School worker jailed for sex attack
The parents of a girl who was indecently assaulted by a friend have told a court they feel they had failed their child.
Andrew Lever, 46, appeared at the Auckland District Court this afternoon where he was sentenced to 17 months in jail. In July, he admitted three charges of indecent assault on a child under the age of 12.
The court was told Lever abused the child five times between April 2011 and January 2013 on three separate occasions, while Lever and the child's parents were socialising.
The families would often stay at each other's houses rather than wake the children up.
In a victim impact statement read to the court today, the girl's father said the offending only came to light when a friend of his daughter "took the courage" to tell his wife.
"Our lives have been changed forever," he said.
"Our job is to protect our children from harm and we now feel we have failed ... her innocence has been taken away."
The father added that he and his wife felt "overwhelming guilt" over what had happened to their daughter.
The child was now "emotional, clingy and anxious" when she was not around her parents.
On all occasions, Lever would enter the bedroom where the child slept, masturbate and then ejaculate in her face, the court was told. He would be gone only long enough so that it would seem he was in the bathroom.
On all occasions, Lever had been drinking, taken drugs and was also on anti-depressants.
In sentencing, Judge Emma Aitken said Lever had abused the trust of his friends.
"This was very intrusive offending, which in my view, escalated over time," she said.
Judge Aitken ordered Lever to undergo counselling, drug and alcohol treatment and not associate with children under the age of 16 after his release.
Lever, who previously worked at an Auckland school, quit his job after he was arrested.
The name of the school and his occupation there is permanently suppressed.
The principal of the school said the incident happened in a social setting and children at the school were not affected.
She said there was a "huge" vetting process before people were hired.
These include annual police vetting, a minimum of three references, photo ID checks and regular performance reviews and goal-setting appraisals.
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