A woman suing the Defence Force over its alleged knowledge of an Air Force sergeant who sexually attacked women says "a lot of us girls just gave up telling our story".

Robert Richard Roper, 72, was sentenced in 2015 to 13 years' imprisonment after being found guilty of 20 sex charges against five women at an Auckland District Court trial in December the previous year.

His offending occurred between 1976 and 1988 when he served with the Royal New Zealand Air Force at its Whenuapai base in Hobsonville.

However, his crimes only came to light at the end of 2012 - 23 years after he left the military - when his daughter Karina Andrews told police her father began abusing her at the age of 6.

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Andrews also made the brave decision to have her statutory name suppression lifted.

This week a woman who worked on the base is suing Roper and the Crown (the Defence Force and Attorney-General) in a civil claim for compensation in the High Court at Auckland.

She alleges that military officers were aware Roper was targeting younger women but ignored her and other's complaints.

While continuing to give evidence during the hearing today, the woman, who broke down in tears several times, said she loved the camaraderie of the armed forces but "wouldn't have gone back if [Roper] was on the base".

"A lot of us girls just gave up telling our story, we just wanted to get out," she said.

Roper is also present at the hearing but is seated in the dock behind a black screen to remain out of sight and protect the victim.

Robert Roper was jailed in 2015 for 13 years' for historical sexual offending against five women. Photo / Supplied
Robert Roper was jailed in 2015 for 13 years' for historical sexual offending against five women. Photo / Supplied

At Roper's criminal trial, one victim told the court that the rapist had offered her a ride home before driving her to an area at the base known as the bombing range.

There he reclined her seat and locked the doors.

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She tried to escape but Roper bound her hands with the seatbelt and raped her.

The hearing before Justice Rebecca Edwards is expected to last several days.