William John Rankin
Sentenced to just 5 years in April 2006
Eligible for parole December 2007
From Christchurch Press story 22nd April 2006
Sexual abuse by a man then aged in his 20s has resulted many years later in a five-year jail sentence. The abuse against two young girls was revealed when, as adults in Australia, they disclosed what happened to the Queensland police, the Christchurch District Court was told. William John Rankin, 43, who admitted charges of rape, two counts of sexual violation by digital penetration and a charge of indecent assault, was jailed for five years by Judge Phil Moran. The judge said that between 1985 and 1987, Rankin was a neighbour of the girls and a friend of the family. The abuse started when he took the older child on motorcycle rides to a beach, and it occurred every couple of months. She was aged nine and Rankin was 25 at the start. The younger girl was aged eight. At times, both were abused at the same time by Rankin, the judge said.
The impact on the older child had been severe, but the judge said he acknowledged she appeared to have been mistreated by someone else as well as Rankin. "It is an aggravating factor you knew she had been abused by another." In mitigation, Rankin was said to be naive and socially inadequate, and was under stress at the time from having to shoulder responsibility for his family and farm, including for two younger brothers who were disabled, the judge said. Prosecutor Kerry White pointed to the duration of offending - well over two years for the older child and over a year for the younger girl. She accepted Rankin had been law-abiding over the past 20 years, but a probation report showed an apparent lack of empathy, and he was said to pose a high risk of reoffending.
Lawyer Jonathan Eaton said there was no suggestion of any violence other than that inherent in the offending, or the use of force or threats. It appeared there had been the chance for Rankin to offend further against the younger child, but that did not happen. Rankin was naive and immature, and his apparent lack of insight showed his shortcomings. He may have seen the older child giving a "half-pie consent", Eaton said. Rankin was described by those who knew him as caring, considerate and there to help, and they were amazed to hear of the charges. He had never reoffended, despite opportunities, Eaton said. The judge said Rankin's references before the court were impressive, but he also appeared gullible and vulnerable. In mitigation, his guilty pleas negated the need for the complainants to give evidence, the judge said
Date of Birth
Rape, sexual violation by digital penetration (x2) and indecent assault of two young girls between 1985 and 1987
Three Strikes Status
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OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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