Turangi child rapist's mum admits failure
MIKE WATSON AND CLIO FRANCIS
Raurangi Marino's mother admits she failed her son and is responsible for a crime so horrific it sent shockwaves around the world.
"I didn't safeguard my children, and I didn't apply myself to looking after them," Lavinia Wall said yesterday.
Marino, 16, crept into a 5-year-old girl's Turangi holiday park caravan and viciously raped the girl four days before Christmas after bingeing on booze and cannabis.
The child suffered serious internal injuries and lost four teeth.
He was jailed yesterday in Rotorua District Court for 10 years for an attack which Judge Phillip Cooper said had inflicted significant emotional and physical harm on both the girl and her parents, who were visiting from Europe.
However, he noted Marino's violent upbringing punctuated with beatings and sexual abuse, and that his parents had been involved in rival gangs.
"You are solely responsible for your actions, but your whanau and external whanau are responsible for your upbringing ... of a young man who has committed a shocking crime."
Ms Wall, a former Black Power associate, said her son endured regular beatings at home.
"I wanted it to stop but I couldn't because I was a hard-out alcoholic and it was the family versus me."
She described Marino as a "good boy, a little naughty. He was just brought up too quick, too young, he got into drugs and alcohol too early. I take a lot of responsibility of what happened, and for his upbringing."
The family was angry at her, she said.
"They call me a bad mother and [say] I have brought up horrible children. I'm deeply sorry for the little girl's family, she will go through trauma for the rest of her life."
Marino's father, Mark Marino – a Taupo Mongrel Mob member – said he feared for his son's safety in prison.
Having served time himself, he knew of prisoners with similar convictions who "just disappeared" in jail.
"The sad thing is that everyone wants him to be chucked in with the lions. From my experience not all like him come out. I'm not able to help him now; he will be on his own for a while."
Mr Marino said he had written to the girl's family and apologised for his son's actions.
He agreed that his son's upbringing had been fraught.
"We all try to be good parents but we can't always be there with our children if they want to go off on their own."
Senior police officers who investigated the attack said it was the worst they had seen in 28 years.
The court was told how Marino was high on alcohol and drugs after drinking 20 to 30 bottles of beer, and RTDs, as well as smoking cannabis at a work function and party.
He stumbled to the Club Habitat holiday park and entered the unlocked caravan, intending to steal.
After raping the girl, he fled when he was discovered by her mother. He later biked to his house shirtless after throwing away his bloodstained T-shirt – "wishing he was dead, and the whole world would want him dead too", according to the summary of facts.
Immersed in a life of gang culture, Marino grew up wanting to emulate his father and join a gang, the court was told.
His childhood was bereft of role models or strong parenting, and marked by excessive violence between his parents, and from his father.
His parents separated when he was 13 and he did not see his mother for three years.
He was badly burned as a child when his siblings ran a hot bath for him, because his mother was drunk.
The injuries to his hands required extensive skin grafts.
A family member sexually assaulted him when he was 9 and again when he was 15, the court heard.
Marino left Tongariro School last May. A month before he attacked the young girl, he attempted suicide after breaking up with his girlfriend.
A pre-sentencing report said he could remember nothing of the attack because of his intoxication levels.
He will serve his sentence in the youth section of an adult prison until he turns 17. He is eligible for parole after serving a third of the sentence but has said he will not apply until he had served five years.
The girl's parents watched yesterday's sentencing from their home in Europe via a video link-up. In a statement, they said they were "relieved a part of this nightmare is finished – even if it is still just a part We would like to thank the court, the police and the people of New Zealand."
The judge said the attack was "every parent's worst nightmare". It included a high level of violence and an element of home invasion. The girl's young age had increased her vulnerability.
Crown prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch said Marino had brought "deep sense of shame to himself, to Turangi and to the country. The community was bewildered by a crime of such severity committed on a victim so young by someone 16 years old."
The girl was vulnerable, powerless and unable to protect herself, he said. She had been unable to sleep properly since.
Taupo Mayor Rick Cooper described the attack as despicable. "It is time society drew a line in the sand and nipped this sort of dysfunctional behaviour in the bud."
Canterbury University sociology professor and criminologist Greg Newbold said children who got into this sort of trouble come from the worst families.
"You don't get many happy, stable families who produce kids who do things like this."
Inside the caravan, Raurangi Marino locked the door and grabbed the girl around the neck as she tried to flee.
He began to choke her in an attempt to stop her screams; he did so with such force that she passed out. Then he began to beat her about the face and body with his fists and elbows while sexually assaulting her.
The attack on the girl left her with four teeth knocked out and serious internal injuries.
Both her eyes were swollen shut and she had cuts and bruising to her face.
She was rushed to Waikato Hospital in a life-threatened condition and underwent surgery for 4½ hours.
- The Dominion Post