Stepfather on trial over historic sex charges

By Anna Ferrick

A 59-year-old man has been accused of raping one of his stepdaughter's 16-year-old friends while the girls were boarders at Iona College in the mid '90s.

The woman at the centre of the claim, who is now 36, gave evidence yesterday in the Napier District Court that she was raped multiple times by the stepfather of one of her best friends during weekends they spent at the home of the accused.

The complainant's friend was a day boarder at the school and would often invite the complainant to spend the weekend at a property in Clive belonging to her mother and stepfather.

The complainant would be signed out of the school by either the accused or his wife.

During her evidence the complainant said alcohol was freely available at the house and they often had parties there on the weekends.

The stepfather is facing three charges of indecent assault, three charges of sexual violation by rape and one charge of unlawful sexual connection.

He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and has name suppression. He is expected to take the stand during the trial.

The court heard yesterday the first rape allegedly occurred in the first half of 1993 when she came back to the house one night severely intoxicated after a party.

She said her friend's stepfather came into the lounge where she had passed out on the couch and began to touch her, telling her she had "made him horny and had to deal with it".

She said she tried to fight him off and to reason with him but conceded she did not at any time call out for help.

"I wish I did, I don't know why I didn't, I was trying to reason with him."

She said he told her the incident was all her fault because she had been leading him on.

The woman was 16 at the time and in sixth form at high school.

She said there were between four and eight further incidents at the property and another four to eight incidents when her friend's mother and stepfather moved to another house in Napier.

She said the incidents continued to occur in the same pattern, after she had been drinking before returning to the house and going to sleep.

"It didn't stop happening. In the wee hours of the morning I'd be woken by him.

"I'd try to reason with him, tell him I was sorry he'd got the wrong idea, try to push him off."

She alleges the offending stopped in 2000 when, for the first time, she managed to successfully fight him off.

The complainant went to the police in November 2009.

"It's only very recently I've had the emotional fortitude to deal with this. I couldn't process it, I couldn't deal with what was happening."

Defence lawyer, Tony Snell, said his client does not dispute the sexual relationship existed, but said it was consensual.

Mr Snell said there were seven incidents between 1993 and 1995 when his client acknowledged sleeping with the girl.

Mr Snell told the court his client first slept with the her in September or October of 1993 and that it was consensual.

He said the pair had stayed up talking one night before the conversation turned "suggestive", they started kissing and eventually had sex.

He detailed six further incidents, ending in 1995, in which he alleged his client had sexual intercourse with the girl, including instances that were initiated by her.

One one occasion he said the complainant told the accused she had a birthday present for him before leading him to the spare bedroom.

The woman denied any truth to his version of events.

"He's trying to paint a picture that we had an affair when in fact he repetitively raped me."

Mr Snell put it to the complainant that the two had engaged in a consensual affair which she was feeling guilty about and trying to justify in her own mind by saying it was rape.

The woman denied that was the case saying she would have "nothing to gain" by going through the courts.

A friend of the complainant, who was also a boarder at Iona in the '90s, also gave evidence yesterday and said on an occasion in 1994 the complainant told her she had had sex with the accused.

The friend said she was told the two were talking before ending up having sex.

She said the circumstances surrounding the transition to having sex was not made clear by the complainant at the time.

She also said the complainant did not seem particularly upset by the fact, but bemused by it.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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