As a teenager Tevivi Daniel wowed audiences and claimed accolades for his speech-making abilities.
But on Sundays the Hastings teen would take a young boy into the church toilets and sexually violate him.
The now 23-year-old wore a suit jacket and tie when he appeared for sentence in the Hastings District Court this morning. Daniel was sentenced to eight months' home detention for sexually violating and indecently assaulting a boy under 12 between May 2004 and March 2007.
The Crown summary stated that Daniel was just 14 when he first sexually violated the 6-year-old while attending the Hastings Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Most weeks Daniel would take the boy into the toilets to touch him or perform sexual acts on him. This went on for almost three years.
In 2007 Daniel took part in a STOP programme to try and stop him from acting on his desires. He kept offending, although it was less often.
Daniel spent six weeks in the United States and Canada that year after he won the New Zealand Lions Young Speechmaker Contest.
Daniel stopped offending against the boy, who confided in teachers in 2008.
He admitted to his behaviour and said he had too had been a victim of sexual offending.
In court, Judge Geoff Rea said five years on from the offending it was likely he was sentencing an ''entirely different'' person than the one who committed the crime.
''At the time you posed a risk to young people, I'm relatively content that is no longer the case.''
Judge Rea said Daniel was now ''well-engaged in the community'' and prepared to assist others.
He warned Daniel that if he took advantage of the home detention sentence he would face a jail sentence.
''Your future is in your hands,'' Judge Rea said.
Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar said he was ‘‘appalled’’ by Daniel’s light sentence, which was an insult to the victim.
Mr McVicar said the sentence did not act as a deterrent to further offending and could encourage ‘‘copycat’’ offending.
He said a minimum non-parole prison sentence of 18 months would have been appropriate and ‘‘would have sent the right message to the community.’’
- © Fairfax NZ News
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