A teacher at Gloriavale Christian School has had his practising certificate suspended for three months after endorsing a colleague he knew had sexually abused a child.
Faithful Pilgrim was the principal of the school between 1995 and 2020. He has been a teacher for over 45 years.
The Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal said the 66-year-old had an unblemished record, as a teacher, before he was charged with serious misconduct last year.
It found that while he was principal on two occasions in 2012 and 2016, Faithful Pilgrim endorsed Just Standfast as being of "good character and fit to be a teacher" on his application to renew his practising certificate.
The tribunal said Pilgrim "knew that Standfast had sexually abused a nine-year-old student", and that his action amounted to "serious misconduct".
"Pilgrim knew that Standfast had sexually offended (by inappropriately touching) against a child who was one of Standfast’s students," the tribunal said in its decision.
"Nevertheless, Pilgrim acted in a way that allowed Standfast to continue working as a teacher."
Pilgrim’s action was described as being "the antithesis of the response that he should have taken".
"Rather than reporting Standfast’s conduct to the Teaching Council, police or any other appropriate agency, his actions contributed to Standfast’s actions remaining undetected," the tribunal said.
"There can be little doubt that Pilgrim’s actions can be seen to bring disrepute to the teaching profession and are likely to bring discredit to the profession.
"Rather than acting in the interests of learners and the teaching profession, Pilgrim could be said to have acted to further the interests of Standfast and of the Gloriavale community."
During the hearing earlier this year, which was suppressed until today, Pilgrim had his practising certificate suspended for three months.
A number of conditions were also put on Pilgrim’s practising certificate, when he starts back at the school, including participating in child welfare training and having a mentor.
Pilgrim was also ordered to contribute towards the costs of the proceedings. He said he does not intend to endorse anyone in the future.
Faithful Pilgrim sought permanent name suppression, which was supported by his son and the current school principal, Abraham Pilgrim.
But the tribunal said their arguments "did not outweigh public interest factors that favour his name and the school’s name being published".
1News understands Pilgrim intends to go back to the school to work once his suspension is finished. Gloriavale has been approached for comment.
Just Standfast is no longer a teacher, and has not been at the school since 2018.