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No Place to Hide


Sensible Sentencing Trust (SST) is commending the work of Justice Pankhurst who jailed 19-year-old Joel Evan McGrath to eight-years for unlawful sexual connection, attempted sexual violation and sexual conduct with a child under 12.

“We are very pleased that this offenders name was not suppressed as it will undoubtedly prevent him for continuing to offend,” Nadia Crighton SST Spokesperson for the Prevention of Child Abuse says.

It was heard in the High Court in New Plymouth that McGrath, regularly sexually assaulted and attempted to rape both a six-year old boy and an 11 year old girl.

“The fact that this offending occurred after McGrath was released from a residential programme at Te Poutama Arahi Rangitahi in Christchurch for high risk young people with harmful sexual behavior outlines how important constant monitoring is,” Crighton says.

On the Barnardos website, Te Poutama Arahi Rangatahi is described as a specialist residential treatment facility located in Christchurch, contracted to Barnardos by Child, Youth and Family and the Ministry of Education. Child Youth and Family regional director John Langley said when McGrath successfully completed treatment, a plan was developed for him to be safe around children. McGrath was then released into a home where he abused the two children while their caregiver was away.

“I think as a nation we need to face the fact that some people will never be safe around children and that we need to protect our children from those who wish to abuse them,” Crighton says. “A National Child Sex Offenders Database is one way we can help our communities help each other to keep their children safe from sexual abuse.”

“Knowledge is power, it works in the USA and it could work here,” Crighton Says. “It is pleasing to know that Justice Pankhurst didn’t hand out name suppression, sadly many reoffending child sexual predators are given a green light of silence.”

The SST volunteers run an offenders’ database currently. You can search by numerous parameters here:


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