A Rotorua man who sexually groomed and indecently assaulted a young girl was suffering from depression and extreme tooth decay at the time, a court has heard.
Fraam Russel Anderson, 34, was sentenced in the Rotorua District Court yesterday to 21 months in prison after previously pleading guilty to one charge of indecently assaulting a girl and one charge of meeting her following sexual grooming.
Judge James Weir said between August 10 and 14 last year Anderson and the victim exchanged 624 text messages, which became sexual in nature. On August 12, Anderson went to the girl's home, where the indecent assault took place.
Anderson's lawyer Aroha Cooper said her client accepted what he did was wrong and that there was no excuse for it.
"He is embarrassed by his actions and disappointed in himself," she said.
Ms Cooper said at the time of the offending Anderson was suffering from depression and extreme tooth decay.
"I know that doesn't seem very serious but the dentist said it was the worst case of tooth decay he had seen. He's since had all his teeth removed and the dentist kept two of his teeth for a seminar.
"He was coping with the pain of that. He says he was in a very dark place."
She said Anderson knew he was facing the possibility of prison, but asked the judge to consider home detention instead.
Judge Weir said Anderson had no relevant previous convictions, but had been sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment in 2003 on cannabis charges.
The judge said he was concerned by the pre-sentence report, as the writer stated Anderson accepted the police summary of facts but maintained his innocence in respect of the indecent assault.
"You place the blame on her as a means of justifying your actions," he said. "The writer is doubtful you understand the harm you have effected on the victim."
Judge Weir said the victim impact statement was "troubling", indicating the girl had since been bullied about the incident, as had her mother.
"From that the inevitable conclusion is the victimisation has been ongoing. It may not be a direct result of input from you but this has had a significant effect on this young person," he said.
Judge Weir took into account Anderson's early guilty pleas as well as the aggravating factors, namely the victim's vulnerability, the breach of trust, the significant extent of the grooming, the degree of premeditation and the age disparity between Anderson and his victim.