The highest paid school principal in the Australian public education sector – once lauded by the NSW Education Minister as the ‘best that money could buy’ – has been charged with four additional counts of sexual and indecent assault.
Hilton Humphries, aged 56, is already accused of two counts of Indecent Assault against a minor. The charges relate to an alleged attack on a 10-year-old girl in his office at the Moree Secondary College in 2013.
On Monday, Mr Humphries reappeared in Moree Local Court on those charges, and formally pleaded not guilty. The matter was set down for a hearing in August. But as he left the court, Mr Humphries was re-arrested by Moree Detectives, taken next door to Moree Police Station, and interviewed throughout the day.
On Monday evening, Mr Humphries was charged with four additional matters – three counts of Aggravated Indecent Assault (victim aged 16 or over and under the authority of the offender); and one count of Aggravated Sexual Assault (victim aged 16 or over and under the authority of the offender).
His was released on bail and will re-appear in Moree Local Court on June 16 in relation to the fresh charges. They relate to attacks which also allegedly occurred in his Moree Secondary College office in 2013.
Mr Humphries will also return to Moree Local Court on August 12, when the hearing into the child molestation charges will proceed.
In relation to that matter, police allege that Mr Humphries sexually assaulted the 10-year-old girl in his office.
He allegedly asked the victim to hug him after she saw that his penis was exposed from his zipper.
The ABC has reported that documents tendered to court allege Mr Humphries "put his arms tightly around the victim so that their bodies were pressed against each other”, and that Mr Humphries “moved his hand down the victim's back and rested his hand on the victim's buttocks".
Mr Humphries is the ‘super principal’ of the Moree Secondary College, one of 15 schools targeted by the NSW government under its ‘Connected Communities’ policy, which aims to lift educational outcomes for schools with high Aboriginal populations.
Principals are paid a salary well above that of a normal school principal, and are entitled to substantial annual bonuses for achieving key outcomes. It’s these perks which coined the phrase ‘super principal’.
In December last year, Director-General of the NSW Department of Education and Communities, Michelle Bruniges described the Connected Communities model as a ground-breaking new policy.
“When the NSW Government launched the Connected Communities strategy in May 2012, the aim was to make a definite break from past endeavours and create a new strategy to drive improved educational outcomes for Aboriginal children and young people,” Ms Bruniges said.
In December last year, Mr Humphries attended an induction course for the ‘super principals’ in Sydney, where he was addressed by senior education officials, the Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli, and his cousin, Minister for Western NSW, Kevin Humphries.
Mr Piccoli told media at the time that leadership was the key to strong outcomes in schools with high Aboriginal populations, which is why the government had spent "money and time" attracting the best possible candidates.
Mr Humphries is still employed as the Principal of Moree Secondary College, however he listed as being on leave.
The Connected Communities policy will be the subject of a major New Matilda investigation, which will be published in the coming weeks.
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