being recognized by the Auckland District Law Society for being the top law professionals student in Auckland at the time he qualified. Edgar now practices law.

Cartoon: Tom Scott; Dec 6 2004

2004-1206 – Child Forum Research Network - NZEI Still Letting Male Teachers Down
In April of 1998, John Edgar, a primary school teacher accused of touching the genitals of seven boys was acquitted by a Hamilton District Court judge. Edgar appeared on national television and warned men that the risks of being a teacher were too great, and he advised those already in teaching to get out.

2003-0120 – Southland Times - Looking into a deviant's mind
Editorial -
Dr John Edgar was emphatically acquitted of eight charges of indecency against Hamilton children, though only after a nightmare of recriminations and reproach. More than that, though, the climate of suspicion is making it harder for men to enter teaching ranks or, for that matter, to show such innocent displays of affection as gathering a child into their lap.

2000-0715 – The Press - The accused
by Diana Dekker -
Police once felt confident to disbelieve allegations, says Laybourn. Now there's such pressure from organisations such as Rape Crisis, that even cases with no foundation, like that of Edgar, go to court. "It blighted his life and the lives of so many close to him." After his trial, Edgar described his ordeal as "six months of hell".

2000-0202 - Waikato Times - Ellis freed - mother appeals to parents
Ellis' case and conviction polarised opinion and raised questions about the way young children were interviewed and the impartiality of the trial jury. Waikato Criminal Bar Association head Roger Laybourn today said most people in the legal profession believed the case was dubious. He believed there were similarities between Ellis' case and that of former Hamilton schoolteacher John Edgar, acquitted in April 1998 on eight counts of indecency.

1999-0824 - Waikato Times - Men wary of the chalkface
by Scott Inglis - Women outnumber men by almost four to one among primary teaching staff in New Zealand -- and educators are worried about the imbalance. Former Hamilton primary teacher John Edgar, cleared in April last year of alleged indecencies on seven pupils, says any young man considering the profession should think again. Dr Edgar, now studying law at Auckland University, was accused of indecently touching boys at Hukanui Primary but found not guilty following a trial. The accusations cost him his house, job and savings.

1999-0801 – Sunday Star Times - Sex slurs forcing men out of teaching
by Mark Henderson - Six months and a jury trial later, Edgar was acquitted. But his 12-year teaching career was finished. In an outburst outside court, Edgar warned men not to take up teaching. He remains bitter and disillusioned with a system he claims presumes guilt. "It's terribly easy today for a male to be accused of sexual abuse. Children can make a complaint to deflect attention from their wrongdoing or to get back at you. Teachers live in fear, wondering when it is going to happen to them."

1999-0111 - Waikato Times - Edgar starts his new life with a book
Hamilton's John Edgar will record the life of prominent environmentalist and former Auckland mayor Sir Dove-Meyer Robinson in a new book. Dr Edgar, a former teacher at Hukanui Primary School who last year was cleared of eight indecency charges against students, has spent much of the past nine months recovering from the trauma of the trial and the resulting publicity. He says it cost him his home and job.

1999-0111 - Herald - Extrovert plans Robbie profile
by Philippa Stevenson - Dr John Edgar, the Hamilton primary school teacher last year cleared of eight indecency charges against pupils, plans to reveal Auckland's late mayor, universally known as Robbie, in a new biography as a pioneering environmentalist.

1998-1226 - Waikato Times - The Headliners 1998 
by Susan Pepperell - The Times today names its Top 10 Waikato newsmakers of the year. In our annual feature, Susan Pepperell recaps the tragedies and triumphs of the people who made the headlines. - John Edgar

1998-0623 - Waikato Times - Former school teacher backs support plan
The former Hamilton primary school teacher cleared of indecency charges against pupils says a support group, formed after his high-profile case went to court, will educate other male teachers about the dangers they face. …….Dr Edgar said he would never teach children again.

