Sunday, February 22, 2004

Family ties in botched police rape inquiries by Rachel Grunwell

Sunday Star Times
February 22, 2004
Family ties in botched police rape inquiries

by Rachel Grunwell

Allegations against cop's cousin were ignored `Because the rapist enjoyed a "good relationship" with officers, police refused to believe he was capable of any wrong-doing.' Former policeman Bob Schollum, one of three men facing pack-rape allegations in the Louise Nicholas case, is the cousin of a rapist at the centre of two botched police rape investigations. Schollum worked as an officer at Murupara around the time staff ignored two rape complaints involving his cousin. One case was later investigated by different staff and the man was jailed. But Schollum said yesterday he knew "absolutely nothing" of both cases and was mystified about why a police report said he was interviewed in relation to the cases. Asked whether the fact his cousin was the accused may have led police to ignore the complaints, Schollum said he did not know if staff knew they were related.

In both cases, it was later recommended by former detective inspector Graham Bell that police commissioner Rob Robinson apologise for police inaction. But only one victim has so far received a formal apology. Name suppression was this month lifted for one of these victims, Rhondda Herbert-Savage, to whom Robinson apologised in 2000. Herbert-Savage was twice raped as a teenager in Murupara in the 1980s. The same man who raped Herbert-Savage also sexually offended against three girls and police failed to properly act on this complaint. In a report written in 1996, Bell said policing in Murupara at the time was superficial and that because the rapist enjoyed a "good relationship" with officers, police refused to believe he was capable of any wrongdoing so did not record the complaints or investigate. Schollum said yesterday he no longer had contact with his cousin. Bell's report said the three girls' case "did not receive the police attention it deserved" and Herbert-Savage's case was "grossly inadequate". Herbert-Savage fought for her apology and wants compensation, but the mother of the three girls was unaware police had also recommended an apology for her case. Bell said in the report there was no doubt in his mind the mother reported the sexual abuse of her daughters to then-sergeant Warren Smith in Murupara immediately after she found one of her children in bed with the offender. "I have no doubt that sergeant Smith went to the house and took (the offender) away as described by (the mother) but that from there, no further action was taken. No explanation for this dereliction of duty is given by the sergeant as he claims to have no recollection of the events," said Bell. All officers at the station knew about the complaints but did nothing, he said.

It was after the girls again complained and the man was jailed that Herbert-Savage's mishandled complaint came to light. The man was tried for her rape but was acquitted. However, Bell said he had no doubt the man was guilty but the case was hindered because of the delay to court and lost medical evidence. A government-ordered commission of inquiry into police behaviour follows Louise Nicholas' allegations Schollum, now a Napier car salesman, Tauranga city councillor Brad Shipton and police assistant commissioner Clint Rickards, pack-raped her as a teenager in Rotorua in the 1980s. All three men deny this and say the sex was consensual.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Top policeman socialised at club with Rickards

NZ Herald
February 17, 2004
Top policeman socialised at club with Rickards
by Patrick Gower

Police Commissioner Rob Robinson socialised with Clint Rickards in the Rotorua police club when they worked there together about the same time an alleged pack-rape involving police occurred. For three months in late 1985, Mr Robinson was on secondment as a sergeant in the CIB while Mr Rickards was a junior member of one of its squads.

Mr Robinson has not wanted to speak to the Herald about his time there but released a statement saying he knew Mr Rickards, Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum at the time they have been accused by Rotorua woman Louise Nicholas of raping and violating her a with baton in a police house sometime around 1986. He acknowledges he may be required to give evidence about his time in Rotorua to both the reopened criminal inquiry or to the Government-ordered commission of inquiry.

Mr Robinson said he came into social contact with Mr Rickards "possibly during occasional attendance at the police club and as a spectator at some sports events". He said the same went for Mr Shipton. He could not recall any contact with Mr Schollum during his secondment but said they had both been constables together in Palmerston North in the 1970s. Mr Robinson said he did not stay in a police house while he was in Rotorua but in private accommodation. Public records show that when his secondment began in October 1985, Mr Shipton and his wife were living in the house where Mrs Nicholas says she was raped.

Mr Robinson took up a new job in Wellington at the start of 1986. Mr Robinson promoted Mr Rickards to become one of his top decision-makers. However, new documents the Herald has obtained under the Official Information Act do show he did "express reservations" about Mr Rickards' suitability when he was shortlisted for the job of deputy commissioner in 2000. Mr Robinson did not elaborate on them to State Services Commissioner Michael Wintringham but later briefed Prime Minister Helen Clark on the allegations against Mr Rickards. She then decided to recommend the other candidate, Steve Long - the deputy commissioner now in charge of investigating the allegations against Mr Rickards. Mr Robinson stood down Mr Rickards as assistant commissioner responsible for the Auckland District when the investigation was reopened two weeks ago.

