A former North Otago man who subjected a teenage girl to prolonged sexual abuse was a "mongrel" who had betrayed the family, the victim's mother says.

In the Oamaru District Court yesterday, retired farmer and former North Otago Federated Farmers president Ross Edgar Ewing, 71, was sentenced to nine months' home detention after he earlier pleaded guilty to six charges — four of which were representative — of doing an indecent act with a girl aged between 12 and 16.

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His offending took place between 2002 and 2004 at a rural North Otago property and started when the girl, the daughter of a couple he was close friends with, was 14.

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A victim impact statement, read by the girl's aunt, described the girl's ordeal at the hands of Ewing, and his "sick, twisted desire to molest a young, teenage girl".

"I didn't ever want to be abused sexually but I was, because of you.

"I went from being a confident girl with a bright outlook on life to struggling to get out of bed every day."

Ross Ewing, pictured at his Kauru Hill farm with dogs Boss and Joy, in 2015. File photo / Sally Booker, ODT
Ross Ewing, pictured at his Kauru Hill farm with dogs Boss and Joy, in 2015. File photo / Sally Booker, ODT

The abuse affected the girl's schooling and she now had trust issues, the statement said.

"Because of you, I would cry in the privacy of my bedroom ... and pray that you would stop doing these things to me.

"The hate and anger I have for you is overwhelming."

A second statement read by the girl's mother said Ewing had "betrayed" her family.

"I thought she was safe, but in fact I was sending her straight to the lion's den."

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She described Ewing as a "flaming mongrel".

Ewing, now living in Dunedin, showed little emotion as the sentence was handed down and did not glance at members of the victim's family, who glared at him as he walked past the packed public gallery.

People gathered outside the courthouse after sentencing, waiting for Ewing to emerge.

However, he was escorted out a back entrance — a move some described as "gutless".

A police summary of facts said Ewing often asked the girl to help him on his farm.

He would give her gifts and compliments, hug her, and kiss her on the cheek.

He grew more bold over time and started kissing her, touching her breasts and genitals, and performed an indecent act on her.

Ewing's offending was most brazen one evening between March and June 2004 when he, the victim, her father and several others went rabbit shooting on his farm.

Ross Ewing is a former Federated Farmers North Otago president. File photo / ODT
Ross Ewing is a former Federated Farmers North Otago president. File photo / ODT

At one point, under the cover of darkness, Ewing grabbed the girl's hand and placed it on his crotch while she was seated next to her father in the farm vehicle the defendant was driving.

On an earlier occasion, when the pair were sitting in a tractor cab after feeding cattle, he unzipped her jeans and performed an indecent act on her, before dropping her home.

Other offending happened in a paddock and inside an outbuilding.

He pleaded with the girl to keep quiet, saying "not to tell your friends about us, they might take us the wrong way" and that the abuse was a "little secret and that if anyone found out we would be in so much trouble".

He was also ordered to pay the victim an emotional harm payment of $10,000.

SEXUAL HARM - 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 contact Safe to Talk confidentially:

• Call 0800 044 334

• Text 4334

• Email support@safetotalk.nz

• For more info or to web chat visit www.safetotalk.nz

Alternatively contact your local police station -

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE - DO YOU NEED HELP?

If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

If you're in danger now:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.

• Run outside and head for where there are other people.

• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.

• Take the children with you.

• Don't stop to get anything else.

• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay

Where to go for help or more information:

• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843

• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633

• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450

• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584

• Ministry of Justice:

• National Network of Stopping Violence:

• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent.

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Where to get help:
Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youth services: (06) 3555 906
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
CASPER Suicide Prevention
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.