Underage sex man has no mana, says mum

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
A man who had sex with a 15-year-old girl he had known since her childhood has "no mana", according to the victim’s mother.

Bronson Tapatu (35) was sentenced to 10 months’ home detention before the Dunedin District Court yesterday, after pleading guilty to two counts of unlawful sexual connection.

Before Judge Peter Rollo handed down that sentence, however, the defendant had to face the victim’s mother, who said the family had been left "heartbroken and distressed" by his crimes.

"I feel he’s groomed her and taken advantage of her," the woman said.

"For his own two minutes of pleasure, [my daughter] has suffered depression to this day."

The woman said she had been left unable to sleep or concentrate on daily tasks, resulting in her taking time off work.

And she had also suffered panic attacks in public when she saw anyone who resembled Tapatu.

"Bronson has ... no mana," she said.

Counsel Sonia Vidal pointed to a psychologist’s report which highlighted her client’s remorse and said he presented a low risk of reoffending.

Judge Rollo said the two sexual acts, which made up the charges, happened four months apart and represented a severe breach of trust.

Tapatu had known the girl when she was an infant and had children of his own who were a similar age.

"The circumstances have brought about great sadness and great upset and feelings of depression for the young girl involved," he said.

"You were the adult, it was your responsibility to recognise the road this young girl was prepared to embark on was wrong."

Tapatu had at least made admissions to police and been open with his whanau. The court heard they were initially "distressed and disturbed" but had opted to rally around him.

He will serve the home-detention sentence with his parents in Invercargill.

Judge Rollo said anyone who had experienced lockdown would appreciate what an arduous sentence that was.

Tapatu was also sentenced to 150 hours’ community work and ordered to pay the victim $1500 within a month.

He was barred from contact with under-16s for the duration of his sentence, except for family members, while in the presence of a responsible adult.

The judge opted against adding Tapatu to the Child Sex Offender Register.



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