1998-0600 - COSA - School teacher acquitted
Edgar describes the allegations as ‘absolutely weird’. Some of them were supposed to have occurred in the playground in front of other students and teachers. Edgar believes the accusations were made up by one group of children at the school. "They were just the result of a group of children who knew each other ... who made up stupid stories ... it just developed some sort of a nightmarish life of itself," he said. Edgar, who has a doctorate in history, described the police investigation as "sloppy". Edgar said that there were a number of teachers at the school who would have backed him up, but the police did not interview them. They did interview a student teacher and a teacher at the school, who were able to show the allegations were false, but the police did not use their evidence.

1998-0600 - COSA - Falsely accused teachers
by Felicity Goodyear-Smith - While certainly some teachers do sexually molest children, it is all too easy for pupils to make wrongful allegations and be uncritically believed. Pointing the finger at a teacher gives students incredible power if they are angry with him (or her) and want revenge for being disciplined or sighted in some way. The case of acquitted ex-teacher Dr John Edgar, reported in our Courts section, demonstrates this well. Police chose to believe the boys rather than Edgar and other witnesses including fellow teachers

1998-0529 - Waikato Times - Press Council rejects Edgar complaint
A complaint over the coverage by the Waikato Times of assault charges against a Hamilton teacher has been rejected by the New Zealand Press Council.

1998-0512 - Waikato Times - Loss disturbing
by Tukoroirangi Morgan, MP - Many children who attend Hukanui School in Hamilton are Maori. It therefore disturbs me to think that it has lost a good loving teacher like John Edgar. …….. If the case of Dr Edgar has taught us anything, it has shown New Zealand society needs to take a deep breath and stop this homophobic and abuse hysteria.

1998-0511 - Waikato Times - Loss a shame
by Fiona Coop -  It's just a shame our children are losing another excellent teacher. I also believe all parents should teach their children the difference between the truth and lies.

1998-0507 - Waikato Times - Verdict paramount
by Leighton Collins - Margaret my wife pointed out that during John Edgar's trial he was always referred to in the media as Mr John Timothy Edgar, yet, as soon as he was found not guilty he was addressed by his correct title: Dr Edgar

1998-0505 – Evening Post - What becomes of those who bear false witness?
by Renton MacLachlan - I write in relation to the case of Dr John Edgar, the former school teacher who was recently acquitted of charges of indecent assault. If the charges were indeed false as the court has found, what is going to happen to those who laid them? Surely to allow false charges to go unpunished is to encourage false charges to be made?

1998-0505 – Evening Post - Edgar case highlights teachers' vulnerability
Editorial -
Dr Edgar's case does, however, highlight the issue of male teachers' vulnerability to allegations of sexual misconduct. Tai Tokerau Principals' Association president Geoff Skudder says male teachers have to be careful that anything they do is not misconstrued. Even something as simple as patting a child on the back can be taken the wrong way. This is a sad indictment of a society emasculated and inhibited by political correctness

1998-0504 – Timaru Herald - Schools need more men
Editorial -
If anything, his case highlights political correctness gone awry in a society where even a father feels apprehensive about hugging his daughter in public, but Dr Edgar also had the added stigma of being bisexual to overcome. Prejudiced parents should remember that sexual preferences outside the norm does not a paedophile make.

1998-0504 – The Press - Teacher may enter politics
The former Hamilton teacher acquitted of indecency charges is considering going into politics.

1998-0503 – Sunday News - Political stand
Former Hamilton teacher John Edgar, acquitted of indecency charges against pupils on Tuesday, may enter politics but is undecided on which party he will support

1998-0502 - Waikato Times - The Trials of John Edgar
by Gordon Jon Thompson - He lost his job, his house, his savings and, for a while, his good name. John Edgar talks to the Times' Gordon Jon Thompson about six months in hell.  -

1998-0502 - Waikato Times - Edgar eyes political exposure in wake of acquittal
by Gordon Jon Thompson - They say a week is a long time in politics but for John Edgar of Hamilton it was even longer in the justice system. One day he might also find out how long a week is in politics -- he wants to be an MP.

