Churchgoer jailed for indecent assault

VICTORIA ROBINSON
Last updated 16:52 13/07/2012

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A senior member of an Auckland Presbyterian church was today sentenced to one year and eight months' imprisonment for indecently assaulting a young girl.

Leslie Gubb, 74, was sentenced by Judge Charles Blackie in the Manukau District Court for nine counts of indecently assaulting a girl over the course of six years, beginning in 2002 when she was six-years-old.

Judge Blackie said the offending was aggravated because Gubb was a senior member of the local church, which he had been involved in for 13 years.

The victim's family also belonged to the church, and they had considerable trust in Gubb - even letting him babysit their daughter.

Judge Blackie said Gubb developed a "system" of abuse.

He said Gubb would take the girl on his lap and, under the pretence of playing games, would place his hands inside her underwear and stroke her bottom.

"This didn't happen once or twice, it happened on numerous occasions over those six years."

Judge Blackie said the girl couldn't escape from Gubb's grasp.

"She therefore was extremely vulnerable, particularly as she would have regarded you as a figure she could trust and that she could feel safe with you. That trust was grossly abused."

An emotional victim impact statement written by the girl, who is now 17-years-old, was read to the court.

She described her issues with alcohol and drugs which had developed because of Gubb's offending.

The girl had tried to take her own life twice because of the pain from the abuse.

She said she often could not sleep for days on end, and suffered nightmares.

"Mostly I'm afraid the offender will come in, in the middle of the night so I do not sleep."

The girl said she had initially been angry at her parents because of the abuse, and it had affected her relationships with men.

"Sometimes I even find it hard to trust my own brothers-in-law and my foster father."

She said she had dreamed of getting married and having children, but it was possible she now never could.

"Even if I did have a relationship with a guy there will probably be a lot of difficulties because trust is an important thing in a relationship and maybe something I could never do."

The girl had aspirations of becoming a primary school teacher, but a clinical psychologist who assessed her said it could take years for her to achieve that goal because she did not believe in herself or trust anyone else.

Judge Blackie gave Gubb credit for an early guilty plea, and for $5000 reparations he offered to pay the victim's family.

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