Former senior pastor Donald Corrie Lake has been described as a "skilled, manipulating paedophile" by one of three victims who trusted him.
The former Taupō church leader, who now lives in Whangārei, was sentenced to nine months' home detention by Judge Phillip Cooper after appearing in Rotorua District Court for sentencing yesterday.
Lake, 64, had earlier pleaded guilty to two representative charges of indecent assault on a person aged under 16 and a further charge of indecent assault.
The charges relate to incidents from 2014 to 2017. The maximum penalty for each is seven years' imprisonment.
After the sentence was handed down, a member of the public swore at the judge, saying it was not justice and Lake needed to be put in prison, where he would know what it was like to be a victim of sexual abuse.
Judge Cooper said outbursts such as that would normally result in a charge of contempt of court but he acknowledged emotions were running high and instead instructed the man not to be allowed back in the courtroom.
Judge Cooper described the offending as a "gross breach of trust" from someone who was supposed to foster the principles of Christianity.
The offending involved repeated times when Lake would inappropriately touch their private parts.
At the time of the offending, Lake was aged between 57 and 60.
After taking into account submissions from lawyers, Judge Cooper arrived at a sentence of 18 months' imprisonment.
However, he instead imposed nine months' home detention, which he described as being more "meaningful".
He explained his sentence to the 14 members of the public, saying Lake would need to be put into isolation in prison because he was a child sex offender to protect his safety and therefore he would not have the benefit of taking part in rehabilitation programmes.
One of Lake's victims read his victim impact statement to the court, at times through tears.
The man said he was contacted by police last year about Lake's offending against him years before.
He said for the first time he had to confront his feelings of anxiety and shame at what went on whenever he was alone with Lake.
The victim said he was a boy at the time and should have been looked after, not perverted, abused and groomed.
"The offender is a skilled, manipulating paedophile."
He said he came to the realisation that he was being groomed by Lake and his actions weren't just "rough and tumble", they were "far more sinister".
He said Lake would orchestrate alone time with him, where unwelcomed touching occurred.
The actions made him feel confused why he would touch him like that when he was a church pastor who was supposed to be an honest and decent member of the public.
The man said the offending had tainted almost every aspect of his life since and he had missed out on career progressions.
The offending created a rift with his parents, who he initially blamed for trusting Lake with him. He said with weekly therapy he now had a stronger relationship with his parents.
He also held a great deal of anger towards his church as his faith was tested and he felt the church should have protected him.
While Crown solicitor Amanda Gordon acknowledged the offending was not skin on skin, she said there was targeted touching.
Lake's lawyer, Ian Brookie, said the offending was committed by someone who had genuinely wanted to do his best for the congregation.
"Mr Lake is an upstanding member of the community who has done good but it is within that context that he overstepped the mark."
Brookie said Lake wasn't seeking to use his position within the church to offend and he reiterated that he had helped a lot of people.
Brookie said he would not be seeking name suppression for his client and Lake now faced national media attention.
"There is a fall from grace here."
He said Lake was now writing a book and his time of leading churches was over. He therefore would not be in a position to be in contact with children again.
"He is living a modest life in a unit in Whangārei."
As part of his home detention conditions, he is not allowed to be in unsupervised presence with anyone under the age of 16. He was also not allowed to "enter or loiter" around schools, pools and parks", or anywhere where children might be.
His name would be added to the Child Sex Offender (CSO) Register.