1998-0502 - Waikato Times - Dr Edgar's case a salutary tale
Editorial -
On his acquittal, Dr Edgar was elated but bitter. His first pronouncement, minutes after the verdicts were read out, was a warning to other male teachers or men considering teaching as a career. He said the profession was now too risky for males because it left them open to allegations that could ruin their careers -- and lives. If a male teacher touched a child in any way, it could be misconstrued or used by children as a way of seeking revenge

1998-0502 – Evening Post - Former teacher views politics
The former Hamilton teacher acquitted of indecency charges this week is considering going into politics. "After this publicity it can't get much worse," he said this week.

1998-0501 – The Dominion - Male teachers need support
Editorial -
Some children realise how vulnerable a teacher can be to their accusations, even when they are fabricated, and are calculating enough to play on this. Some parents are predisposed to believe whatever a child says, however bizarre. A law amendment in 1985 changed the rules in sex trials to stop judges telling juries they should acquit when there is no supporting evidence, which, due to the nature of such cases, may not be available. It also seems that in the sensitised climate the police have relaxed some of the rigour with which they approach allegations of sex abuse. Rather than appear sceptical and unfeeling, the temptation must be to let a prosecution go forward even where there are strong indications of innocence.

1998-0501 – Daily News - Worrying privilege of sex charges without evidence
Editorial -
The original Dr John Edgar was a rare thing among the country's primary school teachers. Not only was he one of a dwindling band of male teachers in an industry 80% dominated by women, but he had a PhD in history and a colourful, easy-going personality that made learning fun for his Hamilton primary school pupils -- at least most of them. More importantly, he loved his job that had stretched into a 12-year career, the last eight at Hukanui School. He was not afraid to give his hard-working pupils a congratulatory pat or hug. Then it all turned to mud

1998-0430 - Waikato Times - Sex accused must prove innocence: Law Society
by Jon -  The Law Society says law changes mean people accused of sex crimes now have to prove their innocence. Spokesman and Wellington lawyer Bruce Davidson today said this went against a basic theory of justice which said the defence did not have to prove anything while the prosecution had to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt

1998-0430 – The Dominion - More male teachers needed - NZEI
More males should be recruited into primary school teaching, despite warnings from a former Hamilton teacher cleared of sex offences, the primary teachers' union says. John Timothy Edgar, 38, warned men yesterday against entering the profession, as most allegations of sexual misconduct "seem to focus on men".

1998-0430 – The Dominion - Ex-teacher issues warning after acquittal
Former teacher John Timothy Edgar raised his arms in jubilation as he was cleared on eight counts of indecency yesterday. A loud cheer from about 15 of his supporters greeted the verdicts, delivered at 12.40am after the Hamilton District Court jury deliberated for more than 14 hours. Judge Lynton Laing told Dr Edgar to stand down from the dock and leave the courtroom, and apologised to the jury for the reaction of the accused and his supporters.

1998-0430 – Nelson Mail - Perspective needed
Editorial -
It is entirely understandable that former primary teacher John Timothy Edgar has warned other men about entering the profession. Dr Edgar, reputedly a brilliant teacher, lost his career when allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him by a group of pupils. This week he was cleared on eight counts of indecency.

1998-0429 - Waikato Times - Jury's verdict brilliant, say parents
Mr Collins described the verdict as brilliant but said the case should never have got to court. Their daughter was taught by Dr Edgar in 1992 and used to refer to him as "her Dr Edgar" because she liked him so much. He was also popular with parents. Mrs Collins said it was such a waste that Dr Edgar was no longer a teacher

1998-0429 - Waikato Times - Jubilation as final verdict heard
Most sports teams would be happy to have the support acquitted teacher John Edgar enjoyed during his trial. His supporters, including his sister, brother and girlfriend, sat through more than six days of testimony and then waited 14 hours for the jury to reach its verdicts.

