Otago Daily Times

Accusers claim threats made after sexual abuse by carer


AUCKLAND: The Crown has opened its court case against a former Child, Youth and Familyappr­oved carer who is accused of sexually abusing eight teenage boys and threatenin­g to kill one.

Earl William Opetaia, a former boxing coach who cared for young boys at an Auckland home in the earlytomid 2000s, pleaded not guilty to all 33 charges which included sexual violation and indecency against boys under 16.

In the High Court at Auckland, Crown lawyer Belle Archibald said Opetaia used these boys in his care — many of who were vulnerable — for his own sexual gratificat­ion.

She said this occurred over years while he was being paid by the State to take care of them.

Ms Archibald said Opetaia then went on to threaten some of them with physical or sexual violence if they told anyone about what happened, including threatenin­g to kill one and get his ``connection­s'' or ``the gang' ' on to him.

The Crown alleged Opetaia told one boy ``I get what I want, when I want''.

The particular­s of the alleged sexual abuse the Crown says occurred are too graphic to publish.

Ms Archibald told the jury the main decision they would have to make was determinin­g whether these events happened as alleged. Evidence from complainan­ts will be given throughout the trial.

Child, Youth and Family was a government agency and predecesso­r to Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry for Children.

Defence counsel Anoushka Bloem said Opetaia does not accept the allegation­s and that they ``are untrue''.

``He did not abuse them, sexually or physically. He did not abuse them. He helped them,'' she said.

She said the complainan­ts were trying to make money by alleging sexual abuse in state care. She suggested that many of the complainan­ts had spent time in the same jail block and had a long history of lying and other complaints of abuse.

Ms Bloem said the ``fabricated' ' complaints were raised only once police started to speak to those formerly cared for by Opetaia.

``They are claims for money,'' Ms Bloem said.

She said there were many ``success stories'' as a result of Opetaia's care for the boys, which contrast with the allegation­s because the claims are not true.

The trial, before a jury and Justice Gault, is set down for six weeks. — RNZ

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