Gloriavale man pleads guilty to sexual offences

Gloriavale Christian Community. File photo: RNZ
Gloriavale Christian Community. File photo: RNZ
A Gloriavale man today admitted three charges of sexual offending that took place at the isolated Christian community 15 years ago.

Ready Standtrue, 32, did not seek continued name suppression in the Greymouth District Court this morning.

He pleaded guilty to two charges of indecently assaulting a female over the age of 16, and one of sexual violation.

Standtrue was 16, and 17yrs at the time of the offending.

According to the police summary of facts, Standtrue was born at the Gloriavale Christian Community in Haupiri, as was his victim. The woman left two years ago.

The offending began in mid-2008 after Standtrue saw the victim naked as she exited the shower.

Some weeks later he went to her bunk bed believing she was asleep and unaware of his actions.

He did this on three occasions over some months until ceasing the behaviour after a period of "deep prayer and fasting'’ that ultimately led him to believe that God had saved him.

Standtrue later disclosed his offending to his wife shortly after his marriage in 2009.

He remained unaware of his victim's knowledge of his actions until 2020, when the victim's husband spoke to him about the impact of his offending on his wife, and their relationship.

The sexual abuse she suffered, and lack of belief that views around sexual offending had changed within Gloriavale, were key factors in her decision to leave the community in 2021.

Later that year, in learning Standtrue had started a teaching position at the community school, the victim asked him to own up to his actions so she could be sure he was safe around children.

In February last year Standtrue handed himself in to the Greymouth Police Station and admitted he had had been exposed to an act of harmful sexual behaviour with another boy when he was 12 years old.

He became aroused after seeing his victim in the shower which led him to "give in to lust and temptation".

Police said it clear Standtrue was ashamed of his actions.

Judge Noel Walsh convicted Standtrue on each charge and ordered a full pre-sentence report ahead of sentencing on January 19. A referral was also made for restorative justice.

At the same time Standtrue appeared in the Greymouth court today, the jury trial continued in an adjoining courtroom for an ex-Gloriavale man, Jonathan Benjamin, who has denied sexual offences against children and young women, including four counts of rape at Gloriavale, dating back to 1986.

Separately, the current Gloriavale leader, Howard Temple, 83, is accused of 24 charges of indecent assault involving 10 female complainants who were aged between nine and 20yrs at the time of the alleged offending between 1998 and 2022.