A Waikato man who snatched a 4-year-old girl playing outside her home during a two-month spree of sexual offending against young girls has been jailed for more than five years.
Taukiri Makaira Cash was sentenced at the Hamilton High Court on Tuesday after a series of predatory incidents in Hamilton and Ngaruawahia in August and October of 2018.
Cash had earlier pleaded guilty to six charges: kidnapping, attempted sexual conduct with a child under 12, indecent communication with a young person under 16, and three counts of doing an indecent act.
All 12 of his victims, all girls aged between 4 and 11 at the time, were left traumatised by his offending, the court heard.
The 28-year-old, who has nine previous convictions to his name - unrelated to the sexual offending - was on bail on October 5, 2018, when he kidnapped a young girl riding her scooter outside her house.
Cash approached the 4-year-old in his car and offered her money, snatching her when she was close and driving away.
The girl's panicked siblings alerted their mother, who chased after the car.
When Cash's getaway was halted by heavy traffic, he stopped the car and pushed the child out, before fleeing.
By then Cash had already approached two groups of young girls under the age of 12 in interactions that would later lead to him being charged with his first of three indecent act offences and indecent communication.
Ten days after the October 5 kidnapping, Cash followed a 9-year-old girl walking home from school.
He parked a short distance ahead of her and pointed the camera of his cell phone at the girl.
The child saw Cash was masturbating in his car and ran home, terrified.
Two weeks later Cash again targeted a 9-year-old girl, telling her he had a "special video" he wanted to show her before exposing himself to her when she moved closer.
Just two days later, on October 31, 2018, Cash drove up to a 10-year-old girl standing at the end of her driveway and asked for directions.
He held up his mobile phone and showed the girl sexual images and then unzipped his pants and showed the girl his penis, asking if she wanted to touch it.
The frightened girl ran into her house.
In their victim impact statements, the girls wrote they now felt less safe and were stressed when they were alone in public.
All 12 girls required counselling after their encounters with Cash.
"Children are entitled to make their way in the world beyond the confines of their family home or school," Justice Pheroze Jagose wrote in his sentencing.
"They should be free to play, travel and socialise without adult supervision. They are entitled to look to adults for care, help, protection and support.
"When that trust is broken, as it was by your offending, they are entitled to know that it will be punished, so far as possible to prevent you acting like that again and to protect them and other children from you."
Justice Jagose noted that as recently as July this year Cash had said he was not guilty of the charges against him.
"You deny any sexual attraction to children, and say you cannot recall the circumstances of your offending," Jagose wrote.
Cash had written a letter to Justice Jagose, saying he apologised to the victims and their families and was ashamed of himself and his "mistakes", "silly choices" and "nonsense".
Justice Jagose said he took Cash's background, which included growing up in a context of extreme violence and history of alcohol and drug use, but that didn't reduce his culpability.
"To be clear, your offending is not a 'mistake', 'silliness' or 'nonsense'; it is your deliberate
and serious breach of community standards to protect the vulnerable," Justice Jagose wrote.
"Your inability to recognise that means your prospects of rehabilitation are hugely diminished. No discount is justified on account of your personal circumstances."
Justice Jagose sentenced Cash to five years and 10 months' imprisonment with a minimum of three years' imprisonment.
Cash will not be eligible for parole during those three years.