Sleazy cop's victims speak out

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 05:00 23/11/2013
Gordon Stanley Meyer
IAIN MCGREGOR/Fairfax NZ
IN THE DOCK: Gordon Meyer.

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Victims of sleazy ex-cop Gordon Stanley Meyer have spoken of feeling powerless to rebuff his advances.

The Press can also reveal a second police officer was subject to disciplinary proceedings for joining Meyer on one of his on-duty escapades to meet young women.

Meyer, 45, on Monday admitted in the High Court in Christchurch to offering to accept oral sex in return for letting off a 23-year-old woman for drink-driving.

The former senior constable pleaded guilty to bribery and corruption over the September 2011 incident.

Meyer also admitted indecently assaulting an 18-year-old by grabbing her breasts and placing her hand on his groin in a patrol car in April 2011.

Allegations relating to six other complainants resulted in charges that were later quashed or dropped.

Speaking to The Press this week, one of Meyer's alleged victims said she believed if she refused his requests, he would make her life hell. She said her best friend, who Meyer also targeted, felt the same way.

The women were 20 when they met Meyer. The encounter sparked about eight months of incessant calls and visits. One day he phoned eight times, she said.

At first, they felt Meyer was someone they could call on if they needed help. However, "slowly but surely" things became "creepy".

Court documents state on one occasion Meyer allegedly put her friend's hand on his genitals when they were beside a garage.

Her friend told police she was shocked and scared at the time, but "he was in his uniform", Justice Chisholm's pre-trial ruling states.

"We thought about calling it all off, telling him we didn't want to do it anymore. But ... we were just two girls against an officer.

"If it got nasty who would believe us over a senior constable?", the young woman told The Press.

Meyer's contact stopped about the time a 23-year-old laid a complaint about him in October 2012.

That woman's friend told The Press she too had felt powerless because of Meyer's position as a police officer.

Police yesterday confirmed a second officer was subject to an employment investigation over an incident involving Meyer.

According to a witness statement, at a call-out one day, some young women told Meyer they were going to a pub that night.

The officer and Meyer later went to the pub in a patrol car. The women parked on the roadside near the pub and Meyer, who was driving, pulled up behind.

He and the young women got out of the vehicles and talked for about 10 to 15 minutes.

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The second officer also spoke to the women but did not get out of the patrol car. The Press understands the second officer was cautioned over the incident, but kept his job.

The police spokesman said the inquiry into the second officer was "a disciplinary issue and not of a criminal nature".

"The details are an employment matter and will not be discussed further."

Meyer resigned from the police on Monday, marking the end of his suspension on full pay.

Police called Meyer's offending "disappointing, disturbing and disgusting".

Meyer will be sentenced on December 19.

PUBLIC CONFIDENCE IN POLICE STILL HIGH

It could not have come at a worse time.

When police were already receiving a public lashing over the Roast Busters scandal, a police officer admits he spent his time on duty roaming the streets of Christchurch, targeting young women for sexual exploits.

More than two years after a 23-year-old laid a complaint against Senior Constable Gordon Stanley Meyer for offering to accept oral sex to let her off drink-driving, he pleaded guilty on Monday to a charge of bribery and corruption in the High Court in Christchurch.

Meyer, 45, also admitted indecently assaulting an 18-year-old in a patrol car while giving her a lift between pubs.

In a troubling parallel to the Roast Busters inquiry, it emerged Meyer had been investigated for an indecency complaint four years earlier, but insufficient evidence was found to prosecute.

No monitoring programme was put in place. Meyer's own supervisors were not told about the 2007 complaint, with legal constraints blamed.

Police denied the earlier investigation was a "cock-up", as one officer put it. It was reviewed three times and the same conclusion was reached.

Both the Meyer and Roast Buster cases could put a dent in what had been an all-time high in public confidence in police.

Citizens' satisfaction survey results released in September this year found nearly 79 per cent of the nearly 10,000 respondents trusted police - up from 69 per cent in 2008/2009.

