Social worker admits 'creepy' act

A social worker who used a mirror to look between a young girl's legs in a library has admitted his behaviour was "wrong, creepy and sick".

Abraham Rangi Turoa, 54, appeared last week at Waitakere District Court and was sentenced to a term of intensive supervision on a charge of doing an indecent act in public.

The former community support worker at the Waipareira Trust, supported in court by his wife, walked into Henderson Library in August and sat opposite a teenage girl.

According to court documents, he positioned a small mirror between his legs and aimed it at her "genital area" while he pretended to read a book.

"The defendant positioned his body so that he appeared to be reading a book on top of the table. The defendant was actually looking at the mirror underneath the table."

Two hours later, police collared him and charged him with doing an indecent act in public.

Initially the 54-year-old told officers there was a magnifying glass on the other side of the mirror which he was using to assist with reading but later pleaded guilty to the police charge.

In interviews with probation, Turoa acknowledged his behaviour was "wrong, creepy and sick" and said he did it because of stresses in his family life.

While probation called him a "real risk" to society and his young grandchildren, Judge John Bergseng said the offence was at the lower end of the scale.

"You don't know why you did it but experienced a great amount of shame for your family," he said.

"The victim was completely entitled to go about her business in a public place without being subjected to this behaviour from you."

The judge said the young victim would no longer visit the library for fear of it happening again.

A spokesman from the Waipareira Trust said Turoa had resigned from his position after being charged but the defendant hoped to find work again after undergoing counselling.

The court heard how the defendant was convicted of a similar offence in 1982, which involved alcohol and a friend's girlfriend.

- By Rob Kidd, NZME

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