Friday, February 13, 2004

Police sex inquiry widens

Dominion Post
February 13, 2004
Police sex inquiry widens
by Philip Kitchin

A former Rotorua teenager says a policeman lured her for sex to the same house in which Louise Nicholas claims she was pack-raped by three police officers. The woman, who was about 16 at the time and was on school job experience wanting to be a policewoman, alleges that Bob Schollum had sex with her, and that another officer, Brad Shipton, tried to join in. She told One News last night that the incident, in the 1980s, destroyed her career ambitions and her trust in police.

Police confirmed that she made a formal complaint to them yesterday and said it would be looked at alongside the investigation into Mrs Nicholas' allegations that she was pack-raped by Mr Schollum, Mr Shipton and Clint Rickards when all three were policemen in Rotorua in about 1986. Mr Schollum is now a Napier car salesman, Mr Shipton is a Tauranga city councillor and Mr Rickards is assistant police commissioner. The three have strongly denied the allegations. The Government has ordered a commission of inquiry into how police dealt with Mrs Nicholas' original complaints, and into police culture. Simultaneously, police have reopened a criminal investigation into the rape complaints.

The woman at the centre of the new allegations says that, after telling her school she wanted to be a policewoman, she went out after school in a police car with Mr Schollum and another officer about four times. "They would pick me up from my father's house . . . I'd go out with them doing police work just to see what was involved in being a police officer." The woman says she looked up to the police officers and enjoyed the work experience till the day she was telephoned by Mr Schollum, asking if she wanted to go out on an afternoon shift. "It was on a weekend because otherwise I would have been at school . . . he told me he couldn't come and pick me up this time and could I come and meet him at this house." The woman says she had never been to the house before and has never been back since, but identified it as the same house that Louise Nicholas says she was taken to in about 1986 by Mr Schollum.

Inquiries by The Dominion Post and One News have revealed that Mr Shipton lived there at the time of the incident alleged by Mrs Nicholas. The woman says she was introduced to Mr Shipton for the first time at the house. She believes she was seduced "as such I suppose is the word" into going into a bedroom to have sex with Mr Schollum. She had never had sex before. She was having intercourse with Mr Schollum when Mr Shipton walked into the bedroom. She says she was told Mr Shipton wanted to "join in . . . I told him no and I told him I wanted to leave now". According to the woman, Mr Shipton stayed watching Mr Schollum but left before the sexual act ended. She says she became frightened at what was going to happen next and told the two policemen that her father knew where she was. The two men then warned her not to say anything or she and her family would get into trouble with the police. "I would never have gone there. I would never have gone anywhere near strange men. Not knowing them, had they not been police officers . . . my father wouldn't have let me go anywhere with people that I did not know. "But because they are police officers you are supposed to trust them."

The woman says that, after seeing the allegations made by Mrs Nicholas, she waited for a few days, hoping someone else would come forward. "I really didn't want to be involved. I've got on with my life and I'm very happy at the moment. "I didn't really need to be involved but I felt somebody needed to support her." A spokesman for Prime Minister Helen Clark said last night that other "relevant cases" to Mrs Nicholas' complaints would form part of the commission of inquiry.

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