A now 63-year-old man who sexually abused young girls while
babysitting them almost 50 years ago has been convicted of
Dennes Dearnley, now from Palmerston North, appeared in
Wellington District Court this week and pleaded guilty to
three charges of indecent assault.
The historic child sex abuse took place between 1964 and 1973
Dearnley's victims were two girls aged under 12 and between
12 and 16 at the time.
Judge Denys Barry told the District Court how Dearnley, after
assaulting his victims, would threaten them.
One of his victims was aged between 8 and 11 when the
offending took place.
"This would happen when you would babysit her at home ...
[this was] underpinned by threats that she would be beaten if
she told anyone."
He said Dearnley's offending was premeditated.
"Taking advantage of opportunities as they arose with an
underlying agenda of offending when such opportunities
Judge Barry discussed the impact Dearnley's assaults had had
on the women, evident through their victim-impact statements.
"[The] first speaks of how vivid the events were although 50
years has elapsed and she speaks of her inability of being
able to trust people," Judge Barry said.
"The second ... speaks of having her life blighted with the
inability to maintain relationships because of a lack of
"There was the vulnerability of these girls, of the emotional
harm reflected in the victim-impact statements."
Judge Barry said Dearnley's offending was mitigated by the
fact he had shown "true remorse", had no other previous
convictions and offered to pay reparation.
"Your many years of blameless life since and offer to pay
emotional harm reparation."
Dearnley was also a youth during some of the offending.
He was remanded on bail until sentencing on November 1.
- By Kelli Hooks of the Wairarapa Times-Age