More than 20 years after sexually abusing a 5-year-old boy, a Central Otago business owner and family man has been brought to justice.

His identity, however, will remain a secret.

The defendant — aged in his 40s — appeared in the Dunedin District Court yesterday where he was sentenced to 12 months' home detention and granted
final name suppression by Judge Michael Turner.

The order was made on the basis publication of the man's conviction for sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection would adversely affect his business, which would unfairly impact his wife and children.

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His wife, the court heard, was involved in various community groups and would have to give them up if the news broke of her husband's historical crime.

The Crown did not oppose the imposition of home detention or the suppression order.

The sex offence, which took place in 1996, came to light when the victim went to police in 2013.

When interviewed the follow ing year, the defendant denied anything had taken place, and no charges were laid.

But in April things changed. The victim called his abuser and the man apologised for his behaviour, essentially admitting wrongdoing.

Armed with the confession, police again spoke to him and he admitted the sexual violation.

Despite only coming clean at the second opportunity, Judge Turner said the defendant was "truly remorseful".

The act, which was the subject of the charge was brief and opportunistic, he said.

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In 1996, the defendant moved into a family home as a boarder. While pleasuring himself in the bathroom, the man called the 5-year-old boy in.

After the violation had taken place, he told the boy not to inform his mother.

Though the incident only lasted seconds, the victim _ who read a statement through an audio-visual link from Europe — said it had plagued him throughout his life.

"Being a child victim is a life sentence with no chance of release or parole," he said.

"You will get another opportunity to live your life . . . Your violation of me will likely never go away."

The victim said he had been unable to trust anyone for a long time and been intensely suicidal at times.

"You showed me nothing makes sense . . . that terrible things happen to good people," he said.

"[Your penalty] will never come close to the sentence you gave me."

Judge Turner noted the defendant had no previous convictions and gave him credit for his guilty plea and $5000 he had made available for the victim. "It should not be seen as an attempt to buy the result or buy justice. Payment can never undo the damage you have caused," the judge said.