1998-0429 - Waikato Times - Cheers, tears at acquittal
by Gordon Jon Thompson - Outside the courthouse, Dr Edgar said he had endured six months of hell for something he did not do. Flanked by his lawyers Roger Laybourn and Mark Hammond, he said the decision vindicated him and his supporters. While the jury's verdicts were a victory for all male teachers, he warned men considering teaching as a career not to choose it and those already in the profession to get out. He also described the police investigation as "sloppy".

1998-0429 - Waikato Times - Charges a warning for male teachers
by Keri Welham - The former Hamilton teacher acquitted on indecency charges is warning men to avoid teaching because it leaves them open to child sex allegations. John Edgar, 37, today said men thinking of becoming teachers should think again because most allegations of sexual misconduct "seem to focus on men".

1998-0429 – Evening Post - Cleared teacher issues warning
NZPA - Dr Edgar, 37, told National Radio today that his teaching career had been over from the time the allegations were made, and his photo and "an article which seemed to suggest I was guilty" appeared in the local newspaper. "There will probably always be the finger of suspicion. I certainly couldn't teach and feel very comfortable," he said.

1998-0428 - Waikato Times - Jury in Edgar case retires
Mr Laybourn told the jury the boys' allegations had fundamental flaws. "How can you trust and rely on a witness that tells such conflicting stories?" Mr Laybourn asked. "That in itself should make you have serious doubts about his allegations."

1998-0428 - Waikato Times - Former teacher's fate now rests with jury
A Hamilton District Court jury was today to decide if former teacher John Timothy Edgar is guilty of indecencies against boys.

1998-0428 - The Press - Jury's decision on accused today
Hamilton District Court jury will decide today if former teacher John Timothy Edgar is guilty of indecencies against boys.

1998-0428 – The Dominion - Verdict due in teacher case
A Hamilton District Court jury will decide today if former teacher John Timothy Edgar is guilty of indecencies against boys.

1998-0427 - Waikato Times - Indecency trial: Crown recalls two witnesses
The Crown will today recall two witnesses to give more evidence in former Hamilton teacher John Timothy Edgar's indecency trial. They testified in the Hamilton District Court last week but will be recalled to give more evidence about what happened when Edgar was suspended from teaching after a boy alleged he was indecently assaulted by him last November.

1998-0427 - Waikato Times - Court hears more praise for accused
A teacher, who worked with Edgar for four years, today described him as a warm sincere man. Gay Arkley said Edgar was well liked by his students. "The children flocked to John because he was so warm, so humorous and just a fun person to be with."

1998-0425 - Waikato Times - Colleagues speak highly of accused to jury
by Jon - Hukanui school teacher Jenny Irwin's testimony was typical of all defence witnesses. She said students held Edgar in high regard and described him as a man of high integrity and professionalism. "He was extremely trustworthy and the children appreciated his sense of humour," Mrs Irwin said. Her son was in Edgar's class in 1993. She said Edgar built up his self-esteem and her son still liked him. "I can't speak highly enough of John." She said most teachers would pat students on the shoulder as a sign of encouragement.

1998-0424 - Waikato Times - Witness never saw children carried
Mrs White today described Edgar as an honest teacher who was regarded by fellow teachers as professional. A "debacle", such as carrying children in the playground, would be noticed by children and teachers. Mrs White said children would also notice if messengers came in to the classroom during class. The Crown alleges Edgar touched boys' genitals when they came into his room to deliver messages.

1998-0424 - Waikato Times - Teacher: boys made up claims together
by Gordon Jon Thompson - -Former teacher John Timothy Edgar, accused of indecently assaulting boys, said he believed two of the boys made up their allegations together. He told the jury in his Hamilton District Court trial yesterday the boys were best friends and in the same class at Hukanui Primary School. They would have talked to another boy who had made similar allegations. "I'm afraid a group of children like that do get together like that in a school," Edgar said.

