Saturday, January 31, 2004

Victim's behaviour 'typical'

The Dominion Post
January 31, 2004
Victim's behaviour 'typical'
by Philip Kitchin

The behaviour of a Rotorua teenager who alleged that she was repeatedly raped by two police officers but did not run for help was typical of young sexual abuse victims, an expert says. Sexual abuse counsellor Margaret Craig agreed to speak of her assessment of Rotorua woman Louise Nicholas -- who made the rape allegations -- after being given permission by Mrs Nicholas to comment. Mrs Nicholas was referred for counselling when she was 26, after telling her doctor and family about the alleged rapes. She alleges she was raped at her flat several times by Clint Rickards, now police assistant commissioner, and Tauranga city councillor Brad Shipton when she was aged about 18. The two men would come to her flat uninvited and insist on having "two-on-one" sex with her, ignoring her objections, she alleges. She also says that Mr Rickards, Mr Shipton and Napier car dealer Bob Schollum pack-raped her in a police house on one occasion in about 1986, also using a police baton to abuse her. All three were police officers in Rotorua at the time of the alleged incidents.

Mrs Craig, who has an academic background in psychology and social work, said Mrs Nicholas' failure to scream or run away was typical of a young person, "in fact a young teenager, who had lived in a small community (Rotorua) and been victimised by persons who she was supposed to trust and the fact that these people had a very prominent position. "Once a person has been victimised they begin to doubt themselves . . . she would have been lacking in confidence, completely [lacking] really, having experienced what she described to me." It was well established in psychological literature that sexual abuse victims found they did not have the confidence to move. "They are frightened," she said. "They are worried about what people will say …. I don't see the fact that she didn't run or tell anybody as odd at all. It's a pretty typical response, and especially for a young teenager." Mrs Craig said Mrs Nicholas had "stood out" as a young person who had a lot of courage and yet wasn't sure she was doing the right thing. "But as the process of disclosure and investigation evolved, I imagine she began to see the absolute injustice of her situation. That it didn't matter who she told. Nobody seemed to want to listen. "We are not talking about a church leader or a school teacher. We are talking about the New Zealand police force and there isn't anywhere else that I know of that you can go, other than the ombudsman or someone like that, if you have a complaint of that nature. "I think she felt - she must have felt - completely let down by the system, the investigative system that the police instituted in her case."

Policeman admitted protecting his mates

The Dominion Post
January 31, 2004
Policeman admitted protecting his mates

A police officer who received a complaint from a woman that she had been raped by other officers said he did nothing about it in order to protect his colleagues, a police document shows. The Dominion Post has obtained a job sheet written by former Rotorua CIB chief John Dewar, outlining a secretly taped interview with former police officer Trevor Clayton, who had by then left the police. The job sheet related to another matter being investigated, but it says that, when Mr Clayton was a Rotorua policeman in late 1986 or 1987, Lousie Nicholas complained to him about what some policemen were doing to her. Mr Dewar says in his job sheet: "I asked him if there were criminal implications and he said there could have been. "I asked him what he did about it as a serving member of the police and he said that he took no action. "I asked him why and he said to protect his mates." Mr Dewar claimed Mr Clayton said he would be prepared to lie in court about Mrs Nicholas. Mr Dewar said to Mr Clayton: "Well . . . I expected this reaction, particularly from an ex-member of the police. Would it surprise you to learn that I have a tape recorder in my jacket? "He replied, `Oh shit, thanks very much . . . thanks very much.' " Mr Dewar criticised Mr Clayton during the interview for not acting on serious allegations against serving police officers. But Mr Dewar appears to have been playing a double game. At the time of the interview he had advised Mrs Nicholas not to make a written complaint.

Another police document obtained by The Dominion Post makes Mr Dewar's investigation look even more peculiar. That document shows that the day before secretly taping Mr Clayton, Mr Dewar interviewed one of the accused, Bob Schollum, who was then a serving policeman. Nothing in the document indicates that Mr Dewar asked Mr Schollum if he had ever had sex with the woman making the allegations. When she was first spoken to by The Dominion Post last year, Mrs Nicholas still believed Mr Dewar had done everything he could to investigate her complaints. But a former Rotorua sexual abuse counsellor, Margaret Craig, was so worried about the "unprofessional" relationship she saw Mr Dewar developing with Mrs Nicholas at the time she was counselling her in the 1990s that she wrote to the then head of Rotorua police, former assistant commissioner Bruce Scott. Mrs Craig said she also raised her concerns with Mr Dewar after she learned he had been taking Mrs Nicholas out for meals before bringing her to counselling sessions. Mrs Nicholas admits now that she was hostile and reluctant to cooperate with police investigating how her earlier allegations were handled by Mr Dewar. She had thought he was her friend. Such was her loyalty that she kept him ahead of the investigation by acting as an informant, telling Mr Dewar what the investigators had asked her.

