Amputee avoids jail for lewd acts

BELINDA FEEK
Last updated 16:29 23/01/2013

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A Hamilton double amputee who plied teen girls with alcohol and made lewd advances on them has avoided jail.

Lance Wilson Willetts, 72, was today sentenced to the maximum 12 months' home detention in the Hamilton District Court after last year admitting two charges of indecent assault on a girl aged between 12 and 16, two charges of doing an indecent act to insult, attempted sexual connection with a girl aged between 12 and 16 and buying alcohol to supply to a minor.

Willetts, a double-leg amputee, met the first of his five victims in December, 2011 when she used to cross his fence to get to her school grounds.

Victim one then began doing small household jobs for in payment for cash. She then invited a friend over, victim two, to join her at the beginning of last year.

Over time, the girls did less jobs, however kept on visiting Willetts where they would drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes and cannabis.

Willetts then began making suggestive sexual remarks to both girls who laughed it off and never engaged in any sexual activity.

Between January 1 and July 31, Willetts, on several occasions, attempted to touch victim one's bottom and legs and pulled up her skirt as she walked past on one occasion.

Other times he would say: "I'm going to come and get you" and wheel his wheelchair towards her, but the other victim would put her foot in front of his wheel and stop him.

On one occasion, when victim one visited Willetts alone, he asked her to perform a sexual act on him. She became angry and said she was leaving, when Willetts also became angry and said she couldn't leave.

On several occasions he made attempts to touch victim two and on one occasion grabbed her round the waist and she fell on to his lap.

Another time, Willetts exposed his penis to the girls, asking them to perform oral sex.

The victims then introduced three more friends, aged 14 and 15, to Willetts and he also supplied them with alcohol and continued to make suggestive sexual comments.

On August 27, victims three and four left school early and drank alcohol and later another girl joined them. Willetts again made sexual requests and two of the girls went into his bedroom together.

Willetts went in and began touching the girls before one of the girls attempted to have sex with him. However,Willetts was unable to get an erection.

Victim five then walked in the room and asked them all to leave.

Willetts also admitted buying the girls bottles of Vodka Cruisers and bottles of vodka to drink at his house.

But Willetts' lawyer James Gurnick told Judge Peter Spiller some of the girls weren't as innocent as most 15 year olds - admitting they also snorted Willetts' heart medication off the bathroom sink, without his knowledge.

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They also barricaded themselves in his bedroom, carrying out sexual acts on themselves, before Willetts went in.
Crown prosecutor Jamie O'Sullivan said the charge could have been worse had Willetts gained an erection. However, there was still skin on skin contract between the pair's genitalia.

Despite the drinking and sexual activity, Willetts' was still the older - by 55 years - adult who should have known better.

One of the victims had begun self-harming since the incidents and was often unhappy.

Judge Peter Spiller said the decision not to send Willetts' to prison balanced ''on a knife's edge'' but accepted his previous good character and the compassionate grounds, given he was resigned to a wheelchair.
Willetts was also ordered not to associate with anyone under the age of 16 without approval by his probation officer.Willetts was also given a first strike warning.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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