Victim 'sickened' as paedophile principal appeals conviction

Former principal and convicted child sex offender Bruce Darroch
Benn Bathgate

Former principal and convicted child sex offender Bruce Darroch

Former school principal and convicted child sex offender Bruce Darroch is to appeal his two-and-a-half year prison sentence, a move that has "sickened" the mother of one of his victims. 

His appeal is scheduled for October 18 this year. 

The mother - who cannot be named to protect the identity of her child - said news of the appeal had left her child "distraught".

"Darroch is still in denial of his guilt which shows how dangerous he actually is," she said. 

Principal, paedophile, prisoner: Bruce Darroch sentenced
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Ex Waikato school head in court on child exploitation charges​

Darroch, the former principal of Te Waotu School in Putaruru, received the prison sentence on June 24 this year after being found guilty in March of possession of objectionable material, making an objectionable publication and failing to assist a police search.

The failure to assist charges related to a number of electronic devices and Darroch's refusal to provide passwords to allow Police access to the stored data.

He also possessed a number of objectionable photographs and videos and had supplied photos of children at his school to paedophiles online.

While the school photos were not classed as objectionable in themselves, they were accompanied by stories Darroch had written.

At sentencing Judge Tony Snell rejected Darroch's claims the school photos had been shared as part of work on a school website.

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"[The stories contained] sexual abuse, including bondage and punishment which you would like to do given the opportunity. . . disturbingly, a number of these images were of pupils at your school," he said.

"It talks about rape and the detention of children, accompanied by photos of children, real children from your school".

Snell also referred to a number of objectionable images found in Darroch's possession: "naked children, mostly male, often exposing their genitalia".

One image, too graphic to describe, Snell called "clearly a sadistic photograph".

He was found not guilty of two charges of supplying objectionable material. 

"We find it distressing and it adds further trauma to that which we have already endured as a result of his offending," said the mother.

"We are hoping he isn't granted an appeal and are sickened that he has put in an appeal application".

At his sentencing Crown prosecutor Amanda Gordon described Darroch's offending as calculated and premeditated, referring to a letter he wrote to the court where he admitted "I went to dark places".

Darroch's lawyer Russell Fairbrother QC told the court at Darroch's sentencing that he felt remorse for his offending and had sought mental health treatment, claims rejected by Snell.

"I decline to give you credit for remorse," he said.

"You have fought this all the way, failed to give passwords. Your remorse is for the predicament you find yourself in".

Darroch's downfall came in the wake of an arrest in the United States in 2014 after an operation US law authorities described as one of the largest online child exploitation investigations in history. 

The key arrest that led New Zealand police to Darroch's door happened in Arizona on January 24, 2014 when US authorities apprehended Vittorio Francesco Gonzalez-Castillo, one of the administrators of the underground website Darroch used to share photos and stories.

Gonzalez-Castillo is now serving a 30-year prison sentence in the US for offending the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) described as "large scale trading and distribution of graphic and sadistic child pornography".

It was his arrest, and his cooperation with US authorities in providing passwords to his computer, that prompted a police search of Darroch's home on August 26, 2014.





 - Stuff

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