The Timaru Herald
Abuse leaves girl ‘terrified of own bed’
Man a ‘product of destructive environment’ he grew up in
A young girl is now ‘‘terrified of her own bed’’ after more than three years of sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather, the Timaru District Court heard on Thursday.
‘‘Because of you, I changed,’’ the girl said in a victim impact statement read to the court by a family member.
The girl described wearing baggy clothes to hide her body and staying out after school because she was too scared to go home.
‘‘I am now coming out of my hidey-hole. I do stuff without you telling me not to,’’ her statement said. ‘‘I feel nothing for you.’’
Judge Joanna Maze jailed the girl’s 34-year-old stepfather for three years, four months after he pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection and five of doing an indecent act on the girl, who was aged 9 when the abuse began.
The South Canterbury man was also registered as a child sex offender, issued a first strike under the three-strikes law, and granted final name suppression to protect the identity of the girl and her family.
In a summary of facts presented to the court, Crown prosecutor Anne-Marie McRae said the man offended against the girl numerous times over more than three years – cornering her in the bedroom, lounge, or bathroom of their home while her mother was at work or otherwise out.
‘‘The complainant was not physically injured during these incidents, but has been left terrified of her own bed and fearful for her safety.’’
The girl’s mother wept as she told the court the family had been left ‘‘emotionally scarred’’ by the offending, and her daughter’s ‘‘journey to processing what you’ve done has only just begun’’.
‘‘All I want is my little girl back, but you took that away from me,’’ she said.
She was ‘‘battling day-in, dayout’’ to put the family back together.
‘‘You’re meant to be their knight in shining armour, but instead you’re their worst enemy.’’
Judge Maze told the man the girl’s ‘‘entire family is in need of healing as a result of your wrongdoing’’.
The man had been sexually and physically abused during his ‘‘impaired and traumatic upbringing’’, the judge said.
‘‘It’s led to you seeking entirely inappropriate and abusive kinds of support from others, harmful to them, when you had absolutely no right to do so and in breach of trust to a significant degree.’’
Judge Maze set the starting point for sentencing at six years’ imprisonment, reducing it by 45 per cent to reflect the man’s early guilty plea and the fact he was a ‘‘product of the wholly destructive environment’’ he grew up in.
‘‘All I want is my little girl back, but you took that away from me. You’re meant to be their knight in shining armour, but instead you’re their worst enemy.’’
Victim’s mother tells defendant