Sexual predator jailed for 16 years

A sexual predator who hired prostitutes for a young male friend then watched the pair have sex through a two-way mirror has been jailed for 16 years.

Robert Frank Stevens, 65, preyed on the vulnerable youngster for his own sexual gratification, groomed him with alcohol and free clothes, and raped him repeatedly over more than a decade.

Sentencing judge Mary Beth Sharp described Stevens' crimes as "heinous". She labelled his prolonged and premeditated sexual offending against the male victim among the worst she has presided over in 17 years on the bench.

His hair grey and thinning, Stevens, of Mount Albert, was found guilty last year on 10 counts of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection - several of them representative. He was sentenced yesterday in Auckland District Court to 16 years behind bars - with the judge warning he "may never see the light of day again".

But he maintains his innocence and intends to appeal against the sentence - insisting the depraved violations were consensual sex with a willing adult man.

The court was told that Stevens - director of Auckland limousine company Casino Limousines Ltd - began offending against the victim in 1994 when the youngster was just 13. The rapes and voyeuristic sex sessions would continue for 12 years, as Stevens groomed the youngster, plied him with alcohol and gifts, and isolated the fatherless teen from his mother.

He would force himself on the victim, raping him an estimated 30 times and violating him with sex toys.

The court was told the victim was first raped when he was 13 or 14 after Stevens and a friend had been drinking and watching pornography together. He was held down and sodomised over a couch at Stevens' house, crying from the pain. Stevens told the victim: "Calm down, relax, I'll be gentle."

When the victim was 16, Stevens began paying for prostitutes to come to the house and have sex with the teenager. Unbeknown to the victim, these sex sessions were watched by Stevens and his friends through a two-way wardrobe mirror.

The court was told that after losing his own son in a motorbike accident, Stevens began dressing the victim in his dead son's clothes and calling himself "stepfather" at school meetings.

The victim watched yesterday's sentencing remotely via CCTV. In an emotional victim impact statement read out to the court on his behalf, the victim said he had trusted "Bob" and looked up to him.

"I was drawn into his world, his home, by a father figure, fancy clothing and the cost of that was being sexually abused.

"I was too young to understand the consequences. I felt I had my adolescence stripped away from me."

The victim later lived on the street and suffered post traumatic stress disorder and frequent nightmares. He eventually tried to commit suicide.

"I realised he liked brainwashing young guys. I felt angry he was able to groom me. I feel like a sucker, but then I was young and naive."

In a statement, the victim's mother labelled Stevens a pig and "nasty little man". She said she had been cheated of watching her once happy son develop.

"My mother told me to 'always watch your daughters', but not your sons. Why didn't someone warn me? When I think about Bob I feel sick to the pit of my stomach."

Judge Sharp labelled Stevens' actions "sinister" and said the case was one of the most awful she had ever heard.

"You preyed upon an innocent and very vulnerable young boy, still at intermediate school, who was fatherless.

"There was deliberate grooming, there was deliberate sexualisation. Unlike the defence, I accept completely there was a deliberate strategy of isolating the victim, who was fatherless, from his mother."

She added: "I have been a judge for 17 years. This is one of the more unsavoury trials I have had the displeasure of presiding over."

Police say Stevens' limousine company often carried young people on school balls and believe other young victims are yet to come forward.

 

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