A FORMER North East school teacher has admitted to historical indecent assault offences against students.
Police had laid 101 charges against Vincent Henry Reynolds last year following a lengthy investigation.
The 77-year-old entered guilty pleas to 41 charges in the Wodonga Magistrates Court on Tuesday, which led to the remaining charges being dropped.
The offending spanned a 31-year period from 1960 to 1991.
He was charged on summons following offences that occurred in state schools in Wodonga, Yackandandah, Dederang, Myrtleford and other regional towns in Victoria.
He had touched his students’ genitals, buttocks and anal areas.
Some cases involved skin contact and others involved groping over their clothes.
He placed one victim’s hand on his penis and instructed the boy to “rub it” and gave another boy similar instructions.
Reynolds mainly targeted young boys, but two charges relate to offending against a girl, or girls.
All victims were under 16 at the time of the offending.
He had been charged in relation to about 40 alleged victims, but it is unclear how many victims he pleaded guilty to abusing.
The guilty pleas followed discussions between the defence and prosecution during the day, which led to various charge amendments and withdrawals.
Some of his victims had attended court for the matter.
Magistrate David Faram asked the Osbornes Flat man how he wanted to plead.
He replied that he wanted to plead guilty to all the remaining charges.
Reynolds appeared before court in a dark suit with a blue shirt, and his hands appeared to shake after he formally admitted to the offences.
The matter had been listed for a four-day committal, which would have decided if there was enough evidence for him to stand trial.
The pleas avoid the need for a trial, and the 77-year-old will instead return to the Wodonga County Court next year.
Further details may be released in January, when the matter returns to court.
The 77-year-old was bailed on his own undertaking – without any reporting obligations – on Tuesday and is banned from having contact with any of the victims.
He told Mr Faram he understood the conditions.
The matter is listed for directions on January 24, with a video link down to Melbourne.
Reynolds was supported by another man in court.