Man denies sexually abusing five cousins

A man has been accused of sexually abusing five children aged between 10 and 15, all of whom are his partner's nieces and nephews. Photo: Supplied.

WARNING: This story contains details of alleged sexual abuse and may distress some readers

A man has been accused of sexually abusing five children aged between 10 and 15, all of whom are his partner's nieces and nephews.

A man says he doesn’t know why five cousins - the nieces and nephews of his partner - have made up allegations of repeated sexual assaults.

He faces 27 charges of sexual and physical assaults against the complainants, aged between 10 and 15 at the time of the alleged abuse.

A jury has heard from the five cousins, and adults they confided in, during the trial at the Tauranga District Court last week.

Forced oral sex. Playing with his genitals in front of them. Smacks on their bottoms. Groping as they slept. Hands under their clothing.

These broad allegations have made up the bulk of the Crown case against the 26-year-old.

In evidence given in court, the defendant told his lawyer David Bates that he didn’t know why the children made up the allegations.

With every charge put to him, he replied: “I did not do that, sir”.

He told his lawyer he wasn’t in the house at the time of many of the allegations, as he worked long hours.

During cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Catherine Harold listed the names of the five complainants, and two of the witnesses who had given evidence in support of allegations, and said: “Are you telling us they are all wrong?”

He replied, “yes”.

The abuse is alleged to have happened over several years, primarily in houses where the cousins were living with relatives who were not their parents.

The defendant had been one of the adults living at the same address, in Kawerau, but he told the court he “barely knew” the cousins.

He said his long work hours, close relationship with his partner and preoccupation with his own young children meant his time was accounted for, and he hadn’t had close involvement with the teenagers and other young people in the house.

During their evidential videos and evidence given in court, the complainants all said they had, over time, become aware they were all being offended against to varying levels.

In some instances the man had entered their bedrooms, or attempted to touch their “private parts” as they slept in the lounge, they have alleged.

One of them had witnessed another allegedly “being forced” to give the man oral sex outside.

He had yelled out the teenage boy’s name which had “allowed him to get away”, he said in evidence.

That same boy had also allegedly witnessed the man playing with his genitals in front of another cousin, a young girl, after the defendant had exited the bathroom.

The cousins had begun to warn each other to “be cautious” around their aunty’s partner but, at that stage, didn’t confide in any adults.

At least two of the complainants told the court they hadn’t had any trusted adults they could tell.

“I didn’t believe they could help me,” one of the cousins said.

The court heard from one of the aunties who’d been confided in, that they had first attempted to manage the matter themselves after things began to come to light.

She told the court she had confronted the defendant, with her partner at her side, about some of the things the defendant is alleged to have done, and he had broken down crying and said he was sorry.

The woman said in evidence that she had read him Bible verses about taking responsibility for sin.

But the defendant denied this conversation ever happened, and said he never got upset.

He told the court under cross-examination that he never said sorry as he doesn’t “have anything to be sorry for”.

The court heard evidence that family meetings were held on at least two occasions before a decision was made to report the alleged offending to police.

The teenage boy who alleged the most serious and repeated abuse, told the court he finally confided in an adult when it all became too much.

He said he had lost count of how many times he had allegedly been forced to perform sexual acts on the defendant, to the point he’d “got used to it”.

But he said after the defendant had been to a church service in Hamilton with other family members, he returned to the house and the teen was again “forced” to perform oral sex.

“[He went to that] church thing, I think it was a deliverance ... passing all your sin away to God, and then as soon as they got back he got me to [perform a sexual act].”

The teenage boy felt angry and upset and no longer wanted to feel afraid in his “own home”.

He’d confided in an aunty, who gave evidence in court, who said the boy had been crying as he told her what had been happening.

She said he hadn’t wanted to go to the police, however, as he hadn’t wanted to cause trouble for the family.

The court will hear closing addresses by the Crown and defence on Monday, before Judge David Cameron.


Where to get help:
If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you've ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone, contact Safe to Talk confidentially, any time 24/7:
• Call 0800 044 334
• Text 4334
• Email
• For more info or to web chat visit
Alternatively contact your local police station - click here for a list.
If you have been sexually assaulted, remember it's not your fault.

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