Ben Hill is a reporter for The New Zealand Herald

Child sex offenders living with kids

Two sex offenders found living in same boarding house as 4-year-old in one of two cases to arise in same day
Photo / iStock
Photo / iStock

Outraged communities are questioning the placement of high-risk sexual offenders near children after two cases involving three separate abusers emerged yesterday.

Two men with convictions for sexual offending against children have been living in a Hamilton boarding house with boys as young as four-years-old, the Herald can reveal.

The men were living in the same central Hamilton boarding house when they were each arrested earlier this month for breaching conditions of their extended supervision orders, which stipulated they were not to be around children under the age of 16.

And a family with two young girls were told by Corrections to play on the other side of their house after a paedophile was moved in next door, Labour's Trevor Mallard says.

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Mallard made the allegation yesterday while questioning Corrections Minister Judith Collins about the placement of sex offender Robert John McCorkindale in the Lower Hutt suburb of Maungaraki.

A man who lives at the boarding house, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Herald he had no inkling about the pair's record of sexual offending when the men moved in about the same time three months ago.

"I moved into the house in November, and I have part-time custody of my 4-year-old son, so he stays here with me half the week.

"I found out both of their backgrounds after they were arrested. The police asked me questions once they realised they had been living here with my son, and the son of another one of the flatmates who stays here on the weekend, and they needed to know if they'd been alone with the children."

One of the men has a history of sexual offending against children and violent crime including kidnapping a man at knifepoint and threatening to kill. He escaped from prison in 2003.

He received a 10-year extended supervision order in 2007, while the other man was placed under similar supervision conditions upon his release from prison in December 2013.

Both men were forbidden to be near children under 16 as part of their parole orders.

The boarding house resident said he was "hurt and distressed" to learn about their past offending.

"I know nothing happened to my son, I keep a pretty close eye all the time. But it's scary ... that they were [allowed] to come live in a communal space where the children were.

"It's not okay that people like this were knowingly put in a place where they had access to children. It seems like a failure on somebody's part."

The house is managed by Quality Rental Management, and director Robyn Marsters said despite checks, they weren't made aware of the nature of the men's convictions.

"We do know that there has been a breach of parole but we're totally unaware of paedophilia charges.

"If we have anyone going into a property through Probation or through the organisations that we are helping, they need to let us know. We have a policy that we don't putpaedophiles into any of our properties."

It's not okay that people like this were knowingly put in a place where they had access to children.
Father of 4-year-old boy

In Parliament yesterday, Mallard asked Collins: "Does the minister agree with advice given by Corrections to the neighbouring parents of 5- and 6-year-old girls, who for years have had a paddling pool on their deck, now overlooked by this paedophile, that they should modify their parenting and have their girls play on the other side of the house?"

Collins replied: "If that report is accurate, then that would seem to be an inappropriate comment."

The placement of sex offenders in the community has come under greater scrutiny after a man who raped a 13-year-old girl was re-housed next door to Jean Batten School in Mangere after his release.

He has since been moved, but further cases have upset communities in other areas.
Collins said yesterday she had "a great deal of sympathy" for parents and the public.

Corrections took into account proximity to schools, kindergartens, parks, swimming pools, thoroughfares, and other factors when placing sex offenders, she said.

Its top priority in relocating offenders was public safety, and mental health teams, police and social services were consulted about placements.

The department's policy was not to place them within 1km of schools, though the minister noted that 500 metres "may be more realistic" in cities.

She added that McCorkindale had already spent 10 years in the community under intensive supervision and had not reoffended during that time.

"I think it would be helpful to the member if he knew that intensive supervision ... means that someone is with him 24 hours, seven days a week, as well as GPS monitoring."

- NZ Herald

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