13 Apr 2017

Sexually abusive father jailed for more than five years

6:30 am on 13 April 2017

An elderly man who touched his daughter's breasts hundreds of times and forced another daughter to perform oral sex on him has been jailed for five years and four months.

Wellington District Court.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The 80-year-old, whose name is suppressed for legal reasons, was sentenced yesterday on 11 charges, including indecent assault and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

He pleaded guilty last month, when he was on trial in the Wellington District Court.

The defendant, a former teacher, began offending against his eldest daughter in 1972 when she was 11 and touched her hundreds of times in the next three years.

Judge Stephen Harrop said the offending against the younger complainant started when she was just six years old and the defendant's behaviour was the antithesis of being a good father.

He said the man's actions were a serious breach of trust and the girls had no means of escaping what he was doing for his own sexual gratification.

"There can be no greater breach of trust except, I suppose, a full rape but the duration and extent of this offending, I suspect, had just as much impact as a rape would have."

Judge Harrop said the girls had been given alcohol and one said she was fearful when her father brought home takeaways as a treat because she knew what would follow.

The man had also sent his daughters text messages in an attempt to avoid going to trial.

In one of the texts the man purported to be a health worker concerned about the impact of the trial on the defendant's wife's health.

Judge Harrop said when it was confirmed the message was from the defendant, his daughter was very upset.

"[She said] this was a further example of unbelievable manipulation and you deliberately referred to her mother being incredibly ill because you knew that would maximise the impact on her emotionally."

Defence lawyer Brett Crowley said there were some mitigating factors in the case, including the man's prior good conduct and his care for his disabled daughter.

He suggested some credit was also due to his client for entering a guilty plea, even though it came at a very late stage.

However Judge Harrop said the offending was premeditated and there were several aggravating features, including the extent and duration of the offending, and the fact the man hid it from his wife.

He said he had to sentence the man under the law that applied in the '70s and '80s when the offending took place, rather than imposing the longer sentence now available.

Detective constable Lyndon McGaughran said the sentence spoke for itself as a deterrent to serious sexual offending.

He said it is never too late for victims of childhood sexual abuse to make a complaint.

"It's never too late to talk to the police if you feel you have something to talk about. We will always take these things seriously and investigate them to the best of our ability."

Mr McGaughran acknowledged the strength and bravery of the victims in today's case in coming forward after so many years.