Allegations of Sexual Abuse
The trial of a primary school teacher accused of indecently assaulting four of his pupils has opened in Palmerston North.
Michael Neville, 48, who has taught at the Horowhenua school since 1995, denies indecently assaulting the four girls who were all under the age of 12 at the time of the alleged assaults.
At the opening of his trial in Palmerston North, the prosecution said there were similarities between the complaints.
One girl says in 2002 while helping Neville sort books in a store room, he put his hands down her pants, the prosecution said on Monday.
Another girl alleges that five years ago, when she was 7 years old, Neville gave her a spelling test and touched her.
The court heard Neville was "well-liked" by teachers and parents and was involved in the day-to-day running of the school. At one stage he was acting assistant principal.
The case has taken over a year to get to trial and has generated strong interest from both parents and teachers. Some of Neville's supporters are the parents of students he has taught.
The four young complainants will give evidence via a video link with the girls' mothers also appearing as witnesses.