Pastor 'used trust' to take lewd photos

By Peter de Graaf of The Northern Advocate -
Kaitaia pastor Eric Reid has lost his job and status. Photo / File
Kaitaia pastor Eric Reid has lost his job and status. Photo / File

A Kaitaia pastor has been sentenced to nine months' home detention for what one of his victims called a "disturbing and disgusting habit" of taking photos up women's skirts.

Eric Clifford Reid, 63, of the Kaitaia Family Church, appeared in the Kaikohe District Court yesterday on 25 charges of making an intimate visual recording and 24 of possessing intimate visual recordings.

The offences occurred over an eight-month period in 2011-12.

All charges but one related to a woman who attended the same church and had known Reid for many years. The remaining charge related to a 16-year-old girl.

The photos were taken with an iPhone up the victims' skirts and through a hole in an office wall. They were uncovered by a forensic examination of Reid's computer after someone saw him taking pictures and alerted police.

Reading from a statement written by the primary victim, prosecutor Moana Jarman-Taylor said Reid "used trust as a cover for a disturbing and disgusting habit".

The victim had to leave her job of many years, felt stressed and jumpy, and had lost confidence and trust. The second victim said she felt shocked and disgusted and no longer trusted older men.

Defence lawyer Steve Nicholson said his client had previously led an unblemished life but, for a period of several months, had "lost his common sense".

Judge Duncan Harvey said Reid's sentencing had to be a deterrent, "particularly as there is now a proliferation of smartphones not only with the ability to take photos of this type, but also to distribute them".

The main victim had also been "enormously upset" by rumours that she had made the allegations up. Now that Reid had pleaded guilty they would know she was not a liar, Judge Harvey said.

Considering Reid's previous good character, remorse and the treatment he was already undertaking, Judge Harvey arrived at a sentence of nine months' home detention.

Conditions included that Reid not be allowed to possess any recording device such as a cellphone, computer or camera without his probation officer's consent.

The judge also noted Reid's offending had cost him his job and his status.

"You have lost your respected position in the community. You are now a person who is looked upon with some scorn and disgust."

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