Child sex offender’s ‘distorted thinking’

A 54-year-old man’s unrealistic views about his sex offending against a 12-year-old girl have seen him jailed for 15 months at his Christchurch District Court sentencing.

Name suppression also lifted on David John Ross, unemployed, who has been on bail since admitting the charge of sexual conduct with a young person aged under 16 last year.

The court was told he had encouraged the girl to masturbate him and had paid her afterwards. There was a dispute about the reason for the payment, but Judge Brian Callaghan said he believed it was to buy the girl’s silence.

Ross’ unrealistic views – referred to in court as “offence-related cognitive distortions” – were highlighted in a pre-sentence report by a forensic clinical psychologist.

They referred to Ross’ view of the victim’s role in the offending. The judge said: “The defendant’s viewpoint is to minimise the harm of his offending and he is seemingly ignorant of the traumatic fall-out from his actions.”

The psychologist did not rule out Ross posing a “continuing risk”.

The girl had since suffered from depression and anxiety and had issues with relationships with men. Her behaviour had changed dramatically.

Defence counsel Craig Ruane urged that a home detention sentence be imposed, saying that the man had been participating in a Stop programme for sex offenders since May.

Judge Callaghan said it seemed Ross had “superficially” engaged in the course and still did not fully appreciate the full effect of the offending on the victim. He noted the continuing distorted thinking.

“Everything says to me that it is just not an appropriate response to impose home detention in respect of this very serious offending,” he said.

He imposed 15 months’ jail, with an additional six months of special release conditions when treatment can continue, and lifted name suppression. Ross will automatically be registered as a child sex offender.

 

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