Rapist 'a revolting human'

OFF TO JAIL: Lewis E Scott at his shop Kwanzaa when he sold it last year. At the time he was already facing a charge  of rape.
OFF TO JAIL: Lewis E Scott at his shop Kwanzaa when he sold it last year. At the time he was already facing a charge of rape.

A Wellington poet who locked a woman in his shop and raped her has been jailed, with his victim describing him as a "revolting human being".

Internationally published poet and former Kwanzaa shopowner Lewis E Scott, 66, was sentenced to four years in prison on Thursday for the rape on December 8, 2012.

His victim, who was at the time living in Wellington as a consultant, has since moved back home to Australia, but returned this week to see her attacker jailed.

"He is a predatorial, greedy, selfish, revolting human being. I want people to know what he is like. I want women to know that something like this has happened and to know that someone can stand up, and that they have a right to stand up," she told The Dominion Post yesterday.

She said the experience had forced her to abandon her career and it took strength to return to Wellington.

"I used to walk around what I thought was the most beautiful city in the world. Now I walk around this city and I feel like people can see that I'm somehow dirty or graffitied."

That day, she had walked into Kwanzaa, in Manners St, to browse, she said.

Scott, a stranger, sold her two of his poetry works and engaged her in conversation.

She went to get coffee and returned to continue the discussion. He then led her to the back of the shop, locked the door and raped her.

She immediately reported him to police, who interviewed him that same day. "I remember walking out of that shop, trying to find some sense, thinking this man has done this before. It was just so organised and calculated."

Police arrested and charged Scott with rape in February last year.

Scott said the sex was consensual and the case went to trial.

In June last year, he told The Dominion Post he was closing Kwanzaa due to the tough economic climate and his desire to pursue a fulltime poetry career.

American-born, he specialised in jazz poetry, and his prose was noted for giving voice to oppressed communities.

A Wellington District Court jury convicted Scott of rape and two counts of violation by unlawful sexual connection. Judge Chris Tuohy sentenced him to four years' jail, after a one-third sentence reduction because he has cancer.

His victim left court in disgust as Scott's supporters sought permission to recite a karakia. "Why did people sing a bloody prayer for him? He's been charged with three serious crimes."

Wellington CIB head Detective Senior Sergeant John van den Heuvel said he did not wish to criticise the court for allowing the prayer but he empathised with the victim. "There was no-one there saying a karakia for her. There was no-one praying over her on the day when he locked his shop doors, took her out the back and raped her in a darkened room."


Do you or someone you know need help? Survivors of sexual assault are urged to contact police and seek support services' advice. Call Rape Crisis on 04 801 8970, the Wellington Sexual Abuse Help Foundation on 04 499 7532 or Shakti, for migrant women, on 0800SHAKTI. Young people can also seek advice from Youthline on 0800 376633 or via Free TXT to 234. 

The Dominion Post