1998-0423 - Waikato Times - Jury hearing indecency case to visit city school
by Gordon Jon Thompson - Former teacher John Timothy Edgar, accused of indecently assaulting boys, today asked the jury hearing his case to go to the school where the offences allegedly happened. Judge Lynton Laing agreed, saying it was likely to help if jurors saw parts of Hukanui Primary School that had come up in evidence.

1998-0423 - Waikato Times - Edgar takes stand to deny allegations of indecency
by Gordon Jon Thompson - Former Hamilton teacher John Timothy Edgar looked the jury in the eye and told them he did not do it. Edgar spent nearly four hours denying every allegation of indecency made against him by the Crown in the Hamilton District Court yesterday. ……For the first time since he was arrested last November, he told his story. The court had heard testimony from seven boys, via closed-circuit television, that Edgar had touched their genitals while he was a teacher at Hukanui Primary School. Edgar, who sipped water throughout his testimony, said that while he used the term gay to describe his sexual orientation, he was "presently seeing one of the Hukanui mothers".

1998-0422 - Waikato Times - Teacher offered to take lie test
Former Hamilton primary school teacher John Timothy Edgar offered to take a lie-detector test when he was accused of indecent assault. He made the offer to Detective Constable Neil Burgess just before he was interviewed at Hukanui Primary School on November 10 last year -- the day a boy alleged Edgar had touched his penis.

1998-0421 - Waikato Times - Woman tells of saying sorry to accused teacher
A woman has told a jury she had apologised to the Hamilton teacher now on trial for committing an indecent act upon her son because she was made to feel her allegations were wrong. The woman, whose name is suppressed to protect her son's identity, gave evidence on the first day of John Timothy Edgar's Hamilton District Court trial yesterday. She said she complained seven years ago, soon after the alleged incident at Hukanui Primary School, but nothing came of it. Edgar, 38, was eventually charged in relation to the accusation last November after other boys made allegations. He is also accused of indecently assaulting six other pupils. His lawyer said he would take the stand to defend the charges.

1998-0421 - Waikato Times - Boys allege ex-teacher indecently touched them
Two more boys today told a jury how a former Hamilton teacher allegedly indecently assaulted them by touching their genitals. The boys, both 10, gave their evidence via closed circuit television as John Timothy Edgar's Hamilton District Court trial moved into its second day. One boy said Edgar caught him alone while changing after swimming, while the other said Edgar would touch him while he was in a classroom with other students and a student teacher.

1998-0421 – The Dominion - Teacher accused `seven years ago'
The first prosecution witness, the principal, explained that a parent had complained that Edgar had looked at her son's penis while he was getting changed after falling over and getting dirty. The principal said he had spoken to Edgar when the allegation was made in 1991. Edgar denied the allegation and said he was only helping the boy change clothes.

1998-0421 – The Dominion - Mother made to feel wrong about accused, court told
NZPA - A woman told a Hamilton jury yesterday that seven years ago she had apologised to a teacher now on trial for committing an indecent act on her son because she was made to feel her allegations were wrong. The woman, whose name is suppressed to protect the identity of her son, said she complained soon after the alleged incident but nothing came of it.

1998-0420 - Waikato Times - Teacher's trial for indecency begins today
by Jon -
The trial of a former primary school teacher accused of indecently assaulting seven pupils starts today in Hamilton District Court.

1998-0420 - Waikato Times - Accusations of indecency go back to '91
Former Hamilton primary school teacher John Timothy Edgar was first accused of inappropriate behaviour towards a pupil seven years ago. Edgar denied the allegation and no further action was taken, the school's principal told a Hamilton District Court jury today. Edgar was charged with indecent assault relating to the incident in 1991 following a similar allegation last November

1998-0420 – Evening Post - Teacher goes on trial
The trial of a school teacher accused of indecently assaulting seven pupils started today in Hamilton District Court. John Timothy Edgar, 37, was arrested and charged last November.

