Sexual assault claim goes awry

Photo: ODT
Photo: ODT
Five months after making a sexual assault complaint a Dunedin woman, rather than her alleged attacker, was the one in the dock.

Helen*, who the Otago Daily Times has agreed not to identify, said she was enormously frustrated when police opted not to charge the man and she vented her frustration on social media, naming the man concerned.

Days later the woman in her 30s was charged under the Harmful Digital Communications Act but yesterday at the Dunedin District Court that was amended to a less serious count of misusing a telephone.

She pleaded guilty and Judge David Robinson gave her a 12-month deferred sentence, meaning there would be no further penalty if she remained offence-free.

While Helen accepted she had “got off lightly”, she said the way the police dealt with her complaint still irked her.

“It sucks not being believed. It’s a really frustrating thing,” she said.

The defendant said she initially met the man when he was dealing drugs but more recently he had got a job as a counsellor.

She invited him to her house for a cup of coffee in October last year needing ‘‘advice and wisdom’’ over issues she was having with her children.

But Helen said during their chat the man made an ambiguous comment then appeared very confused when she was unable to follow the thread.

“It was just a weird experience,” she said.

Shortly afterwards, she said she showed him to the door but before he could be ushered out, the man allegedly gestured towards the bedroom.

Helen, confused over whether it was a sexual pass or an invitation to use drugs, declined on both counts but before the man left, she said, he sexually assaulted her.

When she went to police, she realised the odds were against her.

“There was no-one in the house to prove otherwise. It was his word against mine,” said Helen.

“Hand on the Bible, I know what happened.”

A month after approaching police, she was told there would not be a prosecution.

She said she posted the wide-ranging “rant” on Facebook in March when she was drunk.

“It’s hard to accept the reality but it is what it is, and I just know the Lord loves justice,” Helen wrote after detailing the sexual allegation for her friends and followers.

Though she was determined to move on, she remained disgruntled with how police handled the complaint and she had concerns over how they had dealt with her over other matters.

She said she planned to take her concerns about the situation to the Independent Police Conduct Authority.



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