LEAD STORY: Sentence shocks families


Napier paedophile Owen Draper, 66, was yesterday sentenced to preventive detention on 38 charges involving 11 boys, with a minimum six years before possible release.
Justice Ronald Young handed down the sentence in the Napier High Court - telling Draper he had done ``long-term' harm to his young victims and their families as a result of the incidents which took place between 2001 and 2008.
But upon hearing the number ``six' in terms of the number of years Draper will have to serve before he can apply for parole there were gasps of anger and disbelief in the court.
The mother of one of his victims made clear her alarm after leaving the court - despite the sentence being explained in more detail to her by Crown Prosecutor Nicola Graham.
Draper would be 72 before he could front a parole board, and would have to convince psychiatrists he no longer posed any threat.
But that cut little ice with the woman, and other families of victims.
The families gathered in court to hear Justice Young sentence Draper on the charges which covered abuse from sexual violation to grooming boys for the purpose of committing sex crimes.
``This was extremely serious sexual offending,' Justice Young said.
Draper, who had previous convictions in 1986, 1988 and 1996, remained silent in the dock as the sentence was handed out.
A mother of one of the victims said she was worried Draper would be able to convince people he was reformed and remorseful.
``He didn't look overly concerned to me,' she said.
As far as she knew, Draper had not apologised to any of the victims or their families.
``We're the ones dealing with the kids that he's damaged,' she said.

``He has left a large scar on their lives.'
During the seven years, Draper lured boys with the prospect of marine adventure, cash and gifts before committing the sexual offences - some took place on his boat, the Ikatere.
Justice Young described the 26 victim impact reports as ``difficult reading', including one in which a victim stated ``the scars will live with me for the rest of my life'.
``These young men live every day with the emotional scars inflicted on them by you,' Justice Young said.
Defence counsel Leo Lafferty said Draper had gained insight into his behaviour, reflected in his guilty pleas, and asked for a finite sentence instead of preventive detention.
But Justice Young said a finite sentence would not offer sufficient protection to the public.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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