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NZ: Sex abuse became 'normal' for girls (Manawatu-Wanganui)

Publish Date: 04 May 2011
Source: Manawatu Standard
By: Jimmy Bellingham

New Zealand Courts

For raping and indecently assaulting two foster daughters placed into his care by the state decades ago, a Palmerston North man has been sentenced to 10 years' prison.

The 69-year-old, who the Manawatu Standard can not name to protect the identity of his victims, was earlier this year found guilty on three charges of rape, two of indecent assault on a girl under 12, and two of indecent assault of a girl aged between 12 and 16.

The abuse happened between 1968 and 1977, when the girls were in the care of the man and his wife, who acted as foster parents.

All seven charges were representative, meaning they covered periods of offending, rather than specific incidents.

The man was acquitted by the jury on three other charges.

Since his trial, the man had refused to acknowledge what he did or express any remorse for his actions, according to a probation report cited by Judge Alastair Garland as he sentenced him at Palmerston North District Court yesterday.

Several times the man shook his head as the details of his offending were read by the judge.

The first victim was sent to live with the man in May 1968 when he lived at Ashhurst.

She was 9 years old.

From shortly after, until October 22, 1971, the man would take the girl to his bedroom when his wife was out and have sex.

"[The victim] said it became normal to have in everyday living," Judge Garland said.

The man also sexually violated the girl on numerous occasions.

The victim had said this occurred two or three times a week.

In 1973, the girl was sent to boarding school in Nelson.

When she returned home for the holidays, in August 1973 and between December 20, 1973, and January 16, 1974, the sexual abuse and rape continued.

A second victim and her sister were sent to live with the man and his family in 1974.

Between June 4 that year and December 16, 1977, when the victim was about 4 to 6 years of age, the man would rape and sexually abuse her.

When she was aged 4, the man began taking her into his bedroom and would indecently assault and rape her.

"You told her it was all a game," the judge said.

The judge took one year off the man's sentence, acknowledging defence lawyer Simon Hewson's pleas about the man's current poor health and his lack of convictions since 1983.

Crown prosecutor Matthew Davie said the serious nature of the offending warranted a prison sentence of about 12 years.

Copyright © 2011 Fairfax New Zealand Limited