Dilworth School’s former chaplain and the school’s former assistant principal have both appeared in court facing charges of sexually abusing boys in their care.

Photo: Chris McKeen/Stuff

Ross Douglas Browne appeared by audio-visual link from prison where he is serving a sentence for sexually abusing children.

Ordinarily the 71 year-old’s previous offending would be suppressed to protect fair trial rights, but Stuff asked Judge Steve Bonnar to exercise his discretion and revoke suppression, on the grounds the previous offending would go to a jury.

There was no opposition from Browne’s lawyer, Katrina Hamblin.

Browne faces nine new charges – one of sexual violation and eight of indecently assaulting boys.

The charges date back to between the 1980s and early 2000s and relate to five complainants.

He is yet to enter a plea and is due back in court next month.

Ian Robert Wilson also appeared in court but was not represented by a lawyer.

Wilson faces 21 charges of indecently assaulting boys in his care.

The alleged offending happened in Dargaville, Gisborne and Auckland and dates back to the 1970s.

The 74 year-old is also due back in court next month.

Browne was allowed to resign from Dilworth in 2006 after complaints emerged he had allowed boys to masturbate during class.

He was later appointed vicar of a parish in Manurewa and remained in the post, despite concerns raised by Dilworth’s Trust chairperson, Aaron Snodgrass.

His continued involvement in the Anglican Church up until his arrest was the subject of a recent report by retired High Court judge Rodney Hansen KC.

Browne is serving a prison sentence of six-and-a-half years after admitting he sexually abused 14 boys over a 15-year period.

One of the survivors of his offending told Browne in court: “You must be feeling lucky there’s so few charges. You got away with a lot, didn’t you?”

In May of this year, a Tribunal under Canon law issued a decision that found Browne guilty of misconduct, barring him from holding leadership positions with the church.

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By Edward Gay
Published in Stuff