Terence John O'Connor
O'Connor (a former school caretaker) lay on top of the complainant in his home and simulated intercourse. His offending was described as "offensive and degrading" saying it was "a gross breach of trust". O'Connor and the complainant's father were very close friends.
From Christchurch Press story 27th November 2004
Courts had to send the message that indecently assaulting children meant jail, a judge has said. In the Christchurch District Court, Terence O'Connor, 63, who was found guilty by a jury of three counts of indecently assaulting a girl under 12, was jailed for two years by Judge Phil Moran. He said the main purposes of the sentence were to denounce the conduct, to vindicate the victim - "and to send the message from the courts that sexual abuse of children will result in jail". The judge noted the age difference - the victim was aged eight at the time and O'Connor 60 - and said it involved a huge breach of trust. While the offending was at the lower end of the scale, the effects on the child were profound, he said.
The offences involved O'Connor simulating sex on two occasions, while both were fully clothed, and putting his hand down her underwear on another. "She is now afraid and very cautious around males, and she suffers tantrums on a weekly basis," he said. "She has had to be disabused of the idea it was all her fault." As well, she suffered painful headaches, sleep disturbances and now had an eating disorder. She was not the only victim. Her wider family and O'Connor's family had all suffered, the judge said. Prosecutor Deidre Orchard said a custodial sentence was inevitable. O'Connor continued to deny responsibility and portrayed himself as the victim, she said. Lawyer Jonathan Eaton said it was opportunistic behaviour, with no prior scheming or manipulation of children.
The offending had terrible consequences for O'Connor, his marriage having failed and a 20-year friendship ended. He was a first offender who had led an otherwise blameless life, and suffered serious health problems. He was assessed at low risk of reoffending, and had voluntarily moved away from the area, Eaton said. The judge noted O'Connor suffered a mental breakdown in 2001, and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. No doubt the guilt and distress he suffered because of the abuse played a part in the breakdown. But he showed no remorse, was in a state of denial and had resiled from the admissions he once made. A special condition of sentence was that O'Connor undertake rehabilitative programmes to address the offending. Given the nature of the crimes and the profound effects on the victim, leave to apply for home detention would be refused, the judge said.
Date of Birth
1941 (D.O.B. is approximate)
Was sentenced to 2 years in November 2004
Successfully cut to 9 months on appeal
Sentenced to 2 years 2 months in November 2012
Additional Photos & Files
Associated Media Links Terence John O'Connor Appeal Notes
OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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