Man charged over sexual assaults at retreat

5:28 pm on 30 November 2017

A 61-year old man has appeared in court on charges of sexual abuse against cleaners from Japan and Taiwan who were staying at a retreat on the East Cape.

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Photo: 123rf

The man was arrested on Tuesday and appeared in Whakatāne District Court today.

He was remanded to reappear on 19 December.

The alleged offending at Maraehako Bay Retreat first came to police attention in September. The investigation to date had found at least two former employees were abused between 2013 and this year.

Police said the women, in their mid to late 20s, were from Japan and Taiwan and were working at the retreat as cleaners in exchange for accommodation and food when the offending occurred.

Detective Ash Clements from the Eastern Bay of Plenty Adult Sexual Assault Team said there was a concerning pattern of behaviour exhibited in the offending against the two victims, who were at the retreat at different times and are not known to each other.

"We are seeking anyone who has previously visited the Maraehako Bay Retreat, worked in any capacity at the retreat ... members of the community, who have information that is relevant," he said.

"We would like to hear from anyone who may have had similar experiences at the retreat to come forward to police."

Mr Clements said any other victims who make contact will be be treated with respect.

"We will do everything we can to support them."