Mr Rickards, Mr Shipton and Mr Schollum all vigorously deny the allegations of rape but admit having consensual sex with Mrs Nicholas. Mr Robinson said he was not aware of any information from his time in Rotorua that could assist the criminal inquiry, but he would be happy to assist. He said he would also be at the full disposal of the commission of inquiry. Mr Robinson said he did not think his links with Rotorua now made his position difficult. He said Mr Long had his own authority under warrant from the Governor-General and could therefore run it independently of him. Despite Mr Robinson's misgivings about the suitability of Mr Rickards for the deputy commissioner's job, the Herald has also revealed he was involved in promoting Mr Rickards four times after learning of the rape allegations in 1997.

A police officer (now retired) who led a Police Complaints Authority inquiry into the handling of the rape allegations said he warned Mr Robinson at the time of the first of those promotions "you will regret this decision for years to come".

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Rotorua police district damned in report

Sunday Star Times
February 15, 2004
Rotorua police district damned in report
By Rachel Grunwell

An official investigation into police mishandling of a rape complaint criticised at least one officer and named others who have come under fire in the Louise Nicholas inquiry. It shows that police headquarters have long been aware of failures by officers stationed in the Rotorua policing district at the time Nicholas claims her rape complaints were mishandled. The inquiry was into the mishandling of a complaint of rape made by Rhondda Herbert-Savage in the 1980s, and was carried out by then-detective inspector Graham Bell. It damns the handling of her inquiry and the police culture in Murupara, part of the Rotorua district, at the time.

Herbert-Savage allowed the Sunday Star-Times to help her lift her name suppression in the High Court at Rotorua last Friday. She said she wanted the suppression automatically accorded to sex attack victims lifted to let her childhood friend Nicholas know she was not alone. Nicholas has accused three men - assistant commissioner Clint Rickards and two former officers Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum - of raping her in a Rotorua house in 1986. The three deny the rape claims and say the sex was consensual. The officer in charge of the police re-investigation into Nicholas' claims, superintendent Nick Perry, said eight officers from outside Rotorua had started interviewing people connected with the allegations. Thirty people had been interviewed already in the Bay of Plenty including Nicholas, who was questioned on Friday, twice yesterday and will undergo more interviews this week. Rickards, Schollum and Shipton were yet to be questioned.

Herbert-Savage, then aged 14, complained to police in 1981 she had been raped twice. In his report to headquarters, written in 1996, Bell wrote that the man accused of the rape was friends with police officers at the time, and that police handling of the complaint was "woefully inadequate". He singled out the actions of then constable Trevor Clayton, to whom Herbert-Savage initially complained, as "a gross neglect of duty". Clayton, who died last year, is recorded in police documents regarding the Nicholas case as being prepared, on oath, to "protect his mates" if asked about her in court. "It is clear at the time police did nothing whatsoever about this (Herbert-Savage's) complainant," Bell wrote in his report. Bob Schollum was also interviewed by Bell. Another officer, who won name suppression after being acquitted of sex charges, was also interviewed by Bell. He has also been named in connection with the Nicholas inquiry. The Murupara station's boss at the time, sergeant Warren Smith, was also criticised over the Herbert-Savage case. Smith was transferred from Murupara for disciplinary reasons following a police internal finding of dereliction of duty, but it is not known what this related to. One of the officers at this tribunal hearing described Smith's attitude in refusing to take action as "typical of the sergeant at the time". However, Bell said Smith had been rehabilitated since these incidents and went on to perform duties to a satisfactory standard. Smith perfed from the police only weeks ago.

East Coast MP Janet Mackey is delivering Herbert-Savage's case files to Attorney-General Margaret Wilson's office tomorrow to see if they could be included in the commission of inquiry. The terms of the inquiry are due tomorrow.

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.

Rob Robinson worked in Rotorua

NZ Herald
February 14, 2004
Rob Robinson worked in Rotorua
by Patrick Gower

Police Commissioner Rob Robinson worked for a short time as a policeman in Rotorua, with the officers that Louise Nicholas has accused of pack rape. Mr Robinson, who was a sergeant in the Rotorua CIB between October and December 1985, might have to give evidence to the inquiries into the allegations.

Mrs Nicholas alleges she was raped and violated with a police baton by Rotorua officers Clint Rickards, Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum in a police house in about 1986. All three strongly deny the accusations. Mr Robinson had spent most of 1985 off on leave without pay and was in the throes of leaving the police on medical grounds until deciding to return after a knee reconstruction operation. In the three months Mr Robinson was in Rotorua, official police records show Mr Rickards had been selected for CIB duties and was undergoing his induction. It is understood Mr Schollum was also attached to the CIB. Mr Shipton was a uniformed officer and public records show that in October 1985 he and his wife were living in the police house where Mrs Nicholas alleges she was pack raped.

