Peter Gavin Dunlop
A judge has defended his decision not to jail a former Rotorua youth aid police officer who molested a teenage swimmer 26 years ago.
Peter Gavin Dunlop, 55, was caught up in an investigation of police misconduct in Rotorua during the 1980s.
In the High Court at Wellington yesterday, Justice John Wild said Dunlop had been convicted just once and was not a threat to public safety.
He could see no point in locking Dunlop up.
Instead Justice Wild ordered him to pay $10,000 in reparations to his victim, now 40, and to do 100 hours' community work.
The woman said in her victim impact statement that Dunlop's actions had made her angry and resentful and affected her throughout her life.
She appeared with her husband in court yesterday and wept during the sentencing.
Dunlop, wearing a grey suit and with a shaved head and goatee, listened to the judge without expression.
His lawyer, Greg King, had proposed the $10,000 fine and asked the judge not to imprison Dunlop because it would make it harder for him to return to Australia, where he lives.
Dunlop was found guilty by a jury last month on one count of indecent assault for putting his hand inside the bathing suit of the 14-year-old girl.
The incident happened in 1980 in the Polynesian Pools in Rotorua.
Dunlop was 29 or 30 at the time and married with children.
He and the girl's father, who were friends, had taken their children to the thermal pools for a family outing.
The girl's father had been talking to Dunlop and was just metres away when the policeman molested her in the murky water.
Justice Wild told Dunlop it was "a novel and startling experience" for the girl, and she had been "struck dumb by the shock and audacity of what you did".
She did not say anything about it until she was approached by police 24 years later.
The woman testified during the trial that Dunlop had molested her in her home and raped her on another occasion at his house, where she had been babysitting his children.
Jurors acquitted him on those charges.
Two others charges of indecent assault were dropped during the trial when it was revealed that a second complainant was 16 when the alleged incidents happened.
Justice Wild said he believed the testimony of both women, including the second complainant.
"I am sure you did to her the things she alleged," he said.
Dunlop was a youth aid police officer in Rotorua in the 1980s and had abused his position of trust in the community, Justice Wild said.
Although skilled in dealing with teenagers, Dunlop's "skills were misused" in befriending the girls and engaging in sexual conduct with them.
He was arrested as part of Operation Austin, an investigation into misconduct, mainly sexual, by Rotorua police in the 1980s.
Justice Wild insisted Dunlop's conduct was different from others caught as part of the investigation because it involved private conduct with his babysitters and was not directly related to his police work.
He said Dunlop had only seen the girls at school as part of his police duties dealing with teenagers.
Date of Birth
1951 (D.O.B. is approximate)
Three Strikes Status
Sentenced to 100 hours community work and ordered to pay $10,000 reparation in July 2006
Additional Photos & Files
Associated Media Links Peter Gavin Dunlop Sentencing Notes
'No point' in jailing ex-cop in sex case
OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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