A 60-year-old Nelson man who raped a 15-year-old girl who viewed him as a stepfather figure has been jailed for 12 years.
The man, who has name suppression, was sentenced in the High Court at Nelson yesterday.
Justice Simon France ruled that the man should serve a minimum of six years of the 12-year sentence. He said the man had a high risk of reoffending and had limited insight into the seriousness of his offending, as he wrongly believed the sex 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 a trial in November of several charges of sexual offending against a girl aged 15-16. The charges included two of rape and four of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. At the start of the trial, he pleaded guilty to supplying cannabis to the girl.
Justice France said the first 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 her this was that he was grooming her for further sex.
The man raped the girl a further five or six times, and also sexually assaulted her.
Justice France said the way the man gave evidence at the trial, including the gratuitous way he explained sexual matters, left him in no doubt that if placed in a similar situation with another teenager, the man had a significant risk of reoffending. 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 that 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 offending was revealed when the girl harmed herself after learning that the man was not moving out of the home, as had been planned.
Justice France said a victim impact statement showed that 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.
Defence lawyer John Sandston said the man had an evolving understanding of what he had done, and had wanted to read the victim impact statement.
Justice France acknowledged what Mr Sandston said about the man starting to understand the effects of his actions, but said he believed the man had an ongoing risk of offending.
He said the man 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 prior criminal offending.
- The Nelson Mail
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