Catholic Brother Charles Afeaki denies 14 sex abuse charges

A former Catholic brother and school teacher has denied sexually abusing young boys between 1975 and 1977 in New Zealand.

Charles Robert Afeaki at Auckland District Court. Photo by Lawrence Smith/STUFF

Charles Robert Afeaki, 81, is accused of sexually abusing a boy at Invercargill between 1975 and 1977, and another boy at St Paul’s between 1975 and 1977.

Afeaki’s lawyer Roger Eagles told Judge Kirsten Lummis this week at the Auckland District Court his client denied the offending, and could not remember either of the complainants.

“The defendant says there are numerous aspects of the evidence of the complainants that are wrong, and unbelievable”, Stuff reported.

Charles Afeaki unsuccessfully argued his age previously, declining health and maintaining his reputation in Auckland’s Tongan community meant his name should stay secret until he faces trial.

The charges included  12 which are related to alleged offending by Afeaki against an 11-year-old pupil of his at Marist Brothers primary school in Invercargill in 1975, including sexual assaults in a classroom, behind a scout den, and on a school trip.

The others relate to a boy who was aged 12 when taught by Afeaki at St Paul’s College in central Auckland in 1979.

Afeaki has been imprisoned on two previous occasions for sexual offending. In 1994, he was labelled a hypocrite by the judge who sentenced him to eight years’ jail for offending against four boys in the late 1970s. In 2003, he was sentenced to two years in prison for offences against a fifth boy, but the court heard then that he had turned his life around.

The first complainant in this trial, told the interviewing detective: “This is going [with me] to my grave, I realise that now”.

The complainant believed he had been abused “50 times” during a year in Afeaki’s classroom, usually when he was told to stay behind after school, but also on a school camp and behind a neighbouring scout hut.

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