A former school principal jailed for sexually abusing students has had his first parole bid declined, despite assurances he had a job lined up.
Elvis Dobson Shepherd, 52, was found guilty on two counts of sexual violation by oral sexual connection and two counts of indecent assault while he was teaching and living at Hato Petera College, a Maori Catholic boarding school on Auckland’s North Shore, in the early 1990s.
At the time of his sentencing in 2010 to eight years and four months’ jail time, he was principal of Feilding’s Hato Paora College.
Shepherd was first seen for parole in May, but the hearing was carried over until this month. The Parole Board declined his parole in their decision issued yesterday.
A psychological assessment report put Shepherd’s overall risk at medium low, with references made to a lack of capacity for relationship stability and deviant sexual preferences.
Proposals from Shepherd’s whanau group for his release included a ready-made job, the board said.
”We are told there is employment available to Mr Shepherd… as a consultant providing education resources. [The employers] are aware that there could not be any direct contact with children and that the employment would have to be related solely to administration and consultation.”
Other proposals included the possibility of electronic monitoring and an understanding Shepherd not enter ”any school, playground, park/reserve or place where children are likely to congregate unless under direct supervision”.
But, ultimately, the board decided he was not yet ready for parole, and would not be until he had completed the ”short intervention programme”.
”We believe all of the proposals for conditions are sound, but that leaves us still with the decision as to whether Mr Shepherd can satisfy us that he no longer poses an undue risk… and that such risk as he does pose can be adequately managed on parole.”
Although the board received letters of support from whanu and community, the submissions from his victims were damning, the board said.
”These submissions strongly assert that Mr Shepherd has used Maori institutions, Tikanga Maori, Te Reo Maori, and Maori education to further his own ends and to cover his behaviour.
”By way of conclusion, the submissions say that Mr Shepherd is manipulative and untrustworthy. They say that he has used his influence for his own ends and dressed this up as helping others.”
Shepherd will be seen again in July next year, following with an updated psychologist assessment.
No parole for ‘deviant’ principal
Story by Craig Boyer. 7 August 2013