"I watched you ... your attitude to it was dismissive. Most people in the courtroom were moved by what they heard," Judge Kevin Phillips said, jailing a former social worker for rapes and indecent assaults.
The judge was referring to 67-year-old Edward Anand's demeanour during the reading of multiple victim impact statements in the Dunedin District Court yesterday.
Anand was sentenced to 13 years' jail on five charges of rape and seven of indecent assault relating to eight complainants. The offending occurred at the former Girls' Home in Elliot St in Dunedin between 1980 and 1986.
Anand was found guilty of the charges by a jury after a trial in March. Judge Phillips said the girls were entrusted to the state-run home for a variety of reasons, and they were supposed to be safe and protected.
Instead, the home was a "dangerous and soul-destroying" place where Anand procured sexual gratification. Anand had "stolen" the girls' childhood, giving them cigarettes and alcohol as part of the "grooming" process.
"You had these girls at your mercy."
Girls who complained about his behaviour at the time were not believed, the judge said.
Even after the guilty verdicts, Anand continued to deny the offending and showed no remorse.
Judge Phillips said he would "reluctantly" allow a two-year discount for health, age, and character, reducing the sentence to 13 years. The sentence of 13 years' prison was for one of the rape charges, and it reflected the totality of the offending, the judge said.
Judge Phillips also sentenced Anand on the 11 other charges, for terms ranging from two to eight years' prison, to be served concurrently.
"The abuse of trust is so high it is bewildering," Judge Phillips said.
The women's statements detailing the impact on their lives "said it all, really", he said.
Six victims read out their victim impact statements, or had them read on their behalf, while another two victim impact statements were handed up to the judge. One victim was supported by abuse campaigner Louise Nicholas while she read her statement.
There were recurring themes in the statements. Victims spoke of being robbed of their childhood, being unable to have a healthy adult relationship, parenting difficulties, a persistent distrust of authority figures, and mental health problems and addiction.
The trial had had a re-traumatising effect for some.
"What was it that made you prey on vulnerable girls in your care?" asked one.
Another said: "I feel like I have lived half a life in the shadows. It has taken me this long to realise I'm worth more."
One said the "self-loathing" and shame she carried into adult life meant she chose abusive partners and developed severe addiction and mental health problems.
Crown counsel Mary-Jane Thomas, of Invercargill, said the women suffered "egregious'' harm, but despite that had still tried to make the best of their lives.
The "manipulative, educated predator", had them "completely" in his control. When they tried to get away, he could drag them back to the home and lock them in solitary confinement.
In the trial there were 10 complainants, all former residents, but a rape charge was withdrawn partway through the trial, and on another rape charge the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict and it was withdrawn yesterday.
The victims were aged 10-15 at the time of the offending. Anand resigned from the home in March 1986, after he was accused of sexually abusing a girl at the home.
Outside the court, one of the victims said she was satisfied with the sentence, and another said Anand had shown no remorse and she hoped he "rots" in jail.