Victim frustrated as sex offender pleads guilty to lesser charge

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 12:00 02/07/2013

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The teenage victim of a sex offender wanted the man responsible to face trial, and claims she was given little say in the decision to downgrade his charge.

David Bruce Gore, 27, unemployed, of Foxton, was to begin a trial by jury yesterday on one count of unlawful sexual connection with a girl under 12.

But in the Palmerston North District Court, Crown prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk amended the charge for "evidential reasons" to one of sexual contact with a girl under 12, which Gore admitted.

The offending happened in Hawke's Bay in December 2005.

The victim, now a teenager, told the Manawatu Standard she wanted Gore's name to be made public so people were aware of what he had done.

The young woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was relieved that she did not have to give evidence in court, but would still have liked Gore to face the more serious unlawful sexual connection charge.

"I don't feel like I got a say in the matter," she said of the downgraded charge.

If she had been asked, she thought she would rather the trial had gone ahead on the sexual connection charge.

She lives elsewhere in the North Island and had been staying in a Palmerston North motel with her mother and grandmother since late last week while preparing to give evidence.

She would not have had to enter the courtroom - instead complainants in sexual cases can give evidence through a CCTV system - though she would still have had to relive her ordeal in front of strangers.

Gore's lawyer Simon Hewson raised the possibility of a restorative justice conference between Gore and the young woman, although she was not keen to meet him.

She was, however, thinking about attending his sentencing in August.

The offending had taken its toll, but the young woman hoped counselling and spending time on her hobbies would help her move on.

"I'm really shy now. I don't like being alone with men."

Physical contact could also make her jumpy.

For years the young woman kept quiet until a complaint was filed in May 2011.

Gore was arrested a year later.

The first person the young woman told was a male friend.

"He kept encouraging me to tell my family.

"I think [Gore's] the reason why they should bring in human neutering."

In court, Mr Hewson said Gore had a history of offending, but he had taken part in programmes such as one on anger management.

"He's . . . come from a quagmire of complete dysfunction to become a man who's now maturing in a significant way."

Gore was bailed until his sentencing.

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- Manawatu Standard

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