Northland underage sex trafficking: Man jailed for sexual exploitation, assault | #tinder | #pof | #match | #sextrafficking


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The principal victim was just 15 when the man started having sex with her, then arranged for her to have sex with other men. (File photo)

BEN BLENNERHASSETT/unsplash

The principal victim was just 15 when the man started having sex with her, then arranged for her to have sex with other men. (File photo)

A man who was the key organiser of the Northland underage sex trafficking case has been sent to jail for more than seven years.

The 36-year-old, who has temporary name suppression, admitted a total of 21 charges in relation to indecent assault, unlawful sexual connection and sexual exploitation of a young person.

The Far North mechanic was aged 35 when the offending took place, between December 2019 and February 2020.

The man, now aged 36, was sent to jail at the High Court in Whang?rei on Tuesday. (File photo)

Denise Piper/Stuff

The man, now aged 36, was sent to jail at the High Court in Whang?rei on Tuesday. (File photo)

The first victim was aged just 15 at the time, while a second victim – her close friend – was aged just 14.

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* Northland underage sex case: Home detention for pastor and businessman
* Northland underage sex trafficking: Man facing 20 charges keeps name secret
* Northland underage sex trafficking: Home detention sentence called no deterrent

In front of a packed courtroom in the High Court in Whang?rei on Tuesday, the offender appeared in the docks in a grey jumper with a shaved head, and kept an impassive face throughout the sentencing.

The court heard how the offender was trusted by the 15-year-old and her family, living in the family home.

The family believed the man was helping the teenager with personal issues, but the relationship developed and he began having sex with her.

On one occasion, he also forced himself onto the victim’s 14-year-old friend, who was sleeping over at the time.

Community members protest child sexual exploitation outside Kaikohe District Court in October, when other offenders were sentenced.

Denise Piper/Stuff

Community members protest child sexual exploitation outside Kaikohe District Court in October, when other offenders were sentenced.

The offender also encouraged the 15-year-old victim to have sex with other men, and arranged for this to happen.

He advertised on a personal website called Locanto, using a photo of the teenager, with the words: “Young couple looking for an older gent to have sex with young girlfriend; rewards or cash could help.”

The ad enticed a total of nine men to reply, with four of them arranging to meet and have sex with the victim, in exchange for cash.

The four men were sentenced to home detention for paying to have sex with the 15-year-old, sentences which enraged the community.

Justice Geoffrey Venning? said the offending had a significant impact on the victims and their families, and the victim impact statements were “harrowing” reading.

“It’s difficult to imagine how the principal victim will recover from your abuse, in her home where she should’ve been safe,” the judge told the offender.

The main victim was vulnerable to be exploited, not only because of her age but because of the offender’s ongoing abuse, and the offender cynically used her body for his gain, Venning said.

In sentencing, the judge took into account the difference in ages, breach of trust and abusive nature of the relationship.

He gave a discount of 17.5 per cent because of the offender’s guilty plea, and a discount of 7.5 per cent for the offender’s disconnection with his family, and Aboriginal and Ng?i Tahu cultures.

However, Venning refused to give any discount for remorse, saying nothing in the offender’s statements amounted to true remorse.

The man was sentenced for seven years and 10 months in jail for the principal charge of dealing in a person under 18 for sex.

For seven charges of dealing in a young person for commercial sexual services, and four charges of dealing in a young person for sexual exploitation, he was sentenced to five years in jail, to be served concurrently.

For one charge of indecently assaulting a female under 16, and eight charges of unlawful sexual connection with a young person, he was sentenced to four years, three months in jail, also to be served concurrently.

Venning gave the man a second strike under the three strikes law, because of an earlier conviction for rape.

The second strike means the sentence of seven years, 10 months in prison will be served without parole.

The man was also registered on child sex offenders’ register, with life-long monitoring.

Where to get help for sexual violence

  • Rape Crisis 0800 88 33 00, click link for local helplines.
  • Safe to talk: a 24/7 confidential helpline 0800 842 846, text 4334, webchat safetotalk.nz or email support@safetotalk.nz.
  • The Harbour Online support and information for people affected by sexual abuse.
  • Women’s Refuge 0800 733 843 (females only)
  • Male Survivors Aotearoa Helplines across NZ, click to find out more (males only)
  • If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 111.

Need help? If you or someone you know is in a dangerous situation, click the Shielded icon at the bottom of this website to contact Women’s Refuge in a safe and anonymous way without it being traced in your browser history. If you’re in our app, visit the mobile website here to access Shielded.



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