Saturday, February 14, 2004

Investigator joined in group sex

NZ Herald
February 14, 2004
Investigator 'joined in group sex'
by Eugene Bingham and Phil Taylor

The scandal over the alleged cover-up of a claimed police pack-rape deepened last night with fresh allegations of inappropriate sex in the force - this time against the officer who originally investigated Louise Nicholas' complaint.

The former detective inspector in charge of the Rotorua CIB, John Dewar, who handled Mrs Nicholas' accusation that she was raped by three officers, was last night accused, with one of the alleged rapists, Brad Shipton, of having group sex with another woman. The woman claimed on One News that she was manipulated into having sex in the mid-1980s with Mr Dewar, Mr Shipton and a third officer, Clint Rickards, who has been stood down as Auckland's police commander pending the outcome of an inquiry into the cover-up claims and a fresh criminal investigation. Mr Dewar has maintained that it was appropriate for him to have carried out the investigation into Mrs Nicholas' allegations because he had nothing but a professional relationship with Mr Rickards, Mr Shipton and the third officer, Bob Schollum.

A commission of inquiry will look at Mr Dewar's handling of the case after Mrs Nicholas came forward in 1993 and said Mr Shipton, Mr Rickards and Mr Schollum attacked her at a police house in about 1986. A Police Complaints Authority inquiry found that Mr Dewar had failed to record and investigate the allegations, actions it said showed a gross lack of judgment and competence. The three men strenuously deny raping or violating Mrs Nicholas, who was 18 at the time. They do admit to having consensual sex with her. With the inquiry expected to probe police culture in Rotorua at the time, the Weekend Herald can today reveal that Commissioner Rob Robinson spent time there in 1985.

There are also further questions about the relationship between Mr Dewar and Mr Rickards amid revelations that Mr Rickards gave a verbal reference for Mr Dewar when he was employed as human resources manager for St John in the Waikato about two years ago. Mr Dewar and his lawyer did not return calls seeking comment about the One News allegations. Lawyers for Mr Rickards and Mr Shipton said they had no comment.

TVNZ said it had an affidavit from a former Rotorua woman saying she formed a relationship with Mr Shipton after suffering a family tragedy in the mid-1980s. She said that she agreed to the group sex at the time but now believed the officers had abused a position of trust. "I was vulnerable and really upset at the time and they preyed on that emotion and that is what got me into that situation," she said. Most of the sessions involved Mr Shipton and Mr Rickards, although one was with Mr Dewar, whom she said Mr Shipton described as his boss and friend. The woman said Mr Rickards would use a police car to drive her to meetings with Mr Shipton near Tauranga, where they would have roadside sex. She said that her last contact with any of the men was within the past two years, when Mr Rickards rang to ask her whether she was happily married.

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