Child sex offender to stay in jail

Peter Pearson
Peter Pearson
A Dunedin sex offender who targeted single mothers to prey on their children will remain in prison for at least another nine months.

Peter William Pearson (52) got a good report from staff after completing drug addiction therapy while behind bars but the Parole Board heard last month he had not yet started the Child Sex Offender Treatment Programme at Rolleston Prison.

Until that was completed, the inmate — who is serving a sentence of six years, four months, imposed in 2018 — could not be released, board chairman Sir Ron Young said.

Pearson met one of his victims, a 9-year-old boy, in late 2015 after developing a friendship with his mother.

The prisoner would have the child at his home after school at least once a week, and later he began spending the night there, the Dunedin District Court heard at sentencing.

The sexual abuse started almost immediately.

Since the trauma, the victim had developed behavioural issues and his mother wrote a statement to the court saying she hated Pearson for what he had done.

There were two other solo mothers who felt the same.

A 10-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl, whom Pearson had known for several years, were also among the victims.

Between April and August 2016, Pearson often had the children together at his home in Maryhill, the court heard.

The defendant invented a game in which he would end up naked in front of the children, and they too would be forced to remove clothing and get into bed with him.

Pearson’s crimes came to light when sexual text messages were uncovered by one of the victim’s mothers on the boy’s phone.

When police raided the man’s home they discovered he had used covert devices to record footage of a young boy using his bathroom, four males using a Dunedin public toilet and people in the changing rooms at Moana Pool.

More than 130 objectionable images and videos were found at his home.

Pearson, the Parole Board heard, was working in the prison laundry and "behaving well".

"He has had a lifetime of depression, but he says recently his attitude and outlook has considerably improved," Sir Ron said.

Pearson was told a release to Dunedin would not be appropriate given the victims’ concerns and the prisoner said Christchurch was his preferred option.

He will next come before the board in July.

Pearson’s sentence ends in January 2023.




Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter