Eric Rowland Prattley
A former South Canterbury man who was abused as a child has received a seven-year prison term for sexual offences involving four adolescent boys.
Eric Rowland Prattley, 47, was sentenced by Justice John Hansen in the High Court at Timaru yesterday.
Prattley was due to go on trial last week, but changed his pleas before the trial began, pleading guilty to three charges of indecent assault on boys aged between 12-16, four charges of sexual violation, three charges of performing an indecent act on a young person and attempted sexual violation.
The offences related to four young victims, some of whom Prattley had known since they were babies. The offending occurred between the early 1990s and January last year.
Prattley had manipulated vulnerable young boys, Ian Murray (for the Crown) told the court, adding it was difficult for the boys to complain as Prattley was a respected family friend.
Mr Murray noted the pre-sentence report stated Prattley had little insight into the harm his offending had caused.
An unusual aspect of the case was the boys continued to visit Prattley and in spite of living with their parents or guardians, had not told the adults of the offending, Prattley's counsel Pip Hall told the court.
He noted Prattley had always been willing to plead guilty to some of the offences at an earlier stage but had not considered some of the offending to be as serious as the victims had indicated to police, therefore was initially hesitant to plead guilty to all charges.
Prattley's lack of insight was something only counselling could address, Mr Hall said. In spite of that he was extremely remorseful for what had happened, and had offered to make payments of $5000 to each of the victims.
There had been no suggestion of him offending on bail. He had become a Christian and had been supported by those in the church he had attended.
Prattley was keen to undertake a sex offenders programme while in prison.
Justice Hansen said aggravating factors included Prattley being a trusted friend of the victims' families, and a mentor to the boys, taking them fishing and hunting.
He had groomed the boys, showing them pornographic material and giving them alcohol before the offending took place.
Victim impact reports indicated the incidents had been traumatic for all four boys, impacting on every aspect of their lives. That was likely to continue for many years to come.
Prattley had told the probation officer he had never forced the boys into anything, and considered they were happy to join in the fun. He considered two of the boys were in need of solace which he was able to offer.
The report spoke of Prattley coming from a violent and dysfunctional home and having had a violent father. Prattley himself had been sexually abused when he was at primary school.
The pre-sentence report spoke of there being a high chance of him reoffending unless there was extensive intervention.
It also concerned Justice Hansen that Prattley was attempting to transfer blame with comments such as suggesting the boys had been happy to keep visiting him and had not told their families. There was no question of the boys having consented to such behaviour.
While the abuse of trust was not as severe as in a priest-parishioner or teacher-pupil situation, he had very much taken advantage of the trust he had as a family friend.
Justice Hansen considered a starting point of nine years in prison for the most serious offences, sexual violation. Taking into account his guilty pleas and other factors, he reduced that sentence to seven years.
Prattley received a four-year sentence for the attempted sexual violation, and 18 months for the indecent assaults. All terms of imprisonment were to be served concurrently. Justice Hansen found the usual minimum length of sentence was insufficient, and ordered he serve a minimum of half his sentence.
Prattley was ordered to pay $5000 reparation to each of the victims.
- The Timaru Herald
Date of Birth
1960 (D.O.B. is approximate)
At large in Christchurch
Additional Photos & Files
Associated Media Links Prison after indecent assaults on teens
Eric Rowland Prattley Sentencing Notes
OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
|Event Date||Event||Court Location||Offence Type||Offence Date||Committed While||Sentence Imposed|
|10-9-2007||Sentencing Date is approx||High Court Timaru||Sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection||16-10-1994||7 Years, Imprisonment||▼|