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NZ: Sex victim hopes abuser will get long jail term (Northland)

Publish Date: 25 May 2011
Source: NZ Herald
By: Andrew Koubaridis

A Kaikohe man who worked near children every day will likely face a lengthy jail term after he pleaded guilty to sex offences on a young girl.

Freddie Te Awa, 52, a former groundsman at Northland College, will be sentenced next month on rape, sexual violation and indecent assault charges. The charges relate to offending that began more than a decade ago but were unrelated to his time at the college.

The complainant, who is now in her early 20s, yesterday said she hoped he would receive at least five or six years' jail "because that's how long I had to live with it".

It began after she met him when she was 11 and continued until she was 16.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, came forward because she didn't want anyone else to go through what she had.

"There's no way I can let him do it to someone else."

She also wondered if there were other victims. "That's partly the reason I wanted it out there."

Her teenage years and schooling were "really hard" as a result of the abuse and was still affecting the way she viewed people.

"I think it has changed me as a person just about how I think about things," she said.

"Like if I see an old guy in town or something I straight away think that they will try and be friendly ... As soon as someone is nice to me I think what are you trying to get ...

"It's been a tough journey and I've been receiving counselling and everything."

She said she didn't know if she was angry with him or felt sorry because he was likely to spend several years behind bars. Her parents were shocked when she finally told them what happened but were supportive after she went to police.

"My dad was saying he was always a friendly guy, he was shocked."

The woman said Te Awa was respected by many in the community and once drove the kohanga reo vans.

She believed Te Awa pleaded guilty to avoid the publicity of a trial.

"I think that's partly why he pleaded guilty instead of it going to trial is so he could try and dodge the media side of things."

It was a relief to her she wouldn't have to testify in court - even seeing him in court last week at a sentence indication hearing was difficult, although Te Awa wouldn't look at her.

Te Awa will be sentenced on June 29.

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