The man, whom the Herald cannot name due to court suppression orders, is on trial before a jury and Judge Brooke Gibson in the Auckland District Court.

The man is charged with six counts of rape, five of indecent assault, five of unlawful sexual connection, two of sexual connection with a young person, and one of an indecent act on a young person

He is also charged with assault against a student using a belt. The man has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The artist’s works are understood to be hanging in well-known galleries and offices.

Crown prosecutor Dale Dufty said during his opening address that the man took advantage of his female students.

He said the artist violated four women, aged 14 to 18, during 2014 and 2015 at his private studio.

“During lesson time he would call the complainants into his private studio where he would lock the door,” Dufty said.

During these lessons, the Crown alleges, the artist would tell the students “stories about art and things that he had done”.

“Over time during these one-on-one sessions he became physical,” Dufty said, adding that the artist “pushed and persisted”.

“They said ‘no’, but he pushed on anyway … They simply gave in out of fear or confusion.”

Dufty said the man told one of his students “it was good for her” and was part of her training to become a better artist.

The man told his students “fanciful stories” and further said that oral sex would enable them “to see colours” and improve their art, Dufty told the court.

“[The] complainants [were] confused and scared of the consequences.”

The artist told the students to “pretend that nothing had happened” when they left the studio and “not to tell anyone or he would go to jail”, Dufty said.

“He told them these things to attempt to earn their trust and to manipulate them,” Dufty added.

The trial continues tomorrow.

Source: NZ Herald


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