Gloriavale police probe: At least 60 people involved in 'harmful sexual behaviour'

The Gloriavale Christian Community. Photo: File
The Gloriavale Christian Community. Photo: File
A police probe into alleged sexual and physical abuse inside the Gloriavale Christian community has identified at least 60 people involved in "harmful sexual behaviour", it has been revealed.

Police launched Operation Minneapolis last year, in partnership with Oranga Tamariki, after mounting concerns about the reclusive West Coast religious sect.

A former member, now aged 21, was today granted a discharge without conviction at Christchurch District Court after pleading guilty to three representative charges of indecent assault against boys at Gloriavale between 2015 and 2018 when he himself was a teenager.

The police summary of facts relating to his case reveals details of Operation Minneapolis, which was launched after police first received information on June 28 last year of an alleged sexual assault on an 11-year-old boy.

The next day, officers interviewed the alleged suspect who identified "numerous victims".

During Operation Minneapolis, there were two screening phases, which spanned all young boys aged between seven and 16 at the community. Gloriavale was founded in 1969.

"During this phase, in excess of 60 people were identified as being involved in harmful sexual behaviour as either children, young people or adults," says the police summary of facts.

"The investigation showed offending to span a number of years and identified historical similar boy-boy offending having occurred at some level in earlier generations of youth."

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