Man's sexual abuse of girl started when she was four

A Southland man who admitted raping and grooming an underage girl has pleaded guilty to 12 sexual charges in the Invercargill District Court.

The 60-year-old, who the ODT has decided not to name at this stage to protect the victim, had his interim name suppression discontinued yesterday.

He faced counts including indecency and rape.

Another 14 charges were withdrawn by Judge Bernadette Farnan during the hearing.

Defence counsel Bill Dawkins entered the guilty plea on behalf of his client.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Penny Stratford told the court the man groomed the victim and normalised sexual behaviour with her from 1984, when the girl was 4 years old, until she was 16.

Sgt Stratford said during the offending, the defendant would comfort the young victim, asking if she was all right and if what he was doing hurt her.

"Through the years the victim normalised the defendant’s sexual behaviour towards her."

The court heard the offending started when he touched the victim over her clothing.

He did this on numerous occasions always ensuring nobody else was present, Sgt Stratford said.

The man told the victim they were playing doctors and nurses and that she took good care of him.

Sgt Stratford said the man’s touching progressed.

The court heard that every time the victim was in the care of the man, he offended against her.

Sgt Stratford told the court the man abused the girl "whenever the opportunity arose".

The last offending happened when the victim and the defendant ended up in his bed and he raped her.

When spoken to by police, he said "whatever the victim has said would probably be right".

Judge Farnan convicted him and remanded him in custody until his sentencing on August 25.

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