February 08, 2010

Court hears of sex victims' on-going trauma

A prison term has drawn a line under Tony John Streeter’s sex offending with under-age girls, but his impact on two Christchurch families clearly remains.

The 26-year-old has now moved to Auckland and entered his guilty pleas at the North Shore court in October.

Streeter has begun a three year six month jail term after his sentencing in the Christchurch District Court today.

He had admitted three charges of having sex with a 15-year-old girl and charges of indecently assaulting another girl, also aged 15.

Before the sentencing, he wrote a letter to the two victims. It has been given to crown prosecutor Ruth Thomas for a decision on whether it is appropriate to pass on to the girls.

Two victim impact statements were read at the sentencing before Judge David Saunders.

The families had waited a long time to see the sentencing go ahead. They attended court in Christchurch in early December expecting it to happen, but Streeter had not had the probation report done and said he had no means of getting down from Auckland.

On that day, Judge Saunders apologised to the families, set a new sentencing date, and ordered Streeter’s arrest and transport to Christchurch.

The father of the girl indecently assaulted by Streeter said her parents had spent weeks trying to work out why she cried uncontrollably, lost interest in school, and began throwing tantrums.

“Now she has convinced herself she’s completely worthless,” he said. The two girls had been traumatised and abused by a depraved adult.

“I deeply despise you. I hope you will not have the chance to wreak havoc in another family ever again,” said the father.

The girl who had intercourse with Streeter said she was “deeply confused and hurt by the actions and words of Tony”.

She said she felt guilty and kept blaming herself.

“He told me he loved me and talked of a future with me.”

She told how Streeter had often supplied her with alcohol and cannabis at the time of the offending.

The girl’s statement was read on her behalf in court. She explained: “I just can’t face him to tell him this in person. I still feel so empty, and full-on angry.”

Defence counsel Michael Starling said Streeter deserved a sentence reduction for pleading guilty to the charges before the hearing of depositions.

Streeter accepted a prison term was inevitable and would seek to transfer to Auckland — closer to his present home base — to attend the sex offenders’ rehabilitation programme while in custody.

Streeter told the pre-sentence report writer he was drinking heavily and smoking a lot of cannabis at the time and this may have contributed to his offending.

Judge Saunders noted Streeter had no previosu convictions and had pleaded guilty.

But he said there was an element of grooming in providing the drugs and alcohol.

There could be no issue of consent. Persons under 16 could not give their consent to this kind of activity.

He told Streeter: “The legislation is designed to protect young persons who don’t understand the impact of their conduct at the time.”

He said Streeter’s name was not suppressed, but the names of the girls and their families are automatically suppressed.