Two victims of sexual molestation as children have confronted
their abuser in court, telling him of the damage his
The two women, now in their mid-40s, both read victim impact
statements at the sentencing of 69-year-old Dunedin man
William John Olsen in the Dunedin District yesterday.
Olsen earlier pleaded guilty to five charges of sexual
indecency against girls under 12 between 34 and 40 years ago.
He was sentenced to a total term of three years and four
Four of the charges, two covering multiple offences, related
to the older victim, while one charge, also representative,
was from ongoing offending against the younger woman.
Olsen began indecently touching the older girl between 1973
and 1975 by putting his hand inside her pyjamas. She was aged
between 8 and 10.
Offences occurred when she was bathing, and in a specific
incident in 1976 or 1977 he told her to take her clothes off
and made her perform an indecency on him.
The charge relating to the younger victim was from ongoing
offending in 1978 and 1979 when the girl was between 10 and
12. He would regularly make some remark and squeeze her
bottom as he walked past her.
Facing Olsen across the courtroom yesterday, the older of the
two women told him he "should not be allowed to walk away"
from the crimes he had committed.
She said she was about 5 and was very excited when he first
came into their lives. He was kind to them and they had many
happy times. But the relationship turned "sinister" from the
first time he touched her, she said.
In her statement, the woman detailed the damage caused by the
offending; her feelings of dread and fear, of deep and
abiding shame, of betrayal and anger and of the
disintegration of family relationships.
She said she had never confronted him in person about what he
had done to her because she was afraid. She felt dirty and
"odd" with her siblings and friends.
But when she tried to speak up at the age of about 11, things
were "hushed up and brushed away".
Even when she met her husband, she could not confide in him
because she wanted to perpetuate the myth of a happy family.
The younger victim said Olsen had been good to them
financially but had cheated them out of the one thing a child
needed - to feel safe.
"Even now, you are not man enough to hold up your hand for
what you did", she told Olsen. But she felt very relieved to
get "some acknowledgement of what you did".
She said she still felt very uncomfortable with men of
Judge Kevin Phillips said the pre-sentence report said the
defendant claimed he could not remember the circumstances of
He had made some non-specific admissions and had some
counselling, but was assessed as a high risk person.
The judge said he took into account Olsen's bad health during
the past two years after a stroke but said he had to be held
accountable for what he had done. There had to be
denunciation and deterrence, even for offences committed in
the 1970s. The offending was very serious and the impact on
the victims was clear.
Judge Phillips said the victim impact statements read by "two
brave women" described in graphic terms the effects of the
offending on them and showed they had never lost their
feelings of fear and shame, of feeling totally embarrassed
and scared and, above all, unsafe.
Taking into account the high degree of pre-meditation, the
girl's vulnerability, the breach of trust involved and the 20
year age difference, the judge said three years' jail was
appropriate on that charge.
He added concurrent 12 month terms for the other offending
against the same victim and an additional nine months for the
representative charge relating to the younger victim.
To give credit for his guilty plea and to acknowledge his
age, health and previous good character, Judge Phillips
reduced the four years and nine months by 30 per cent and
sentenced Olsen to a total term of three years and four