Teen paedophile jailed for 8 years

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 22/05/2014

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A teenager regularly sexually assaulted and attempted to rape both a 6-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl, the High Court in New Plymouth has heard.

Joel Evan McGrath, now 19, was on Monday sentenced to eight years in jail.

He must serve at least five years after earlier admitting 21 charges including unlawful sexual connection, attempted sexual violation and sexual conduct with a child under 12.

An attempt by the Crown for McGrath to be given preventive detention was declined by Justice Pankhurst.

The offending took place at houses in Taupo and New Plymouth from October 2011 after he was released from a residential programme at Te Poutama Arahi Rangitahi in Christchurch for high risk young people with harmful sexual behaviour.

All information relating to the victims' identities is permanently suppressed.

The Crown's summary of facts says the offending with the boy, when he was aged 6 and 7, occurred on regular occasions from November 2011 when the boy's caregiver was out of the house.

The victims would try to get away but would be held down by McGrath.

While the girl told police what had happened to her, the boy did not.

"An exact amount and scale of offending is unknown," the summary says.

McGrath, who had no previous convictions, was handed down his first strike warning.

Last night, Child Youth and Family regional director John Langley said when McGrath successfully completed treatment, a plan was developed for him to be safe around children.

"He was not in Child, Youth and Family care at the time of the offending as he had turned 17."

Child, Youth and Family worked with agencies and others to support his transition back into the community, he said.

"Tragically, the young man continued to offend, and our thoughts are with this family," Langley said.

On the Barnardos website, Te Poutama Arahi Rangatahi is described as a specialist residential treatment facility located in Christchurch, contracted to Barnardos by Child, Youth and Family and the Ministry of Education.

"The facility was built in 1999 and was established to provide residential treatment for young men aged between 12 and 17 years who have engaged in harmful sexual behaviour, and can no longer be safely treated within their own communities," the website says.

Treatment is provided to the young person within the facility "until such time as they are deemed ready and able to reintegrate back into the community safely.

"This can be anywhere from nine months to two years".

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- Taranaki Daily News

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