Expert appointed to head Roast Busters probe

Last updated 17:14 11/11/2013
Radio Live

Radio Live's afternoon talkback hosts, Willie Jackson and John Tamihere have stood down from the show till the end of the year.

malthus
Fairfax NZ
Karyn Malthus, seen at a press conference in 2007, will lead a multi-agency investigation team into the Roast Busters
Roast Busters
Hi5
ROAST BUSTERS: Two members of the group Joseph Parker, 18, and Beraiah Hales, 17.

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A child-protection specialist will head a special "multi-agency team" investigating the Roast Busters, the police say.

Detective Inspector Karyn Malthus will lead the multi-agency team, which will include representatives from other government agencies including Child Youth and Family, the Education Ministry, ACC and external counselling services to provide as much cross-agency support for victims as possible.

Also today:

  • RadioLive hosts Willie Jackson and John Tamihere have stood down until the end of the year after an interview that many saw as victim-blaming. The pair said they "deeply regret" their comments.
  • A third RadioLive host, Andrew Fagan, apologised for an interview with a caller named Elle in in which he asked if the sex was "consensual" and if she "fancied" her attacker.
  • ANZ said it be "happy to discuss resuming advertising with RadioLive" after the announcement that Willie and JT would be off the air. 

Police said that Malthus will work with the Waitemata Child Protection team, which will also be supplemented by specialist police from the Counties Manukau and Auckland City districts.

The so-called Roast Busters are a group of West Auckland youths, understood to be aged 17 and 18, who allegedly had group sex with drunk teenage girls and bragged about it online.

It was revealed four girls had come forward over incidents involving the group between 2011 and 2012.

Of the four, aged between 13 and 15, one girl had gone through the process of making her complaint formal via an evidential video interview but no charges were laid.

Malthus, the Auckland District Crime Manager brings significant investigative experience, including investigation of child sexual abuse. Detective Inspector Malthus is the former Northland Crime Manager and has also previously served in Counties Manukau and Waikato Districts.

Detective Superintendent Andy Lovelock will retain overall oversight of the investigation.

The Police investigation is known as Operation Clover and will be referred to by this name from now on.

FAGAN SORRY

Also today, Fagan explained in a statement that the interview with Elle followed an argument about the Roast Busters with his wife, Karyn Hay - who is also his co-host - about victim blaming.

The pair had argued in the car on the way to work, and Hay eventually made Fagan get out and walk. He arrived at the studio just one minute before the show.

"When Elle called I was still so wrapped up in what had occurred I was simply not listening and I did not hear what she said," Fagan said.

"I realise, listening back, that my challenging of her in that context was obnoxious and hurtful.

"When Elle asked me, 'Did you not hear what I just said?' the answer should have been 'No, I didn't'," Fagan said.

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"Whether it was 'consensual' or she 'fancied him' was completely irrelevant given I did not have it in context, i.e. she was phoning us to say she had been raped at 14 and she had only ever had a sip of one shandy before that, and he gave her a [750 millilitre] bottle of beer. Major points I just happened to miss."

Fagan said that having been in an argument was "no excuse", but was the truth of what happened.

He apologised and said he now understood what "victim-blaming" meant.

A ROUGH TIME

Earlier, Tamihere and Jackson said it had been a tough time and they regretted the impact on both their families and staff at RadioLive.

The outcry had led to a a swathe of companies pulling their advertising from either the show or the RadioLive station.

The hosts and their Willie and JT show, came under fire after a girl called Amy rang them to talk about the Roast Busters - a group of Auckland youths, understood to be aged 17 and 18, who allegedly had group sex with drunk teenage girls and bragged about it online.

The hosts asked the teen about her drinking and partying, and at what age she lost her virginity.

Questions also included:

"Well, you know when you were going to parties, were you forced to drink?"

"Don't youse [sic] know what these guys are up to?"

"Yeah but girls shouldn't be drinking anyway, should they?"

Following the show a number of high-profile companies pulled advertising from the show, including Telecom, Vodafone, Countdown, Briscoes, the Mad Butcher and AA Insurance.

ANZ this afternoon said it was "happy to discuss resuming advertising with RadioLive" after the announcement that the hosts would be off the air.

Jackson and Tamihere had earlier apologised and did so again today.

"We do not condone rape in any way and did not intend to blame the victims. Rape is a terrible crime and the victims who come forward deserve support and respect," they said.

"We deeply regret the comments we made last week and the upset they caused so many people.

"We also want to apologise to the clients of RadioLive who've had to deal with negative feedback to their businesses because they advertise in our show.

"Closer to home, we regret the impact this has had on our wives, children, grandchildren and communities.

"We also apologise to the staff at RadioLive and throughout the MediaWorks whanau who have had to deal with the fallout."

MediaWorks Radio Chief Executive Belinda Mulgrew said in a statement that after discussions with Jackson and Tamihere, "it has been agreed that Willie and John will be off air for the rest of 2013".

Wellington Rape Crisis agency manager Natalie Gousmett said the decision was "great news", but it was disappointing it had taken this long.

She said she hoped Jackson and Tamihere had made the decision to go off air themselves.

"If they have stood down themselves, then I think that shows they've realised the offensive nature of the comments they made, and there's no place for views like that in our media," she said.

A spokesperson for the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) said they had received about 10 calls from people asking what the process was for complaining or wanting to comment on the Willie and JT show.

Complaints needed to be lodged with MediaWorks within 20 working days of the broadcast before they could be referred to the BSA.

- Stuff

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