More on Labour camp allegations

Following Allegation of sexual misconduct at Young Labour camp – more on this story is likely to emerge today.

The biggest issues seem to be why the police weren’t involved, why alcohol was supplied to under age people, and why didn’t Jacinda Ardern know anything about it until yesterday (her claim) while the Labour Party general secretary had known about it for a month.

RNZ round up from yesterday: PM investigating reports of sexual assault at Labour event

Tim Murphy has just been interviewed by RNZ – and he says that a senior Labour Cabinet Minister knew about it – but apparently not Ardern.

There also seems to have been concerned reactions from some parents, who only found out about the incidents when the news broke yesterday.

Ardern has no problem with Kirton not telling her. She waffles about this, around disclosure in preparation for media questions.

She says that Kirton acknowledges that it took too long to deal with the issue.

She fudges around the Cabinet Minister knowing but not informing her.

She acknowledges the party was at fault for being slow to deal with it. There was a three week lag between the camp and measures being taken to deal with it.

“Let me give you the reason why. The party president did know, we made s…Andrew Kirton made sure that he was aware, the senior vice president and the general secretary, this was a party function so the senior members of the party knew. The advice they had from those who specialise in this area, and we are not experts, was to be mindful of the wider circle who was aware in order to make sure they were protecting victims and acting in the best interest of victims.”

She is saying that senior members of the party knew, at least one senior Cabinet Minister knew, but she knew nothing.

Ardern sounds like she knows more about how this all played out, she rephrased her responses a number of times, and switched from ‘we’ to them.

Ardern is clear that the 20 year old who assaulted four 16 year olds was not a party member, but she says she doesn’t know details about their identity.

Ferguson: let’s just talk a little bit about this particular twenty year old, who is the twenty year old, is he a Labour Party staffer?

Ardern: No. No.

Ferguson: Is he a Labour party member?

Ardern: No. No.

Ferguson: Why was he at the summer camp?

Ardern: Good question. Very good question.

Ferguson: So you don’t know why this person was at the summer camp if he was not a member of the Labour Party?

Ardern: I believe he was associated with someone who was, but again I don’t know much beyond that.

I expect there will be more of this story to come out.





Matt Lauer apologises after sexual assault allegations

Matt Lauer, yet another high profile American, has apologised following sexual assault allegations against him – NBC News fires Matt Lauer after sexual misconduct review

Matt Lauer, a familiar face in morning news as the anchor of “Today” for two decades, was fired by NBC News on Wednesday after a female colleague made a detailed complaint accusing him of inappropriate sexual behavior during the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The accusation also noted that the alleged behavior continued in the workplace after the games, NBC News confirmed.

Later on Wednesday, The New York Times reported that two more women had made complaints about Lauer after he was fired. An unidentified former employee told The Times that Lauer sexually assaulted her in his office in 2001. NBC officials confirmed that two more accusers had come forward on Wednesday. And Variety published a more sweeping account of Lauer’s sexual misconduct with at least three women over several years.

In a memo to employees sent Wednesday morning, NBC News Chairman Andrew Lack said the complaint prompted a serious review and represented a “clear violation of our company’s standards.”

Lack said it was the first complaint lodged against Lauer, 59, for his behavior since he took over as anchor of the show in 1997, but there was “reason to believe” it may not have been an isolated incident.

“Our highest priority is to create a workplace environment where everyone feels safe and protected, and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are met with consequences, no matter who the offender,” Lack said.

Lauer denies some allegations but has apologised: Matt Lauer, fired ‘Today’ anchor accused of sexual misconduct, says ‘I am truly sorry’

Longtime “Today” anchor Matt Lauer broke his silence Thursday in a statement read on the show, saying he was “truly sorry” after a detailed complaint of sexual misconduct led to his firing.

Lauer said that not all of the allegations that have followed are correct, but he admitted that “there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed.” “Today” anchor Savannah Guthrie read the statement.

“There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC,” wrote Lauer, a married father of three.

“Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.

“Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I’m committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job,” he added. “The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It’s been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.”

That’s unusually direct and seems to take responsibility and sounds properly apologetic, but it’s unlikely to be the end of Lauer’s problems, after already being dumped from a very highly paid career with limited prospects of another similar job.

Police “not tolerating bad behaviour any more” (sexual assaults)

RNZ reports in ‘They’re not tolerating bad behaviour any more’:

A decade of independent scrutiny of how police treat sexual assault victims and how they investigate their own officers is about to end.

Ten years ago today a Commission of Inquiry led by Dame Margaret Bazley released a scathing report describing disgraceful conduct by officers over 25 years and a wall of silence protecting the men that women complained about.

The inquiry investigated historic sexual assault claims and misconduct from 1979 to 2004.

In 2007, Dame Margaret released her findings which pointed to systemic issues, evidence of disgraceful misconduct and a culture of scepticism around reported sexual assaults.

The case of Louise Nicholas prompted the Commission of Inquiry to be established in 2004.

Louise Nicholas vividly remembers how fearful she was, the day her story was made public on 1 January 2004.

“In talking with [journalist] Phil Kitchin, in putting the story out there publicly, ‘what am I going to get out of it?’

“And he said, ‘What do you want?’ And I said, ‘I need for the police to acknowledge, to stand up and say, ‘yeah, we’ve got a really, really bad culture and we need to do something about this.’ And Phil said, ‘Well, let’s call for a Commission of Inquiry’ … and that’s how it all got started.

“And then, as fate has it, police decided to investigate my allegations that came through the media.”

She said the investigation was important in enabling victims to come forward.

“The results were of course, acquittals. But, did I get my justice? As I sit here today, abso-bloody-lutely I did.

Mrs Nicholas said how police dealt with sexual assault survivors was the biggest change she wanted to see happen.

She said if her case had happened today, it would have been handled so much better by police.

“I’ve actually seen the change in how police are investigating their own. They’re not tolerating bad behaviour any more. We’ve got coppers out there on the front line actually stepping up and saying, ‘I’m not going to tolerate your behaviour’, and actually are speaking out. That’s huge.”

She said in recent years, she had dealt with a number of women who had been alleged victims of rape by police staff.

Many of those women got the justice they wanted, with their offenders being convicted and jailed, Mrs Nicholas said.

The inquiry investigated quite a few allegations.

The inquiry reviewed 313 complaints of sexual assaults against 222 police officers between 1979 and 2005.

Charges were laid in relation to 141 of those complaints.

As a result, 10 police officers or former officers were convicted of sexual assault, 20 accused were cleared and two officers took their own lives before their cases could be heard.

This shook things up in the Police force, as it should have.

Mike Bush, the third Police Commissioner since 2007, said the inquiry acted as a catalyst for reform.

“We’re now a very, very victim-focused organisation. We’re focused on being very high performing and we have excellent values that sit as the foundation of the New Zealand Police.”

He said the public could have confidence that complaints would be dealt with appropriately.

“If there are any complaints made, in regards to sexual complaints, whether it’s involving our staff or others, we act with absolute urgency, absolute transparency and absolute professionalism with the victim at the heart of everything we do.”

Making complaints of sexual assault is still not easy, but at least now the Police will take them seriously and deal with them much more appropriately.

Independent Police Conduct Authority chair Judge Sir David Carruthers said in a statement that it appeared the police had taken the recommendations very seriously.

“There is no doubt the genuine efforts that have been made to achieve the progress which has been reported.”

Dame Margaret says that since here inquiry there has been a huge cultural change in the Police Force.

“The Commissioner wasn’t always aware of what was happening out in the regions and there had been a culture of tending not to deal with things. But that has all changed.”

“There’s the observing public that take note of this.. and if they were aware of this sort of thing now.. they would be blowing the whistle very smartly I believe.

“I don’t think communities would tolerate that sort of behaviour today.”

There is much less open community tolerance of sexual crime now, and there needs to be zero tolerance of sexual offending by police officers, and zero tolerance of inappropriate handling of sexual assault complaints.

