Man gets jail for years of abuse of boy

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2013

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A Manaia man used a young boy as a sex toy for more than seven years, luring him to his room with truck magazines, the New Plymouth District Court heard.

Kerry Shane Whakarongatai Taha, 51, was yesterday sentenced to 28 months' jail after earlier pleading guilty to representative charges of indecent assault and sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection.

The historical offending in the 1980s started when the boy was aged 8, and continued nearly every day.

Tahu initially lured the boy to his bach on the pretence of looking at truck magazines.

It stopped for a short time when his family shifted out of town but continued again when they returned.

It finally ended when the boy turned 15, got a job and left town.

Sometimes he would give the boy money or buy him things after performing sexual acts on him.

Other times he would threaten him, tell him if he told anyone he would kill him, his father and mother and anyone else he told, the Crown summary says.

As a result, the victim struggled with psychological issues throughout his life.

Taha's defence lawyer Rajan Rai asked for credit for his client's otherwise blameless life and urged a sentence of home detention.

Judge Allan Roberts gave credit to Taha who met face to face with his victim in a restorative justice conference - something the judge said he had never before heard of.

In an email to the court, Taha's victim said he was truly grateful he met with him and did so willingly, talking honestly and genuinely. It was a healing process for him and his mother.

"He doesn't want you to go to jail," the judge said.

At the meeting, Taha gave an unmitigated apology and acknowledged his wrong-doing, the judge said. The process also gave his whanau some closure.

Taha was seen as a good and valued employee, the judge noted.

Aggravating factors were the extended period of time over which the offending occurred, the vulnerability of the boy and the breach of trust.

"You were obviously experiencing difficulties with your sexual orientation."

The impact on his victim must have been plain and apparent at the conference but the victim contended he was now better equipped to move on.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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