A woman who was sexually violated as a 15-year-old by a man she trusted says he has taken away her innocence.
The woman, now 23, confronted her abuser in the Nelson District Court on Monday during his sentencing for unlawful sexual connection with a female aged 12-16.
“My innocence is something I will never get back and the privilege of being a child was taken away by him,” she said in court as she faced the man in the dock.
The man, whose name and occupation is suppressed, “groomed” the girl by paying her special attention at a time when she was vulnerable, the court heard.
Judge Paul Kellar said the man taught the girl to perform a variety of sexual activities during their time together between September and October 2008.
The girl used to babysit his children and would sometimes stay overnight, he said.
The sexual offending took place in the man’s car and in the privacy of a bedroom at his family home.
The man pleaded guilty to a representative charge following a sentencing indication he requested part-way through a jury trial last month.
The woman said she had “self-sabotaged” relationships since the offending as she had a “built-in fear of allowing anyone to be close to me”.
“It made me lonely for a very long time,” she said.
“I’ve had to work very hard and still have to work very hard on a daily basis to trust people.”
She said she now has a partner, who was supporting her in court, who she loved completely.
“With him I am protected by harm and my days are filled with endless love.
“I am really happy with my life now and the endless and unlimited potential for where my life can go.”
The court heard that the man has written an apology letter to the woman, but she has yet to read it.
Crown prosecutor Jackson Webber said the offending amounted to a “gross breach of trust”. He said a lengthy home detention sentence was appropriate.
Defence counsel, Pip Hall QC, said the man had lost his job and won’t be able to return to the profession.
He was at low risk of reoffending and had offered to pay emotional harm reparation.
“This case has had a massive impact for all concerned. It has been probably life changing for both sides of the equation.”
Judge Kellar said the impact of the offending on the victim “is not to be underestimated”.
He sentenced the man to 10 months’ home detention and ordered him to pay the victim $5000 in the way of emotional harm reparation.