Police say they cannot take action against a group of young men who target drunk girls for group sex then name and shame them online.
That's because no victims of the "Roast Busters" Facebook group have laid formal complaints, Detective Inspector Bruce Scott said.
"It's one thing to talk about it, but it's another thing to prove it in court. And our difficulty is, we can't prove it in court.
"People post [online] about all sorts of things, but we need evidence to actually prove it to the courts."
The victims are understood to be as young as 13 years old.
The group of Auckland men, believed to be aged 17 and 18, go by the name the Roast Busters as they set out for group sex with mainly intoxicated young women before naming and shaming their conquests online.
"A true roast is where you know you are going there intentionally to roast this female," one young man said in a video posted online. "We don't choose a roast, the roast chooses us. We have girls hitting us up to 'hang out with us'. They know what we're like; they know what they're in for."
The group started a Facebook group five months ago and have been calling for other men to join them, 3 News reported. "We take what we do seriously, some of you think this is a joke, it's not," said one of the men in an online video.
"You try and get with the amount of girls we do. This is hard, it's a job, we don't do this s*** for pleasure."
One underage girl who spoke with 3 News said she was a victim of the Roast Busters.
"I just kept blacking out 'cause I had drunken too much," she said. "You could say I got raped. I had sex with three guys at one time."
Police have been aware of the group since 2011 but don't have enough evidence to take action.
"We've spoken to a number of young ladies, but they haven't made a formal complaint to us, they've given us some information, but it's not sufficient to lay charges."
"We are hopeful that they will be brave enough, strong enough, to [lay a complaint], but to date none of them have."
In murder cases, police could lay charges when they didn't have a complainant but had other evidence, Scott said.
"But in a sexual case like this, no we can't."
Charges could only be laid if one of the victims laid a complaint, or "someone else witnessed it", Scott said.
"We're gravely concerned. It would appear these guys are getting girls intoxicated and taking advantage of them," Scott told Radio New Zealand this morning.
"If the facts as we have been told are correct then sexual violation and rape have occurred."
The Facebook page has since been taken down.
Police have spoken with a number of the men and many have stopped associating with the group, but some have persisted, Scott said.
There are less than 10 members in total.
Scott said it's not known if the group is part of a wider trend. "I don't know where they picked up the idea from but we're gravely concerned."
He encouraged victims to be brave and come forward, saying there is the option of giving evidence via video link to prevent victims from being in the same courtroom as the accused.
Ultimately though, victims' names will be made known to the men as they have the right to know who is accusing them, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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