Exclusive Brethren member jailed for rape

Jailed: William McLean was sent to prison for rape.
FAIRFAX NZ
Jailed: William McLean was sent to prison for rape.

A woman who was raped over an 11-year period by a member of the Exclusive Brethren church feels "bought out'' by him, after he agreed to sell his house to pay her reparation.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also thinks the three-year jail-term handed to William David McLean, 44, of Levin, is too light.

In the Palmerston North District Court yesterday, McLean was sentenced on two representative charges of rape covering the period 1988 and 1999, and was ordered to pay $20,000 reparation.

At the time McLean and his victim were both part of the Exclusive Brethren church.

The victim told the Manawatu Standard she decided to leave the church, which she labelled a "sect'', in 1999.

But it was move that was right for her and gave her the courage to finally be interviewed by police late last year.

"There's a saying in their church, they say 'the church would set you free','' she said.

"I'll never ever go back.'' The victim was disgusted the church stood by McLean and had not apologised for his actions.

The court heard how McLean had acknowledged being "sexually mean'' to the victim.

McLean's lawyer Grant Illingworth said McLean was of good character, and apart for the 11 years of offending, had led a "blameless life''.

When he was charged earlier this year, McLean immediately admitted his offending.

"Every signpost points towards the fact that McLean has already learned the hardest lesson he has learnt in his life and he will certainly never darken the doorway of a courtroom again,'' Mr Illingworth said.

"He knows he's brought shame, not only on himself, but also upon his children, his friends, his work colleagues and his church.

"He has a strong sense of having let the team down.''

Crown prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk suggested an eight to 10-year starting point for McLean's prison sentence, but Judge Barbara Morris went with Mr Illingworth's seven-year suggestion.

She then made allowances for time already spent in custody, reparation, good character, remorse and an early guilty plea.

"You've indicated you pleaded guilty because you wished to spare your [victim] the ordeal of a court case,'' the judge said.

"But for a monumental fall from grace during this period, you otherwise can rely on [your] good character.''

Manawatu Standard