Boy snares abuser


A young boy has been hailed a hero for calling Napier police, crying "enough", and stopping Hawke's Bay's worst sex offender, homosexual paedophile Owen Stanley Draper.
Given Draper's history, police almost expected the call one day, but never anticipated the extent of the offending which led yesterday to Draper admitting four years of abuse involving 11 boys, aged 9 to 14.
He had previous convictions in 1986, 1988 and 1996, was once sentenced to six months' jail and, most recently, 12 months suspended, with periodic detention and supervision.
Yesterday, in 15 minutes without contrition in the High Court in Napier, leaning forward between two prison officers to peruse the indictments held by defence counsel Scott Jefferson, the 66-year-old muttered "guilty" as each of 38 charges was read.
They covered abuse from sexual violation to grooming boys for the purpose of committing sex crimes, but Draper wouldn't admit supplying or offering cannabis - one of the many methods with which he was alleged to have tried to lure his victims.
Mainly, the offences were committed on board his wooden-hulled former naval inshore patrol vessel, Ikatere, which remains moored off the Whakarere Ave Reserve, on the northern side of the Napier inner harbour.
Luring boys with the prospect of marine adventure, and cash and gifts, said might not normally have been available within their families, Draper also committed offences in his Onekawa home. He also gained the confidence and trust of victims' unsuspecting parents, in whose homes some offences were committed. Some offences were committed in Tauranga.
Crown prosecutor Russell Collins offered no evidence on four related charges, which were discharged by Justice Patrick Keane, who then remanded Draper in continued custody for sentencing on March 31, calling for reports on whether it should be preventive detention.
Only the admissions may save him, sparing the boys the ordeal of standing in front of a judge and 12 strangers in the jury box to relate the stories they once never wanted to tell.
Draper then headed for prison, where he had been for eight months since his arrest.
Inquiry head Napier CIB sexual-abuse team leader Carol Romatowski, in court for Draper's capitulation in a break from a child-abuse trial next door, said the boy who made the first move was "exceedingly brave, exceedingly courageous".
"One boy had had enough, and he rang the police," she said.
In an environment in which boys wanted to ignore what had happened, with repeated offences following Draper's offers of cash and gifts, and boating adventure, all involved were supportive as the inquiry opened.
"All of the boys were very brave," she said.

"I really commend them all."
Draper is now thought to be Hawke's Bay's worst sex offender, surpassing Bruce Benjamin Shepherd who in 2006, aged 70, was sentenced to 13 years' jail for offences involving nine girls.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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