Police also ranked ninth on the 2013 Reader's Digest most trusted occupation list - ahead of teachers and chefs.

Police Minister Anne Tolley this week condemned Meyer's actions, saying he had abused the public trust in police.

Assistant Commissioner Grant Nicholls called Meyer's offending "disappointing, disturbing and disgusting and it simply won't be tolerated". However, he was comfortable the culture of police was still healthy.

Police Association president Greg O'Connor said cases such as Meyer were "absolutely devastating".

It was "a long bow" to put the Roast Busters and the Meyer inquiries in the same category, but he accepted it was bad timing.

"Often things come in a wave. We hope there's not anything else out there." He expected damage to public confidence would be short-term.

O'Connor said there could be lasting legacies, such as those of pack rapists Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum.

However, the public could still have faith in police.

"The actions of a few can affect us all, [but] I think most people do realise [Meyer] was a rogue, sole predatory operator. This doesn't smack of an institutional issue."

COP WAS 'JUST TRYING IT ON'

At first, Jane (not her real name) felt flattered by the attentions of a handsome older policeman in uniform.

It was December 2010 when Senior Constable Gordon Stanley Meyer started turning up at her house - each time wearing aviator glasses and police trousers that were too tight.

Jane and her best friend had met Meyer when he turned up "like Hercules" when they called police about a peeping tom.

They were both 20. Meyer was 42.

A few days later, he returned to offer them victim support. Then the phone calls and visits began.

It started with him asking how they were. If they did not pick up, he simply kept ringing.

Gradually the tone changed.

She alleges Meyer started asking what they were wearing.

Casual references about the young women's "chests" became requests to wear low-cut tops, or for them to take photos of their breasts to show him on their cellphones.

"It just got creepier and creepier," Jane told The Press.

They even had a nickname for him: ‘dodge cop'.

When Meyer asked to touch their breasts, they joked he would have to buy them cigarettes and a bottle of rum.

They did not expect he would follow through. He did - and expected them to fulfil their end of the bargain, she alleged.

Meyer was careful not to leave a footprint. He always rang from a blocked number and never sent text messages.

Meyer also instructed them to never phone him at the Christchurch South Police Station where he worked.

Jane said she initially felt Meyer was an ally - someone they had power over.

If he pulled her over while she was driving in breach of her learner's licence or with no warrant, he would not give her a ticket, she alleged.

If she was caught by someone else, she believed Meyer could arrange to get the fine dropped.

Jane said she did not want to let Meyer touch her, but did not know how to get out of the situation.

"We felt like, we're in this deep, someone's got to do it," she said.

"He was a cop . . . I thought he could get back at me if I told someone by giving me heaps of tickets."

In April 2011, Meyer offered the young women money for a trip to Australia - but for that, he wanted more.

He offered $60 to masturbate him. He told them it would be "two minutes work" and to "work that out as an hourly rate", Jane alleged.

According to court documents, on one occasion Meyer allegedly took her friend around the side of a garage to do exactly that, though the documents did not say if any money was given in exchange.

Jane said they both felt uncomfortable - "gross" even - about the sexual encounters.

She believes Meyer targeted them because they were young, flirty and had big breasts. He kept testing the water just to see how far he could go.

"At the time Gordy made us feel like we had a sense of security, like if we kept him happy we would always be safe and could call on him if we ever needed help.

"Looking back it turns out the person we trusted the most was the one we needed protecting from.

"We thought about calling it all off, telling him we didn't want to do it any more. But at the end of the day we were just two girls against an officer. If it got nasty who would believe us over a senior constable?

"I guess it was at that moment we had realised the power we once thought we had was gone, and Gordy had complete control over us."

Meyer stopped contacting them as suddenly as he started, in about September or October 2011.

A few months later, police investigators got in touch. They had gone through Meyer's phone records and found red flags.

