Jamie Morton

Jamie Morton is science reporter at the NZ Herald.

Teenage rapist's whanau under attack from judge

Turangi teenager Raurangi Mark Marino was sentenced to 10 years' prison. Photo / Christine Cornege
Turangi teenager Raurangi Mark Marino was sentenced to 10 years' prison. Photo / Christine Cornege

Sexual abuse, gangs, drugs and alcohol marked the upbringing of a Turangi teenager yesterday jailed for raping a 5-year-old tourist girl - a crime that shocked the country.

Raurangi Mark Marino's past was revealed as the 16-year-old was sentenced to 10 years in prison after attacking the tourist girl as she slept inside her campervan shortly before Christmas.

But the Rotorua District Court yesterday also heard more about the ordeal the little girl was put through and how she was raped and suffered severe injuries, including four lost teeth and bruising that left her eyes swollen shut.

Wearing a blue shirt and tie, Marino kept his eyes fixed forward as Judge Phillip Cooper sentenced him to 10 years' jail for rape, seven for grievous bodily harm and two years for burglary, all to be served concurrently.

Judge Cooper acknowledged a letter from Marino's mother which detailed his upbringing amid a gang culture and abuse. "I want to make it clear that you are responsible for your own actions," he told him.

"Having said that, your whanau and your extended whanau are responsible for an upbringing which has produced a young man who committed such an appalling and sickening crime."

Crown prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch told the court yesterday: "I think it's fair to say that since the events of 21 December ... heads have been shaking the breadth of this country.

"He's brought shame to himself, shame to the people of Turangi and he's brought shame to New Zealand for these acts."

His victim still suffered bad dreams, tiredness and at times felt overwhelmed, while the emotional impact on her parents had been "equally great", Mr Pilditch said.

The parents of the victim issued a statement yesterday saying: "We are relieved a part of this nightmare is finished; even if it is still just a part.

"We would like to thank the court, the police and the people of New Zealand. It has been a very emotional evening for us."

The court heard how, in the months before the attack, Marino had attempted suicide over a girl and left school over bullying.

His mother and father - whose families held ties to Black Power and the Mongrel Mob respectively - split up when Marino was 3.

Marino had been involved in Child, Youth and Family care, and years of "bad parenting" had exposed him to violence between his parents and from his father, alcohol and cannabis at an early age, and also sexual abuse - the most recent episode when he was 15.

Defence counsel Catherine Ewen said Marino did not see his mother, who lives in Auckland, between the age of 13 and 16, while his father had been a Mongrel Mob member for as long as he could remember.

After leaving school, he went to live with his mother in Auckland to try to find work, but eventually found work in Turangi in a pruning team.

A next-door neighbour last night told the Herald she was shocked when she learned about the rape, which came after a heavy drinking session at a work Christmas party on the afternoon of December 21.

Marino eventually grew "bored" and left the party, having drank between 20 and 30 bottles of beer over a space of less than 10 hours.

Feeling angry, he wandered toward State Highway 1 and into the Club Habitat campground, where he began trying to open the doors of cars and caravans hoping to steal something.

The parents of the 5-year-old, who had been travelling around the country, were in a nearby communal kitchen when Marino opened their unlocked caravan door.

When the girl woke up and tried to run out, screaming, Marino grabbed her, covered her mouth with her hands and locked the door.

During the attack he punched her and choked her, causing her to pass out.

Ms Ewen said: "He remembers grabbing the victim and trying to stop her screaming out ... he can not give any answer as to why he committed rape on the child."

Speaking outside court, Ms Ewen said Marino's past had played a "huge" part. "I think also, and it's no excuse, that alcohol and drugs are a real curse on this society ... and I don't think people have really come to terms with that yet."

- NZ Herald

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