Historical sex abuse 'devastated' lives of two victims
Two men carried the torment of their childhood sexual abuse for decades, leaving them depressed, suicidal and wanting to escape.
As boys aged between 4 and 8-years-old they were the victims of Larry James Pearson, who indecently assaulted them between January 1, 1977 to December 31, 1983.
The New Plymouth District Court heard how the abuse, which involved Pearson touching the boys and getting them to touch him, had destroyed their lives.
Both had suffered depression and anxiety and had tried to commit suicide in the past. One of the men had left New Zealand to leave the memories behind, while the other escaped his reality through drug and alcohol abuse.
In May, a jury took little more than an hour to find Pearson guilty of five charges of indecent assault of a boy under the age of 12.
At his sentencing on Tuesday, prosecutor Georgia Milne sought a starting point of four years' jail and outlined how badly the victims had been affected by what happened. One of the victims was in court for the hearing.
Milne said the aggravating factors of the offending included the young age of the victims and its scale, in that it took place over a four year period.
She highlighted Pearson's previous convictions for the indecent assault of two young girls, which resulted in a 12 month jail term in 1991.
Milne argued the indecent assaults of the two boys had been premeditated by Pearson, who was aged between 26-33 years at the time of the crimes.
"The offending was predatory in nature," she said.
In her submissions, defence lawyer Susan Hughes QC said the 66-year-old Pearson had found it "excruciatingly difficult" to acknowledge the abuse had taken place, which had only been a recent concession.
She said Pearson was a very different person to who he had been 40 years ago - a man who "wasn't a nice person".
"The person he is now would not behave like this," she said.
Hughes accepted the extent of harm the offending had on the victims and their vulnerability at the time of the abuse but said there was no evidence of the assaults being planned.
Hughes sought an end sentence of 18 months imprisonment, which she asked to be transferred into a term of home detention, but she did not oppose Pearson's name being added to the child sex offender register, which was sought by the Crown.
Barkle said up until the sentencing hearing, Pearson had shown no remorse for what he had done but this position had "mellowed".
"You seemed to have accepted the reality of the verdict of the jury," the judge said.
After taking into account Pearson's ill health and the need to impose the least restrictive sentence, Barkle calculated an end sentence of one year and 10 months jail.
This was converted by Barkle into a final sentence of 11 months home detention, which Pearson will serve at a Palmerston North address.
The defendant's name was added to the child sex offender register.