A businessman has been convicted of sexually abusing boys in his care over a lengthy period.



In the High Court at Auckland this week, a jury found 46-year-old financial consultant Nigel Greig Hibberd, of Greenlane, guilty on 16 charges of indecent assault involving five boys aged 12 to 15.



He was cleared on two charges of sexual violation.



Before the trial started last Monday, Hibberd admitted charges of sodomy and indecent assault involving another boy.

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The offending stretched from 1975 to 1993.



Prosecutor Peter Dean said it was extensive offending against youngsters while Hibberd was in a position of trust. Two of the youngsters were foster children.



At the time of the offending against these youths, Hibberd was married. The couple later split up and Hibberd acknowledged that he was gay, but denied that the marriage had never been consummated.



One of the foster children said he felt there was no one he could turn to for help. Another youngster said that it was a "gruesome" part of his life.



Hibberd, represented by Jonathan Wiles, denied the allegations made by the boys during his trial.



After the verdicts Mr Wiles said outside court: "He [Hibberd] had a problem with his own sexuality in the days when the act of homosexuality was illegal.



"When he acknowledged he was gay, he sought older partners."



Justice Noel Anderson remanded Hibberd in custody for sentencing.