A Taranaki woman has told the court her family forced her to withdraw a complaint against a man who treated her as a sexual plaything when she was very young.
Aged 24, the woman finally got her day in court giving evidence against Taranaki man Shane Allen, 67, now of Patea.
In the New Plymouth District Court yesterday Allen pleaded not guilty to the five charges of unlawful sexual connection and indecent assault when the complainant was aged between 4 and 11.
Allen's defence lawyer Patrick Mooney told the jury the nature of the allegations were obviously repugnant and disgusting but "that doesn't mean they happened".
Crown prosecutor Justin Marinovich, in opening the case, said Allen had used the complainant for his sexual gratification, systematically offending against her when she was aged between 4 and 11.
When she was 14 she told police of the offending but because of pressure from family she withdrew the complaints.
"Now she is 24 she is going to go into the witness box and going to tell you what the defendant did to her," he told the jury.
The woman described how Allen would come into her bedroom very early in the morning and molest her.
When she would wake up he would stop, leave her room and she would cry.
It began when she was 4 and continued for years, stopping when she was 10 or 11.
The complainant, giving evidence without screens, looked over at Allen telling him angrily to stop shaking his head.
"You know it's true."
In 2004, when she was 14, she was living with a woman she thought of as an aunt who asked her if she wanted to do anything about the abuse. She said yes and made a complaint to police.
But her older sister then told her to sign a letter saying it didn't happen. If she didn't the whole family would give her a hiding, her sister told her.
"I didn't feel like I had a choice. It was very intimidating."
Not long after she left the "aunty's" home and also stopped going to school.
Mooney accused the complainant of making up the abuse because of arguments over land issues going through the Maori Land Court .
"I didn't make them up. Why would I make that up," she replied.
She had returned to his house to live as an adult for a short time because she was "messed in the head".
"I tried to kill myself."
To Marinovich, the complainant said she told her mother the first time the abuse happened.
"She gave me a hug and said it would be all right and to get ready for dinner.
"I told her a few times, she didn't believe me so I gave up telling her."
The trial continues today.
- Taranaki Daily News