'Stepfather figure' jailed for sex offences

A 60-year-old Nelson man who raped a 15-year-old girl who viewed him as stepfather figure has been jailed for 12 years.

The man, who has name suppression, was sentenced in the High Court in Nelson yesterday.

Justice Simon France ruled the man should serve a minimum of six years of the 12-year sentence. He said the man was at high risk of re-offending and had limited insight into the seriousness of his offending as he wrongly believed the sex between the two of them was consensual.

The complainant had been a friend of the man's family for years.

She moved in with the family last year when she was 15 and looked upon the family as her second family.

Justice France said the man was found guilty at trial in November of a number of charges of sexual offending against a girl aged 15-16.

The charges included two charges of rape, four charges of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection.

He pleaded guilty to supplying cannabis to the girl at the start of the trial.

Justice France said the first occasion of rape happened when the girl was 15.

The man supplied her with cannabis and alcohol and raped her when she was passed out and "effectively stupefied".

The next morning she woke up feeling sore and had some bleeding.

The man told her they had sex, Justice France said an obvious inference he took from the man telling the girl was that he was grooming her for further sex.

The man raped the girl a further five to six times and sexually assaulted her.

The way the man gave evidence at the trial, including the gratuitous way he took the opportunity to explain sexual matters, left Justice France in no doubt that the placed in a similar situation with another teenager the man would be at significant risk of re-offending.

He said even accepting the man's version that the events were consensual he could not see how unacceptable his behaviour was.

Justice France said he had no doubt the man used his position to put pressure on the girl and threatened her with consequences to her family if she revealed what had happened.

He said the man confused the girl and isolated her from the woman she considered her mother figure.

"Your conduct was disgraceful."

The man's offending was only revealed when the girl harmed herself when she found out the man was not moving out of the home as had been planned.

Justice France said the victim impact statement showed the girl was hurt and confused by what had happened and had lost confidence.

She would feel the effects of the offending for a long time, possibly forever.

Lawyer John Sandston argued the man had an evolving understanding of what he had done and had wanted to read the victim impact statement.

He realised what he had done had affected her.

Justice France acknowledged what Mr Sandston said about the man starting to understand the effect of his actions, but he believed the man was an on-going risk of offending.

He had taken advantage of the girl's age and vulnerability and it was a gross breach of trust as the girl was in his family's care.

In sentencing he took into account the man's poor health and lack of recent criminal offending.

The Nelson Mail