Police documents say there was "no doubt" Mr Dewar was aware the group rape allegation should have been properly documented and investigated. The "unprofessional" statement Mr Dewar obtained from Mrs Nicholas says she did not tell him about the alleged rape, after he first told her she did not need to tell him about "embarrassing" sex she had as a consenting adult. In making that statement, Mrs Nicholas now realises she compromised the police investigation into Mr Dewar's handling of her allegations because she had fudged the issue of consent. The statement is an extraordinary document. It is written in language that appears more like the way Mr Dewar speaks than the way Mrs Nicholas speaks. Police documents described the statement as an attempt by Mr Dewar to vindicate his actions, or his failure to investigate the allegations. The documents say it was unprofessional, offensive and showed a lack of judgment. After seeing other police documents, Mrs Nicholas now says the statement reinforces her belief that Mr Dewar was involved in a conspiracy to keep her allegations out of court.

Woman accuses top officer of teen pack-rape

The Dominion Post
January 31, 2004
Woman accuses top officer of teen pack-rape
by Philip Kitchin

The man being groomed to be New Zealand's next police commissioner, a Tauranga city councillor and a Napier used car salesman have been accused of pack-raping a teenage girl when they all served as police in Rotorua. Auckland's senior policeman, Assistant Commissioner Clint Rickards, councillor Brad Shipton and salesman Bob Schollum are alleged to have raped the teenager and violated her with a police baton in about 1986. The woman making the allegations, Louise Nicholas, says she sought help at the time of the incidents, but was ignored. In 1993 she went to Rotorua police station intending to make a formal complaint, but was advised by then CIB chief Detective Inspector John Dewar not to make a written complaint. Now she believes he manipulated her in order to protect his police colleagues. She says that after the pack rape, Mr Rickards and Mr Shipton would from time to time arrive at her home uninvited, and always demand sex. Two years after she complained to Mr Dewar, then Detective Chief Inspector Rex Miller and other senior police were brought in by the Police Complaints Authority to conduct an investigation. Their inquiry, though thorough, was stymied because Mrs Nicholas, who then believed Mr Dewar had been sympathetic to her, did not want him criticised, and protected him.

The PCA inquiry, whose existence has never before been made public, looked at whether Mr Dewar conspired to cover up the allegations, but found that he had not committed any criminal or disciplinary offence. But his failure to record and investigate the allegations showed a gross lack of judgment and competence, the inquiry found. Now, nine years after that investigation, Mr Miller has spoken out, saying Mrs Nicholas was "moulded like play dough" into not making a complaint. After seeing police documents obtained by The Dominion Post, Mrs Nicholas, now 36, believes Mr Dewar, who lives in Hamilton and is no longer a police officer, played her "like a puppet". She wants Parliament to order an independent inquiry, saying she no longer trusts the police to investigate the matter.

Reliable police sources say Mr Rickards is expected to replace Police Commissioner Rob Robinson when he retires. In a statement issued last night in response to questions from The Dominion Post, Mr Robinson said police would study what was published. "Should matters be disclosed which materially call into question the integrity of police members' actions or investigations, then I give my assurance that these matters will be thoroughly looked at." A two-year investigation by The Dominion Post has revealed that police did not follow usual rape complaint procedures. The newspaper's investigation reveals:
· Mr Dewar appointed himself investigator even though he had close associations with Mr Rickards and Mr Shipton.
· Mr Rickards, Mr Shipton and Mr Schollum admitted having sex with the complainant when she was about 18; however, they said it was consensual. They denied her claim that a baton was used.
· The three were disciplined by "counselling" -- effectively a telling-off -- after the PCA inquiry.
· A senior sergeant's notebook recording some of the first written details of the rape allegations disappeared.
· When he learned of the accusations, Mr Shipton asked Mr Dewar to take over the investigation from a female detective.
· Mr Dewar's diary -- the only record of an unusual formal police interview he had with Mr Shipton -- was lost.
·
The three men were "evasive" when asked by police to name a fourth man whom Mrs Nicholas says was a witness to the alleged pack-rape.
· The PCA inquiry into Mr Dewar's failure to act said he was arrogant and displayed a gross lack of judgment and competence.
· The inquiry found that he acted unprofessionally and offensively by taking a statement from Mrs Nicholas when he was himself being investigated for failing to act on her complaint.
· The house in which Mrs Nicholas alleges she was pack-raped was owned by the police department, and occupied by Mr Shipton, at the time of the alleged offence.

Mr Rickards, Mr Schollum and Mr Shipton declined to be interviewed by The Dominion Post but, in statements released on their behalf by their lawyer, each vehemently denies Mrs Nicholas' allegations. Mr Rickards said a full police investigation had cleared him of any wrongdoing and any publication of the allegations would "inevitably cause great harm and distress to my family and me". Mr Schollum said that he, too, had been subject to a thorough investigation and was completely cleared. "Her allegations have absolutely no foundation." Mr Shipton said he had been cleared of all allegations. "I denied the allegations absolutely then, and I deny them absolutely now."