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Counsellor speaks out on sexual abuse

Saturday 9 April 2016 | Published in Local


Throughout the gut-wrenching case the young girl sat quietly in the courtroom, tears running down her face during most of the three- day trial.

When it was her turn to give evidence, the weeping 16-year old spoke softly, telling her heart breaking story clearly. Not once did she look at the big man in court who had sexually abused her over several years – the man who raped her many times and fathered a child with her. Her own father. Over the years he raped his daughter, the man had been a policeman on a northern group island.

The ex-cop was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment. The young girls’ baby was adopted by an aunt and uncle. The victim eventually went overseas to build a new life.

This was a case successfully prosecuted by former solicitor general Mike Mitchell over 10 years ago.

Guidance counsellor and youth advocate Thomas Wynne has been working with young people for six and a half years. Over those years, the number of people students allege to have been sexually abused by are “too many to mention,” he says.

Wynn despairs over the magnitude of the problem here and what appears to be a failure by authorities to recognise and deal with it properly with any commitment.

He’s again speaking out after Aitutaki police laid charges against a man of indecent molestation of a child under 12. The case has been transferred to Rarotonga.

Wynne who spent 14 years working in New Zealand school support services before returning home gives an in-depth interview in this issue of CI News on whether a sex offenders registry should be set up here to better protect children.

Crimes against children and women here show no sign of decreasing. In the High Court this week were seven assault cases against women. Police are still investigating two cases of young women being allegedly raped.