Former Dilworth School music teacher living in China wanted by New Zealand police

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Police want to speak to former Dilworth music teacher Owen Grant Workman, but he remains out of reach in China

Abigail Dougherty / Stuff

Police want to speak to former Dilworth music teacher Owen Grant Workman, but he remains out of reach in China

A former Dilworth School music teacher is hiding in China, despite knowing New Zealand police want to talk to him.

Owen Grant Workman was music director at Dilworth, where he was employed between 1988 and 1995.

An independent inquiry has been launched into sexual abuse at Dilworth after 11 men were charged with historic sexual offenses at the school.

Things understands that police issued a warrant for Owen’s arrest in May 2021 after a number of men came forward and filed complaints.

READ MORE:
* Dilworth School: Convicted sex offender taught for almost 20 years
* Dilworth School: Scouts not told of complaints about former chaplain for 13 years
* Dilworth asked chaplain to resign over misbehaviour, police not called
* Dilworth School: Teacher accused of parading naked has been ‘cleared to resign’

But despite police efforts to reach the former Birkdale resident in Auckland, he is unresponsive.

It is unclear whether the Chinese authorities have done anything to support their counterparts.

Things asked the Chinese Embassy a number of questions, including what Workman’s immigration status was, whether he had worked as a teacher in China and, if so, whether Chinese authorities were concerned about security children.

An embassy spokesperson did not answer any questions and mentioned Things to the New Zealand Police.

Detective Sergeant Geoff Baber has confirmed that a warrant has been issued for a 63-year-old man as part of the Dilworth investigation, dubbed Operation Beverly.

He said police had informed Interpol but could not comment further as the investigation was ongoing.

New Zealand has extradition treaties with some countries, including Australia. These treaties allow New Zealand authorities to request that a wanted person be returned to Aotearoa to face prosecution.

There is no such treaty with China.

University of Canterbury professor of international criminal law, Neil Boister, said New Zealand had a “mutual assistance” agreement with China. This allowed New Zealand Police to check in with their Chinese counterparts and receive information, including contact details.

A diplomatic row over the extradition treaty with Hong Kong erupted in August 2020, when China suspended the treaty in retaliation for New Zealand’s decision to follow Australia, Britain and of Canada to stop extradition with Hong Kong.

However, a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said the mutual assistance agreement was not affected.

Leonard Cave, a former music teacher at Dilworth School, at Auckland High Court, where he was convicted of sexually abusing boys in his care.

Lawrence Smith / Stuff

Leonard Cave, a former music teacher at Dilworth School, at Auckland High Court, where he was convicted of sexually abusing boys in his care.

Boister said the other possibility was that China revoked Workman’s visa and deported him, a process he described as “informal extradition.”

“That would be the best bet.”

Boister said the publicity of the case, as well as the Supreme Court’s decision in April to deport wanted murder defendant Kyuch Yup Kim to China, may “carry some price.”

Three years before Workman was appointed head of music at Dilworth, Leonard Cave held the position.

He was allowed to quietly resign from Dilworth following a complaint that he knocked out a boy with alcohol and sexually abused him while traveling on Waiheke Island.

Cave then taught at St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton, where he later sexually abused another boy. He is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence.

Chris McKeen / Stuff

Former Dilworth chaplain and scout leader Ross Browne is facing four historic charges of sexually abusing boys.

Operation Beverly

So far, 11 men have been arrested and charged with historic sex offenses in Dilworth.

The police operation, dubbed Beverly, resulted in allegations against teachers, staff and volunteers associated with the boarding school and its scout group.

Three of the defendants – Keith William Dixon, Rex Clarence McIntosh and Richard Charles Galloway – died before being tried. They denied the allegations against them.

A man, whose name has been removed, has denied the charges and is yet to stand trial.

Others have been convicted for their crimes. They include former Chaplain Ross Douglas Browne, former Deputy Warden Ian Robert Wilson and former Deputy House Master Alister Grant Harlow.

Former Dilworth School Deputy Headmaster Ian Robert Wilson is sentenced in Auckland District Court on seven counts relating to the historic sexual abuse of boys.

LAWRENCE SMITH / Stuff

Former Dilworth School Deputy Headmaster Ian Robert Wilson is sentenced in Auckland District Court on seven counts relating to the historic sexual abuse of boys.

Former music teacher Leonard Cave, former scout leader Graeme Charles Lindsay, guardian Jonathan Peter Stephens and a man whose name has been removed have all been convicted of sex offences.

Browne, Wilson, Harlow and Cave are serving prison terms, while Lindsay and Stephens have been sentenced to house arrest.

Former teacher and householder Robert Howard Gladwin Wynyard is due to be sentenced in December.

Anyone with information can contact the Operation Beverly team on (09) 302 6624 or by emailing [email protected]

Where to get help for sexual violence

  • Rape Crisis 0800 88 33 00, click link for local helplines.

  • Assistance to victims 0800 842 846.

  • Safetalk text 4334, phone 0800 044 334 webchat safetotalk.nz or email [email protected]

  • Harbor’s online support and information for victims of sexual abuse.

  • Women’s Shelter 0800 733 843

  • Male Survivors Aotearoa Helplines across New Zealand, click to find out more (men only).

  • If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 111.

If you or someone you know is in a dangerous situation, click the Shielded icon at the bottom of this website to contact Women’s Refuge safely and anonymously without it being tracked in your browser history. If you’re in our app, visit the mobile website here to access Shielded.

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