19 Mar 2015

Watchdog to release teen sex ring report

8:24 am on 19 March 2015

The Independent Police Conduct Authority will this morning rule on whether the investigation into an Auckland teenage sex ring was adequate.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Grant Nicholls,Detective Inspector Karyn Malthus and Detective Superintendent Andy Lovelock at a media conference yesterday.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Grant Nicholls, Detective Inspector Karyn Malthus and Detective Superintendent Andy Lovelock. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

The so-called Roastbusters were a group of West Auckland teenagers who allegedly boasted online about having sex with drunk, underage girls.

The investigation looked at eight incidents involving seven victims and five suspects.

It involved up to 110 potential victims, and 35 young men were linked to the case.

However, the police decided not to charge anyone over the alleged offending.

The findings of the Independent Police Conduct Authority investigation into the police's handling of the case will be released this morning.

This will be the Authority's second report on the issue.

Judge Sir David Carruthers will announce the findings at 11am.

An advocate for survivors of sexual assault, Louise Nicholas, is calling for training for all police in how to deal properly with sexual assault complaints.

Ms Nicholas told Morning Report the police do a poor job dealing with such cases.

"I've always said that they screwed it up big time. So for me it was like they were discouraging our young people to come forward to police when bad things were happening.

"So I'm hoping that this report highlights the need for the training that police officers need."

Ms Nicholas said police leaders are being trained but that needs to be extended to include frontline staff.


  • 2011: Victim lays formal complaint to the police against the Roastbusters, an alleged group of young Auckland men who boast online about having sex with drunk, underage girls. A total of four complaints by victims were made to the police between 2011 and 2012.
  • April 2012: The police tell Green Bay High School about an incident at a party involving one of its then-students, Beraiah Hales.
  • May 2012: Beraiah Hales leaves Green Bay High School.
  • November 3rd 2013: Media reports emerge of a group of teenagers calling themselves the Roastbusters, who upload videos to the internet of themselves bragging about having sex with drunk and underage girls. Detective Inspector Bruce Scott says the police are aware of the group. However, "none of the girls have been brave enough" to make formal complaints.
  • November 5th 2013: Superintendent Bill Searle rejects the suggestion that the police's investigation into the Roastbusters was affected by the involvement of an officer's son in the group.
  • November 6th 2013: A 15-year-old girl comes forward to say she laid a formal complaint with police in 2011. Police later confirm this is true.
  • November 7th 2013: The then-Police Minister, Anne Tolley, asks the Independent Police Conduct Authority to investigate.
  • November 11th 2013: Child sexual abuse specialist Detective Inspector Karyn Malthus named as head of "Operation Clover", the police's investigation into the Roastbusters.
  • Radio talkback hosts Willie Jackson and John Tamihere taken off the air after much-criticised interview with a young woman about the Roastbusters.
  • November 16th 2013: Nationwide protests against the Roastbusters and 'rape culture' take place.
  • November 21st 2013: A petition with more than 110,000 signatures presented to the Government asking for justice for the young women who were victimised by the Roastbusters.
  • December 11th 2013: Then-Police Commissioner Peter Marshall faces tough questions by a select committee in Wellington about the police's response to the Roastbusters case.
  • May 22nd 2014: The Assistant Police Commissioner, Malcolm Burgess, says police accept the Independent Police Conduct Authority's findings that the police mishandled media queries about the Roastbusters case.
  • October 29, 2014: Police release the findings of Operation Clover and announce no prosecutions will be laid against those allegedly involved in the Roastbusters group.
  • October 30th, 2014: An online petition is created demanding a review of the police decision not to lay charges against those allegedly involved in the Roastbusters.