A Taupo man who pleaded guilty to three charges of indecently assaulting young girls has been sentenced to 21 months' prison.
One of the cases involved a girl aged 4.
The man cannot be identified because one of the victims was his stepdaughter, who was then aged 9.
Two of the charges dated back to offending in 1987 and 1989, and the later case occurred in 2006.
The man appeared before Judge Philip Cooper in the Taupo District Court yesterday.
His lawyer, Ian Farquhar, argued for a lengthy sentence of home detention and community work, saying the man was genuinely remorseful and ashamed, had already sought help, was motivated to deal with his issues, and had voluntarily confessed the two earlier crimes to police.
His pre-sentence report assessed him as being at low risk of reoffending and low risk to the community.
Judge Cooper told the man while he accepted he was deeply ashamed, embarrassed and remorseful for his offending, he could not impose a sentence of home detention in this case.
He said a victim impact report from one victim said the man's actions had affected the girl, who was scared and confused at the time and had since suffered low self-esteem and low self-worth.
"She saw someone who would protect her and get her through life, but you seriously breached that trust."
He said the aggravating factors were the breach of trust, the age of the children, the fact that there was more than one victim and that much of the offending involved skin to skin contact of an intimate nature.
However, Judge Cooper took into account that for the most part, the offending was a one-off incident of short duration, that the two incidents in the 1980s occurred when the man was much younger, that the man had co-operated with police and he was otherwise of good character.
However, the man had to receive a sentence which would hold him accountable, not only to the victims, but also to society.
"Offending of this sort against young children is very serious and the community is rightly concerned that the courts' responses to such offending be appropriate," Judge Cooper said.
He sentenced him to 21 months' imprisonment on the 2006 charge, and 12 months' imprisonment on the two charges from the 1980s, to be served concurrently. The man will also be subject to special release conditions for six months after his prison term ends.