Sex offender outrage grips Piha (Stuff)

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(ByHayden Donnell)A Piha parents group trying to drive a convicted sex offender out of their community are set to air their fears in a public meeting with Corrections officials and psychologists.

The sex offender, who has name suppression, was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison for unlawful sexual connection with a child under 12.

He was bailed to live with his sister in Piha in May last year.

Parents in the Piha community banded together to drive him out of the town after finding out he was living there about two weeks ago.

Bobbie Carroll, a Piha mother of two and business owner, has organised a public meeting in an attempt to calm those fears.

The offender needed to live somewhere and was at a lower risk of reoffending in a close-knit town like Piha, she said.

“I’m a grandmother. I’ve got three grandchildren. I can tell you there are people in all sorts of different communities who are on parole for sex offences who we don’t know about and we will never know about. Wouldn’t you rather be informed? People say ‘how can you support him’.

” I don’t support him, but this guy is safer because we know about him.

“I do not support sex offenders, but I do believe in human rights. People have a right to live somewhere. He’s with a relative.

“We have to start doing things a little differently. Let’s inform ourselves and calm some of this hysteria down.”

The meeting on Sunday will be attended by a principal psychologist from the Te Piriti Special Treatment Unit, where the sex offender completed a course.

Police and probation services will also be on hand.

In an earlier interview with Ms Carroll, the sex offender tried to quell parents’ fears.

He said he was reminded every day of the damage he has done to his victim and family.

“Your kids are safe. I have no intention of being a repeat offender,” he told her.

However a spokeswoman for the Piha parents group said it was “not right” to have the sex offender living near children in the small community.

He was living near an access-way where children gathered to catch the bus, she said.

Her group was circulating a petition and lobbying Government to have him removed.

“It is just not right… we shouldn’t be paroling a child sex offender near a pre-school or beside young people,'” she told Fairfax Media.

‘”Our kids roam quite freely. And he is straight along from the pre-school.'”

The sex offender is barred from associating with children under 16 without supervision.

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