When they called, Jane said, "I just knew - Gordy's been found out."

★ ★ ★

When Gordon Stanley Meyer stood up in the High Court in Christchurch on Monday and admitted bribery and corruption and indecent assault, a young man watched on in the public gallery with a sense of quiet satisfaction.

The man, who has name suppression, was there for a friend.

In September 2011, he had just started hanging out with the 23-year-old woman who would be pivotal in exposing Meyer's offending while on the job.

The two of them had just left a bar, with her driving, when Meyer pulled the car over. At first, he said, everything was routine.

Meyer approached the driver's window and the 23-year-old underwent a breath test. She recorded 400mcg/L - a roadside indicator she was drink driving. When she asked what options she had, the officer suggested they "sort it out on a personal level", the court heard.

The young man said he "knew something was up" when she got out of the car and had a conversation with the policeman at the back of the car.

What he could not hear, was Meyer accepting an offer of oral sex in exchange for letting her off.

An arrangement was made to meet later when Meyer finished work.

Meyer took the keys then drove them in the patrol car to a Riccarton address, where he asked the young man to go inside.

The man told The Press that when the 23-year-old came in a short time later, she was "a mess".

She broke down in tears and told them what had occurred.

The court heard Meyer had compelled her to expose her breast to him in the patrol car.

Those in the house told the young women that when Meyer came back, there was "no way" she was going outside.

Meyer did turn up later. Another person went out and told Meyer the 23-year-old wanted no further contact with him.

"That was pretty much the end of it until he started calling her," the young man said.

Meyer proceeded to phone the young woman 19 times over the next month.

"Everytime the phone rang, she was like, ‘Is it going to be him?'," he said. It was not until Meyer pulled over the young man's car, in which she was a passenger, about a month later that he told her enough was enough.

"When he pulled me over and acted dodgy as with her, I was stone cold sober. I passed the breath test."

Meyer went over to her side of the car and shone the light in at her, asking for more details, he said.

"He clearly didn't give two hoots that I was there both times. He thought we were both going to keep quiet."

Fearing she was being stalked, the young man said to her, "Look, we have to do something".

They told her parents, who advised they complain to the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

Her complaint sparked a sweeping police investigation into Meyer, involving about 9000 inquiry hours and 80 statements.

Meyer originally faced 18 criminal charges, relating to at least seven female complainants. Nine charges were quashed and a further seven, five of which related to Jane and/or her friend, were dropped. No other police officers were found to be aware of his offending.

The young man said Meyer's actions had not affected his view of police. Meyer was just one bad egg.

Asked what sentence he hoped for, he said, "They should throw the book at him hopefully. Prove a point [about] dirty cops."

To witness his guilty plea "was a great feeling - to see the start of him going down for what he's done", the young man said.

Meyer did not deny the encounters alleged took place.

Defence lawyer Jonathan Eaton told pre-trial court hearings that Meyer believed his encounters were consensual. He was simply "trying it on" to see how far he could go with the women.

Police have set up a special number - 0800 223 370 - for other potential victims to come forward.

The 23-year-old woman urged people to do so, saying she was treated with "respect and compassion" by police.

Another victim wrote on her Facebook page she suspected Meyer pleaded guilty because he could not face the trial. "[He] got of [sic] lightly if u [sic] ask me."

BAD COPS

2009: Christchurch police officer Nathan Thorose Connolly, 31, jailed for bribery by using his position to obtain sex from a prostitute whom he pulled over for traffic offence in 2006.

2005: Brad Shipton is sentenced to eight years' jail for two charges of rape and three years for abduction for sex and unlawful sexual connection rape.

2002: Christchurch detective Mike Chappell jailed for three years and nine months over 10 charges of dishonesty. His sentence was altered to home detention after a year.

2002: Stephen John Tresidder jailed for nine months for perjury.

2001: Brian Scott, former Turangi police officer, jailed for 4 years for sexual violation and indecent assault.

- The Press

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