A West Auckland pastor jailed for sexually abusing a young girl as her mother was dying of cancer will be eligible for parole just eight months after he was locked up.
The victim is furious and says "beast" Neil Rischbieter ruined her life and she wants to see him serve every day of his sentence to pay for what he put her through.
In April this year Rischbieter, a pastor, was sentenced to 26 months in prison after pleading guilty to seven charges relating to the sexual abuse of two girls.
Two of the charges were representative, meaning Rischbieter committed multiple offences of the same type in similar circumstances.
One victim who spoke to the Herald was not even a teenager when the offending began.
It was only last year that she finally spoke up about the abuse.
As a youngster she was left with Rischbieter and his wife while her father tended to her mother who was dying of cancer in hospice.
Rischbieter was a close friend of her father - and the family's church pastor - so it was thought he could be trusted to care for the girl.
Her parents had no idea their supposed friend and leader of their church was repeatedly and regularly sexually abusing their child.
At his sentencing in the Waitakere District Court on April 11 Judge Kevin Glubb said the impact of Rischbieter's abuse was planned and premeditated.
His victims were young and vulnerable and he breached their trust in "a most significant manner" with the offending, described as intrusive and sexually intense.
"The impact of this sort of offending is significant and long lasting… the ripples from this form of abuse continue to radiate out for many years and in unpredictable ways," he said.
"The harm done cannot be underestimated."
Judge Glubb said he would not have been satisfied that "the need for denunciation, deterrence, accountability or the protection of the community" would be met by anything other than a jail sentence.
Rischbieter only needed to serve a third of the total sentence before he became eligible for parole.
His victim received a letter stating his first Parole Board hearing would happen in early December.
Her reaction was pure anger, her stepmother told the Herald.
She said the eight months Rischbieter had served in prison was shorter than the time it took for the matter to go through the court system.
It took more than 12 months from his arrest to when he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty - and then they had to wait for sentencing.
"She is angry and just can't understand why 26 months in jail isn't just that," her stepmother said.
"Why go through the heartache of the police interviews and stress for him to only serve eight months?"
In New Zealand, offenders do not apply for parole - their eligibility date is automatically set by the courts on the day they are sentenced.
If they are not ordered to serve a minimum term of imprisonment, offenders sentenced to more than two years' jail become eligible for parole after one third of the sentence has been served.
Rischbieter was sentenced to 26 months meaning he becomes eligible for parole after serving just over 8-and-a-half months behind bars.
The victim, now in her late teens, her father and stepmother intend to address the Parole Board on why the sex offending pastor should not be released.
"It's wrong... he has ruined [her] life and she is finding it hard to move forward," said her stepmother.
"She will never cope, it affects her every day due to the fact that when she misses her mum, her thoughts then turn to what Neil did while her mum was dying."
The stepmother provided her family's victim impact statements to the Herald.
She hoped that by showing the raw impact of his harrowing abuse would help people understand how serious he offending was.
The Parole Board confirmed Rischbieter was scheduled for a hearing in December.
If he is granted an early release from prison, the board must impose at least standard release conditions.
It may also impose special conditions on the offender.
The Victim Impact Statements
The victim and her family provided the Victim Impact Statements they wrote for sentencing to the Herald.
These have been abridged to protect their identities.
It is against the law to identify any victim of sexual crime or abuse.
Mum got diagnosed with cancer and was very sick.
Mum was very ill and Neil and (his wife) offered to look after me.
While MY MUM was dying of cancer and while NEIL was taking care of me he sexually abused me.
I told nobody - who would believe me? He was the pastor.
Mum died… Neil still abused me when I was in his care. Dad was grieving...
Any memory I have of my Mum revolves around Neil taking care of me… and him abusing.
Dad met (my stepmother) and I moved to (live with her).
The abuse stopped then.
Once (my stepmother) found out I was struggling with life she asked me if I had been abused.
I confided in her, she got the police involved and I have had counselling ever since.
Emotionally, I have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
Recently I have been self-harming. I don't know why I do it.
Neil took away my childhood and the memories of my mum and mostly my sexuality.
I hate my life sometimes.
I miss my mum, I don't have a good relationship with my dad (I blame Neil for this) and I hate that I have no memories of my mother because of what Neil did to me.
I don't understand why he did it, I just hate him and I never want to see him again.
Nothing will bring back my mum and I will never ever have happy memories of her final years because of what Neil did to me.
The victim's father:
Countless hours were spent in each other's company especially when my wife passed away from cancer... meals were shared, road trips and just lazing around to no end.
The kids absolutely adored them (Rischbieter and his wife).
My wife and I had so much trust in them that we named them as the kid's legal guardians in our will if I should pass away.
It was only a year ago when my partner confronted (my daughter) over some very erratic behaviour that we learnt the horrible secret that she has been carrying for the past 8 to 9 years.
And to make matters worse was that Neil's advance took place when her mum was still alive and suffering from cancer.
This is any parent's worst nightmare coming alive.
Seeing their innocent little girl's life turned around by a predator and all this while her mother was dying and family was grieving.
My partner and I had to deal with a very troubled teenager.
This caused an enormous amount of conflict in our household and led to a breakdown in our relationship due to the emotional strain this has caused.
(My daughter) is having a very difficult time...
She... saw her mother dying and then being sexually abused by a person that she trusted. All of this before her 13th birthday.
She is currently socially delayed, struggles with school and can't understand the consequence of her actions.
As a father, this very difficult to watch unfold.
The amount of guilt I have can't be explained.
The disbelief and anger towards Neil is unimaginable. I have since suffered from depression and am currently on medication.
Neil has taken away my child's innocence, tarnished her mother's memories and abused all trust.
You turned into a predator.
I will never forgive myself for not knowing what was going on under my nose and I have to live with the guilt for the rest of my live.
The fear I have for (my daughter's) future is real and that will keep me awake at night for the rest of my life.
I immediately realised that (my stepdaughter) was struggling socially and displayed significant warning signs of being sexually abused.
She was extremely withdrawn, secretive, showed an unusually active desire in boys for her age and had an "absolute" fear of returning to Auckland.
This abuse started when (she) was vulnerable.
Her mother was dying of cancer and Neil was entrusted to take care of her while her mother was dying in hospice and after her death.
It has affected our entire family… We have had many disagreements and the stress has been immense.
(My stepdaughter) has been self harming.
(She) has become a compulsive liar.
(She) is socially delayed for her age and struggles with sexuality and relationships.
(She) struggles at school and has a poor attention span. All of these factors relate back to Neil and the sexual abuse he subjected her to.
I would like to emphasise that my biggest fear for (my) dear (stepdaughter) is that she will end her life.
How much can a girl of her age tolerate? Neil has done this to her.
Some of the questions from her have been:
• Do the church know?
• Did he do it to anyone else?
• How did Dad not know, why didn't he protect me?
I have personally been through a lot of emotions from denial, shock and also anger at what this man has done to (my stepdaughter) and how it has affected our family already and how it is going to continue to affect us in the future.
Neil has taken away many memories of her late mother - those memories will never be happy and her final years of life were spent with a predator who sexually abused (her) while her mother was dying.
To me Neil is dead. He has taken away (my stepdaughter's) childhood.
She has been scarred for life and I absolutely fear for her future.
I have nothing but contempt for this man.
DO YOU NEED HELP?
If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you've ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone call the confidential Safe to Talk crisis helpline on: 0800 227 233 (08002B SAFE).
Alternatively contact your local police station.
If you have been abused, remember it's not your fault.
OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE
0800 543 354 or 09 5222 999 within Auckland (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
: 0800 376 633 ,free text 234 or email
Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
– 0800 726 666.