An elderly Wellington man convicted of sex offending in the 1970s and 80s will spend the next 12 months in his home after escaping a jail term, partly because of his declining health.
The 89-year-old was granted interim name suppression when he appeared in the Wellington District Court today, pending an appeal to the High Court for the suppression to be made permanent.
He had earlier admitted 42 charges, including 39 of indecency with girls and a boy under 12, along with attempted rape and a sexual violation.
The offending, which occurred between 1973 and 1991, involved children aged from seven to their early teens.
As some of his victims read statements to the court the man shook his head and muttered no.
Judge Peter Butler said that showed he clearly did not understand the long-lasting effects of his actions.
"I have to say your reaction during the reading of the victim impact statement leads me to the view you simply don't understand the gravity and the seriousness of what you did to these complainants. The effects on them have been long-lasting and have manifested themselves in very many different ways."
Six of the victims read statements to the court, saying they felt betrayed and angry about what he had done. One said he had stolen her childhood.
As well as the home detention sentence, the man also agreed to pay $30,000 in reparation, which will be shared.
Detective David Bealing led the investigation and says the case shows it is worthwhile for victims to come forward, regardless of how long ago abuse happened.
Speaking out about abuse will help victims find peace of mind and enable them to reach their full potential, he says.