7 Jan 2013

Public's help sought after naked man assaults girl

3:47 pm on 7 January 2013

Police investigating the indecent assault of a child by a naked man at a Coromandel beach are urging any other victims of similar behaviour in the area to come forward.

The five-year-old girl was assaulted by the man on Saturday night while walking along Cooks Beach with her seven-year-old cousin.

The man was carrying a red and yellow towel but exposed himself a short distance in front of their family.

Family and members of the public intervened and tried to catch the man, who then fled.

Police say initial witness reports suggest that the man is a Caucasian with dark hair who left in a silver hatchback with tinted windows.

Waikato police spokesperson Andrew McCauley says the family are horrified by the incident.

"It's an indecent assault which would be traumatic and upsetting for any person - particularly a victim as young as this - and the young cousin that was with her. It's not the sort of thing you'd expect when you're just coming back from an enjoyable day on the beach."

Mr McCauley says any other victims of similar activity or witnesses to that kind of behaviour in the area should contact police.

Paul Hopkins, a Mercury Bay community board member and local business owner, told Radio New Zealand's Summer Report on Monday the incident has surprised locals.

"They're pretty shocked actually. Certainly, I don't know of anything like this that's happened before. We do get a lot of big influxes of people from all over the place - and that includes obviously all types, including these demented sorts."