Man defends grooming allegations

By Sandra Conchie

A Tauranga man is on trial defending allegations that he kissed and fondled two young girls and tried to persuade them to be photographed naked with the aim of selling the images online.

Andrew Timothy Wilson, 39, appeared in the Tauranga District Court yesterday and denied three counts of indecent assault against a female aged under 12 - two of which are representative charges - plus two counts of sexual grooming.

The offences are alleged to have occurred in Tauranga last year after Wilson befriended the girls' mother and began joining her and her daughters on social outings.

During her opening address, Crown prosecutor Julie O'Brien told the jury they would hear directly from both girls after watching their video-taped evidential interviews conducted late last year.

Mrs O'Brien said Wilson regularly touched and kissed the girls to get them used to intimate contact so they would be more receptive to his naked modelling proposition.

The proposition was allegedly made to the girls while their mother was on a phone call.

Mrs O'Brien said Wilson was convicted in 2007 of doing an indecent act on a child in 2005, and in March last year he was convicted of behaving in an offensive manner, which also involved offending against a child.

But Mrs O'Brien urged the jury to treat this evidence "very carefully" as she said it did not mean Wilson was automatically guilty.

However, she said it was clear that the accused had a sexual interest in young children and the trial evidence would show he was prepared to act upon it, even if the complainants' mother was nearby.

Yesterday, one of the complainants gave evidence that in her mother's absence Wilson had told her and her sister they were suitable for modelling jobs, including naked modelling.

She said that Wilson told them he had photographs he could show them so they would know how to pose and if he advertised the photos on a website they could make "heaps of money".

Her sister will give evidence today. The trial is expected to take three days.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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