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Prison sentence for predatory principal welcomed

Prison sentence for predatory principal welcomed

The 16-month prison sentence handed down today to a former school principal, for his part in fuelling the global trade in child sex abuse material, has been welcomed by child advocacy group Stop Demand Foundation.

David Latimer was principal of Rangeview Intermediate School in West Auckland for six years, until his resignation in February 2014 after his offending came under the spotlight of the Department of Internal Affairs, following a tip-off from US authorities.

Over a period of many years, Latimer had amassed tens of thousands of images of children being raped, tortured and sexually violated, captioning many with what the judge described as “very disturbing captions”. While some material involved very young victims, most appeared to be of an age similar to the hundreds in his care at school.

Stop Demand’s founder and long-time campaigner on the global trade in child rape material, Denise Ritchie, said “The term of imprisonment was entirely appropriate. It reflects the gravity of Latimer’s crimes which involved countless child victims, it serves as a deterrent to others, and it signals that New Zealand takes seriously the need to crack down hard on anyone caught fuelling the demand for such material. Without market demand by predators like Latimer, there would be no supply.”

“The cumulative impact on the countless children harmed in Latimer’s collection cannot be overstated,” says Ritchie. “Unlike most crimes, where the impact can dissipate over time, victim impact statements taken years later show just how crushing the lasting effects of such crimes can be.”

In one case, the victim writes: “It is hard to describe what it feels like to know that at any moment, anywhere, someone is looking at pictures of me as a little girl being [raped] by my uncle and is getting some kind of sick enjoyment from it. It's like I am being abused over and over and over again. The truth is, I am being exploited and used every day and every night somewhere in the world by someone. How can I ever get over this when the crime that is happening to me will never end? How can I get over this when the shameful abuse I suffered is out there forever and being enjoyed by sick people?”

Stop Demand says the term of imprisonment handed down by Judge Nicola Mathers is a welcome relief, following a recent spate of cases where judges have been handing down “offensively weak” sentences of home detention.

Stop Demand Foundation calls for action to stop sexual violence, sexual and sexual denigration of women and children www.stopdemand.orgexploitation

ENDS

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