1998-0226 - Waikato Times - Evidence to be on closed circuit TV
Children will give evidence via closed circuit television in the trial of a former Hamilton primary school teacher accused of indecently assaulting some of his pupils

1997-1218 - Waikato Times - Hamilton teacher denies sex abuse charges
Backed by a band of 12, mostly women, supporters at a depositions hearing in Hamilton District Court, John Timothy Edgar, was asked if he wanted to plead guilty to seven counts of indecent assault of boys under 12. Edgar replied: "Definitely not."

1997-1202 - Waikato Times - Wrong to publish
by Tania Collins (13)  - I believe that it is totally wrong of The Waikato Times to put a photograph of Mr Edgar in the newspaper and for people to judge him when they haven't heard his side of the story; haven't you ever heard of innocent until proven guilty. I believe that he is innocent as I was in his class in the year of 1992.

1997-1127 - Waikato Times - Teacher remanded
Hamilton District Court Judge Merelina Burnett today remanded former Hukanui Primary School teacher John Timothy Edgar, 37, on bail until December 18 for a depositions hearing

1997-1127 – The Press - Teacher on sex-abuse counts quits
A Hamilton teacher facing seven charges of sexually abusing boys has resigned from Hukanui Primary School. He told the board of trustees his decision was in the best interests of the school and its community. Edgar told the school his move was not an admission of guilt, and he would deny the charges.

1997-1122 – Evening Post - Teacher on sex charges
A Hamilton primary school said yesterday it was keeping parents informed after a judge lifted a name suppression order on a teacher accused of indecently assaulting seven boys aged under 12

1997-1121 - Waikato Times - Name of teacher on sex charges revealed
by Keri Welham - A Hamilton primary school says it is doing all it can to keep parents informed after a judge lifted name suppression of the school and one of its teachers accused of indecently assaulting seven boys under 12. John Timothy Edgar, 37, is a teacher at Hukanui Primary School. He was suspended indefinitely after allegations he indecently assaulted an 11-year-old boy at the school on November 10

1997-1121 - Waikato Times - Accused teacher, school named
by Gordon Jon Thompson - A Hamilton primary school says it is doing all it can to keep parents informed after a judge lifted name suppression of the school and one of its teachers accused of indecently assaulting seven boys under 12. John Timothy Edgar, 37, is a teacher at Hukanui Primary School. He was suspended indefinitely after allegations he had indecently assaulted an 11 year-old boy at the school on November 10

1997-1121 – The Press - Suppression order lifted on teacher
NZPA - A Hamilton District Court judge has lifted the name suppression order on a teacher accused of indecently assaulting seven young boys. Judge Spear also allowed the name of the Hamilton school to be published.

1997-1121 – The Dominion - Teacher on sex charges named
NZPA - Name suppression on a teacher accused of indecently assaulting seven boys has been lifted. Hamilton District Court Judge Robert Spear allowed publication of the name of John Timothy Edgar, 37, a teacher at Hukanui Primary School. Edgar's lawyer said Edgar would plead not guilty

1997-1120 - Waikato Times - Police plead: name teacher on sex counts
by Gordon Jon Thompson Police pleaded with a judge today to allow the media to name a Hamilton teacher they say has sexually abused young boys. Lawyers acting for police told Judge Merelina Burnett they wanted the order suppressing his name and the school where he taught lifted to alert a potential "vast pool" of victims.

1997-1113 – Evening Post - Pupil alleges indecent assault
A Hamilton teacher has been charged with indecently assaulting a pupil at his school. Detective Chief Inspector Rex Miller, of Hamilton CIB, said the victim of the alleged assault on Monday afternoon was an 11-year-old boy