Dilworth’s former assistant principal sexually abused boys on scouting trips, school camps and in the school’s sick bay. Ian Robert Wilson appeared by audio-visual link from Waikeria Prison at the Auckland District Court on Thursday where he admitted sexually abusing a further five boys in his care. It is the third time the 71 year-old has been convicted for sexually abuse at Dilworth between the 1970s and 1990s. He pleaded guilty to 19 charges, including 11 of indecency on boys, two of indecently assaulting a boy and six charges of doing an indecent act on a boy.


Wilson, who had a plaster on his left cheek and another on his right temple on Thursday, answered guilty to each charge in a thin voice.

Wilson was a history teacher and is fluent in te reo Māori. He was also a housemaster and a scout leader and would regularly take boys away on scouting trips.

Court documents released to Stuff show Wilson also attended “Group Life Lab” camps, organised by the school’s former reverend, Ross Douglas Browne.

“The boys chosen to attend were usually the most vulnerable, based on their adverse life experiences,” the agreed summary of facts stated.

Both Brown and Wilson used the camps to sexually abuse boys.

Wilson’s offending stretches back to the beginning of his career when he was a house tutor. He would take boys on trips to his family’s property at Dargaville. Wilson sexually abused one of the boys on this trip.

He also abused boys on scout camps and weekends away from the boarding school.

Other offending took place at his home, on Dilworth School grounds and in the boarding school dormitory when he was a housemaster.

The court documents show Wilson sexually abused one boy who he found in the school’s sick bay where Wilson’s wife worked as a nurse.

Wilson was first convicted in 1997. He was fined $3500.

But his name and connection to Dilworth were suppressed by a District Court judge.

Armed with a glowing reference from former Dilworth headmaster Murray Wilton, Wilson was able to later land a job with the Manukau Institute of Technology, where he continued to teach young people.

But two decades later, the police investigation into sexual offending at Dilworth uncovered further offending by Wilson.

In 2021, Wilson admitted sexually abusing five boys in his care.

One of the survivors of his offending, Neil Harding, has taken the rare step of revoking his statutory name suppression.

At Wilson’s sentencing in March 2021, Harding looked Wilson in the eye, telling the sex offender: “Did you not consider I’d grow up and remember your actions?

“Do you remember me or was I just one of many?”

Two years later, at his first appearance before the Parole Board, Wilson faced a barrage of questions from board members, who asked if there were further complainants to come forward.

There was a lengthy pause and an exhale of breath before Wilson answered: “Well, not that I’m aware of.”

But there were.

Four more men came forward to the police, reporting Wilson sexually abused them between the 1970s and 1990s.

Judge Kevin Glubb remanded Wilson in custody and set a sentencing date for August 28.

By Edward Gay
Published in Stuff