Warning: This story contains distressing content, including child sexual assault and rape.
A man who filmed himself raping a young girl and secretly recorded himself with sex workers has been described as a “predator and a beast”.
The man, John-Paul (JP) Pohe, was today sentenced in the Wellington District Court for raping and sexually violating a young girl on multiple occasions. Each time he filmed it and kept the footage on his phone - a move that eventually led to him being caught.
The 38-year-old Wellington producer and former real estate agent also filmed himself with 14 sex workers without their knowledge, something they’ve described as an “extreme violation” of their human rights.
As he was jailed for 11 years, with a minimum non-parole period of five years, his victim’s grandmother told the court she would never speak his name again.
“You are not worth a thought in our minds or the oxygen we breathe ... the name JP [John-Paul] Pohe fills me with disgust, your name will never cross my lips again.
“I hope you have a miserable time dealing with what you’ve done,” she said.
“You will always be condemned by your actions and always be known as a paedophile.”
Judge Ian Mills said the effects of the offending on the girl and her family were tragic and grave.
He said the rape and sexual violation were a gross breach of trust and he dismissed Pohe’s claims, that he didn’t know why he recorded himself violating the girl, as “dishonest”.
“I’d have to say the reason you filmed these instances is abundantly clear to me and others – it was for your sexual gratification for another time,” Judge Mill said.
“Same applies to the victims [sex workers] whose trust and vulnerability you betrayed.”
In letters written to the court, Pohe said his offending was out of character – but Judge Mill disagreed.
“If you do something wrong once that is out of character, if you offend in the nature you have on many times and on many occasions, it is not out of character it is your character,” he said.
“It may be a hidden part ... but your character is made up of this also.”
In a powerful statement read to the court, Pohe’s young victim described how she kept what was happening to her secret.
“This happened over and over again and I never told anyone, I just survived in silence.”
She said the impact of what he had done was extensive and he now deserves to live with the consequences of his offending.
She said a part of her healing was that his name be made public.
“The shame is his ... not mine or my family’s.”
Her mother described the offending as “narcissistic, evil behaviour” and said she remained in shock, even as she stood in the courtroom.
“Not one person saw the signs you were a paedophile.
“May your life forever be haunted by what you have done.”
She said the fear Pohe had inflicted on her daughter was strong, and her family is now focusing on supporting her - and each other - following the nightmare he inflicted on them.
The girl’s grandmother said the scars left behind by Pohe’s offending were significant and will remain forever.
“I see you as a predator and a beast,” she said.
Defence lawyer Mike Antunovic said Pohe was “ashamed and disgusted at himself”.
But Crown prosecutor Kate Feltham said Pohe’s offending across both sets of victims was “planned and premeditated”. The offending against the sex workers caused significant emotional and financial harm.
The court heard how Pohe would put his phone in one of his shoes at the end of the bed when offending against the sex workers, positioning the device to secretly capture the consensual sex.
He recorded 17 encounters between September 2021 and April this year, at four brothels around the Wellington region.
Three victim impact statements were read to the courts from workers impacted by his offending, some of whom lost their livelihood and others who spend their time in fear of the secretly filmed videos becoming public.
“When I found out this had happened, I was shocked, angry and scared for myself,” said one of the women.
“I had to tell myself that I just need to move on and I worried that my real name would be revealed and I was scared he would find me.”
Another woman described how she has had to carry the burden of his “insidious and disgusting” offending on her own as she feared she may be judged if she told anyone.
A third woman said in a statement that the harmful act filled her with rage.
“It’s hard and extremely exhausting, I’m scared for myself.”
The workers, who have supported each other through the court process, said they hoped Pohe recognised their strength and humanity as individuals.
“Sex workers are smart and courageous humans who won’t tolerate the actions of humans who target us and see us as vulnerable.”