Caregiver jailed for child abuse
A Northland Child Youth and Family caregiver has been sentenced to 14 and a half years in prison for the physical and sexual abuse of children.
Taite Kupa, 57, was found guilty of 21 charges of rape, sexual violation and assault last month in the Whangarei High Court.
He was convicted of three counts of rape, one of attempted rape, six charges of unlawful sexual violation by sexual connection, and one sexual violation. He was convicted of ten charges of assault.
The assaults were against six different children in his care all aged under 15, and the rape and sexual assault were against two girls under 15.
During the trial one victim told of Kupa doing "sexual things" to her and him telling her never to tell anyone.
One night when she was half asleep Kupa entered her bedroom and raped her, she said in the interview.
"He told us not to tell anyone. It stressed me out, I didn't know what to do," she said.
Kupa would kick the children in the bottom, pinch their ears and stand them against a wall forcing the other children to hit them, as discipline the court heard.
When one child misbehaved at night he sprayed her and her bed with a hose.
He would discipline children by withholding food, feeding them grass sandwiches and serving them plates of stones.
In her video interview the second girl said she had been hit lightly with a broom by Kupa.
"He said I wasn't allowed to tell anyone what happened here and I've been keeping that promise ever since.
"This is the first time I have told anyone," she said in the interview from February 2013.