Adviser groomed boys for sex

SAM BOYER
Last updated 13:39 05/07/2013
Celeste Mihaere Kirby
Celeste Mihaere Kirby

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A cultural adviser who travelled the country assisting schools and students has been sentenced to charges of grooming teenage boys for sex.

Celeste Mihaere Kirby, 30, who was employed as a cultural adviser in the education sector, was today sentenced in Wellington District Court to 11 months home detention for two charges of sexual grooming and one charge of sexual connection with a 15-year-old boy.

His offending took place with students at high schools in the Bay of Plenty and Taranaki, one of whom Kirby had earlier befriended on Facebook.

In the two cases of sexual grooming, Kirby approached two boys, aged 13 and 15, meeting them in person and making sexual advances. In one case the approach took place on school grounds.

Judge Denys Barry noted Kirby occupied a position of trust in his role. But his offending had ruined his career, the judge said. 

''You were employed as a cultural adviser by an educational authority. You would travel the country working with young people and their families.

''[But] the three charges have wrecked your career and your prospects.''

On February 27, Kirby approached a 13-year-old at his boarding school, offered the boy a fictitious job and provided his contact details. 

He met up with the teenage border that evening and offered to take him for a milkshake, but the student did not want to leave school grounds.

Kirby told the boy he owned a night club, and asked if the boy wanted to work there and ''hook up''. The boy understood the offer to amount to prostitution.

Via text messages that night, Kirby asked the boy what work he wanted, ''and what sort of money he wanted to earn'', Judge Barry told the court.

After the initial contact, Kirby dropped his approach towards the 13-year-old.

In late March, he made similar approaches to a 15-year-old he met just outside another high school, the judge said: ''You asked him if he wanted a job [and] told him he could make $200 that day.''

The following day Kirby visited the boy's home and met his grandmother, under the premise of having a job offer for the 15-year-old: ''You then spun a line about starting a factory in town and wanting boys to work for you. You were permitted to take him away in your car for an interview and then told him about a club where people would hook up with girls for money ... or do 'both'.

''The victim assumed 'both' meant boys and girls. This boy has refused outright to engage and you've dropped him back home.''

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A week later, Kirby met with a boy he had already befriended on Facebook and ''discussed sexual activity for money'', before driving him to ''a quiet spot'' where he performed a sex act on the boy.

The 30-year-old was granted dispensations for his guilty pleas and early omissions of his offending to police. He was sentenced to home detention in southern Wairarapa.

- The Dominion Post

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