Crime

Pensioner under police investigation

A Picton pensioner is being investigated for alleged inappropriate sexual behavior with two young boys he befriended.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is being investigated by police after a complaint was made from a worried member of the public.

He has denied any wrongdoing, saying the incident was a misunderstanding.

The boys, both members of a community group the man was involved with, are both under16-years-old.

The man is alleged to have asked to sleep in the same hotel room as the pair, but not the same bedroom, in his capacity as self-appointed youth liaison leader.

Yesterday, the mother of one of the boys, says their family had trusted the man.

She says the matter has affected the whole family.

“He’s a groomer. We put our trust in him and all the he was grooming our son behind closed doors.

“I had no understanding what a groomer was before this and now I know, that’s what he is,” she says.

A spokesman from the community group, who asked not to be named to protect the identity of the children involved, says police have been investigating the claims for six months.

“The parents and the children are both getting counselling, but all we keep hearing from the police are excuses,” he says.

Asked by the Marlborough Weekly about the claims, the man vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

“I told a boy who had a body odour problem that he had to pull back his foreskin to clean it properly,” he says.

The alleged offender, who says he was in the army for 8 years, claims he was told “not to come back” to the group where he had been a long-time member.

When the allegations first came to light, the group member was told he was no longer welcome.

A trespass notice means he cannot get in contact with the alleged victims.

“I hope I get a big apology, but I’m not sure I’d go back,” he said when approached about the claims.

The spokesman says the group had no choice but to remove the man from the group.

“When something like this happens, you either remove the children or the person who the claims are about.

“Alarm bells had been ringing for a while. Just little things that didn’t mean much on their own but when you add them all together give you something to be concerned about.

“The children and their parents have been through so much and deserve an end to this nightmare.

“They are the important ones in all this,” he says.

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