DNA nails historic offender

DNA has solved a twenty year old offence. It turns out to be a repeat offender – as often seems to be the case in sexual offences.

NZ wrestler Devon Bond admits 1994 rape after DNA hit

Former New Zealand representative wrestler Devon Charles Bond has admitted the horrific 1994 rape of a Christchurch woman, after a cold case DNA match.

Bond, 49, pleaded guilty on Monday in the High Court at Christchurch, on the morning his jury trial was due to begin.

The Crown will ask the court to consider an open-ended preventive detention sentence because Bond has a 1995 conviction for abducting a woman he put into the boot of his car.

It’s good to see DNA evidence helping solve historic offences. I hope it continues to nail repeat sexual offenders.

What has become apparent with sexual offending is that there seems to be a relatively small number of men who have been usually getting away multiple offences.

Obviously this has been bad, very bad, for the mostly female victims.

It’s also been a bad look for men in general, with some claims suggesting that sexual assaults have been perpetuated by an alarming number of men.

I’d like to see analysis of statistics on this, but I suspect that a relatively small proportion of men are responsible for the majority of assaults, especially those that are at the more serious send end of the scale.

‘Prominent New Zealander’ loses name suppression

A ‘prominent New Zealander’ has lost name suppression in an indecent assault case, but as it is subject to appeal the suppression won’t be lifted until March 19.

So while names still can’t be mentioned in relation to this case most people who are aware of such things will have a pretty good idea who it’s about, so today’s news reports add some detail to what was widely known.

Note that this is not the ‘prominent New Zealander’ referred to in this morning’s post Henare fined for breaching name suppression.

NZ Herald: Prominent New Zealander charged with indecent assault loses name suppression

A prominent New Zealander charged with indecent assault lost his bid for name suppression today.

But the man’s identity will remain protected for another month to allow him the chance to lodge an appeal.

The man denies the charges against him.

Heavy suppression orders cover the case, meaning the man cannot be identified, nor can his alleged victims or their ages.

So no names or speculation in comments please.

The charges faced by the man, who elected trial by jury, can now be revealed.

He is facing 12 charges of indecent assault against two people including two representative charges.

The charges, which include allegations of touching the complainants on the breast, buttocks, groin and thigh, are punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

These are potentially serious charges.

Some things that were previously unclear have been clarified now.

  • They are multiple unproven charges that will be defended.
  • It is for indecent assault (some speculation was that it was ‘just’ assault).
  • There are two alleged victims so it is not, for example, just husband versus wife charges.

“Representative charges” suggests some sort of ongoing alleged offending rather than a one off incident.

UPDATE: a bit of different detail in ther Stuff report: Prominent New Zealander in court on indecent assault charges

A prominent New Zealander has appeared in court facing 12 charges of indecent assault against two complainants.

The man made his second appearance in a district court today to apply for continued name suppression.

Judge Roy Wade denied the application and ruled the man’s name suppression would lapse in 20 working days – at 5pm on March 19 – unless an appeal was lodged in the High Court.

Most other details of the case are suppressed to protect the identity of the victims.

The man’s lawyer indicated an appeal would be lodged.

Judge Wade also suppressed the contents of today’s hearing.

The man pleaded not guilty and elected trial by jury.

He was remanded on bail to a further appearance in April.

Are politicians and police covering up a very dirty not-very–secet?

I’ve just read a post at a blog with a record of breaking supression orders, so I won’t link to it.

It details a number of known facts, plus information that matches rumours I’ve heard, and additional detail.

It’s particulrly disturbing.

First I’ll say that if they are inaccurate then it’s awful for those named to be associated unfairly. That’s can be a risk of suppression of information of something that many people have an interest in and a determination to make public.

But it talks of erring MPs and political and police cover-ups that could be protecting their own.

And it talks of sexual assault against children.

If true this is extremely serious. And it needs to be dealt with. If those who should won’t deal with it then it’s up to others to make it impossible for them not to.