Former radio DJ admits molesting minor

By Sandra Conchie of the Bay of Plenty Times -
File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A Tauranga man who molested a teenage boy while working as a Radio Taranaki DJ has been sentenced to seven months' home detention.

Sickness beneficiary Graeme William Parsonage, 64, of Matua, who earlier pleaded guilty to two representative charges of indecent assault, was sentenced in Tauranga District Court yesterday.

His offending spanned from January 1970 to March 1982.

Judge Louis Bidois also ordered Parsonage to pay $5000 to the victim for the "pain, suffering, humiliation and embarrassment" he had endured.

The court heard that Parsonage first began molesting the victim when the boy was aged 12 after he accepted an invitation from the then DJ to visit Radio Taranaki for a "behind the scenes view" of the show.

His offending continued in this way every time the victim visited the station and carried on after Parsonage moved to Hamilton and began working for Radio Waikato.

The victim was molested during walks and drives in Parsonage's car.

In 1974, a year after Parsonage moved to Christchurch and became one of the bosses at Radio Avon, he continued to indecently assault the victim during the teenager's visits to his home.

The offending carried on during 1978 to 1982 in various other parts of the country.

The victim finally told his wife in 2010 and, after seeking legal advice, he rejected a $10,000 compensation offer made by Parsonage and complained to police.

In January this year, Parsonage made admissions to during a formal interview with Tauranga police, but claimed he had believed the victim was 16 or 17 in 1971.

Parsonage's lawyer Craig Tuck urged Judge Bidois to impose home detention given the offending was historical, his client's lack of prior convictions, co-operation with police, genuine remorse and the fact he had been assessed as at low risk of reoffending.

Mr Tuck said due to Parsonage's significant health problems, he was not able to do community work and despite his earlier offer to pay compensation to the victim, he was a man of limited means.

Crown prosecutor Jasper Rhodes did not oppose home detention, but described Parsonage's offending as a "gross breach of trust".

Judge Bidois said the case was serious offending by a person in a position of trust and the victim was clearly vulnerable.

"The victim impact statement has all the hallmarks of [a] young vulnerable boy who has been abused by an adult, and he describes feelings of embarrassment, and the psychological effects on him which have been ongoing."

Judge Bidois said Parsonage's offending justified a sentence of two years prison before allowing him discounts for his guilty pleas, remorse, and mitigating factors, including his co-operation with police, and lack of prior convictions.

The judge said he was however prepared to commute the prison sentence to home detention, but despite Parsonage being on a sickness benefit it was appropriate he pay $5000 to his victim.

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