Natalie Akoorie is a reporter at the NZ Herald based in Hamilton.

Seven years for crimes against girls

Christopher Ian Crause.
Christopher Ian Crause.

A convicted child molester who committed a "continuum of serious sexual offending" before skipping the country on bail has been sentenced to seven years and four months in jail.

Christopher Ian Crause used a fake passport to escape his sentencing last year for the crimes against two girls, aged 13 and 14, only to be returned by police in Botswana.

Judge David Ruth yesterday described Crause as an "ageing Lothario" who manipulated his vulnerable victims with attention, alcohol and cannabis in exchange for oral sex.

In the Hamilton District Court, Judge Ruth said the 48-year-old ensnared the girls in a premeditated way and was clearly grooming the pair for sex once they turned 16.

He said Crause, who employed one of the girls and acted as a guardian for the other, took advantage of their difficult home environments.

"I cannot imagine what an ageing Lothario in your position thinks young girls would find attractive about you if they weren't from such poor backgrounds and propositioned by you for all of the goodies in life that they otherwise couldn't get."

Defence lawyer Annabel Cresswell said Crause never degraded the girls and his contact with them was "kind, light-hearted and complimentary". She said he was "shocked, scared and panicked" into fleeing New Zealand in May last year.

- NZ Herald

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