Mr Robinson declined to answer a series of questions yesterday about his time in Rotorua. He said he recalled that the Rotorua station "was a busy one at that time". But he did not want to talk about the police culture in Rotorua in the 1980s before the terms of reference of the commission of inquiry were released.

Friday, February 13, 2004

More revelations in cop rape case

One News
February 13, 2004
More revelations in cop rape case

A former top detective who investigated police rape claims is now being accused of having a close relationship with the people he investigated. A Rotorua woman says she was manipulated into group sex with several officers, including Clint Rickards and - on one separate occasion - the CIB boss who later led an inquiry into Rickards' behaviour.A woman who suffered a family tragedy in the mid-1980s which brought her into contact with Rotorua police says she developed a relationship with officer Brad Shipton.She says that led to at least six group sex encounters with then-detective Shipton, now a Tauranga city councillor, and Clint Rickards - now suspended from his job as assistant commissioner in Auckland.

The former Rotorua woman says she agreed to the group sex but now feels the men betrayed a position of trust."I was vulnerable and really upset at the time and they preyed on those emotions and that's what got me into that situation," she said.One News has an affidavit signed by the woman in which she claims one sex session involved Shipton and the former head of Rotorua CIB, John Dewar.Several years later Dewar investigated claims made by Nicholas that she was raped and sexually violated with a police baton by police officers Brad Shipton, Clint Rickards and Bob Schollum.Asked whether John Dewar was a friend of Shipton's, the woman told One News that he said that he was his boss and his friend and that he had just moved to Rotorua.However, former Detective Inspector John Dewar maintains his relationship with the trio at the centre of the Nicholas allegations was strictly professional and he denies any cover up.He told the New Zealand Herald on February 2: "I would challenge anyone to come forward and tell me what relationship I have with those men. We don't socialise or go to each other's homes, we don't call each other up."

Nicholas' allegations against Rickards, Shipton and Schollum are being investigated by the police, the Police Complaints Authority and an independent commission of inquiry.The latest complainant says Clint Rickards would use a police car to drive her to meet Shipton near Tauranga, and the trio would have sex, parked on the roadside.She says that on one occasion Rickards got a call out and wanted to "just leave me there because he wanted to go to the call out". She says she objected and made him take her back to Rotorua.The woman says her last contact with the men was within the last two years.She says at that time Rickards called her to ask if she was happily married.

One News tried to get a response from Dewar and his lawyer about the allegations but they did not return calls. Neither did the lawyers acting for Shipton and Rickards.

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.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Rape inquiry documents relate to different case

NZ Herald
February 10 2004
Rape inquiry documents relate to different case
by Phil Taylor

Documents provided by a former policeman to show he did a good job investigating pack-rape allegations against three policemen appear to relate to another case in which those men were not among the accused.

John Dewar, a former police inspector, is accused by Louise Nicholas of not properly handling her complaint of a pack rape to cover for the policemen, who were his colleagues.
He provided the Herald and TV3 with documents which he said showed he had done a good job investigating the matter and had been praised, including by the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) at the time, Sir John Jeffries.

The Herald believes the documents cannot and do not relate to the pack-rape allegations against Clint Rickards and former policemen Brad Shipton, a Tauranga District councillor, and Napier car salesman Bob Schollum. Mrs Nicholas alleges that incident occurred in a house in Rotorua owned at the time by the police department.

Herald inquiries indicate they relate to the police handling of a case alleging other police officers had committed sexual indecencies on a woman living in Murupara between 1980 and 1983.
The documents were dated between June 1994 and January 1995
the latter being the date on the letter written by Sir John in his capacity as the Police Complaints Authority.

But Judge Ian Borrin, who took over the PCA role from Sir John, confirmed to the Herald the PCA became aware of allegations of a pack rape in Rotorua by police using a baton only in May 1995, four months after the date on Sir John's letter.

Judge Borrin told the Herald he had checked the documents and "it seems to me the timeframe you have derived from the papers is accurate".

Asked whether that meant Sir John's letter - which said Mr Dewar's work was of a "very high standard" - could not relate to the Rotorua allegations, Judge Borrin said that appeared to be the case.

"The dates as you have worked them out seem to be correct but I think that any comment about that should be left to you."

Mr Dewar was quoted on 3 News on Sunday night as saying he stood by the professionalism of his inquiries into the Rotorua allegations and that the documents would prove he did not compromise the inquiry to protect his colleagues.

TV3 quoted Mr Dewar saying the Jeffries letter showed that although Mr Dewar personally believed Mrs Nicholas, his bosses had agreed there was not enough evidence to lay charges. Mr Dewar said this meant that if he was found to be incompetent, so were a lot of others.
Mr Dewar implied to the Herald another document - which says Mr Dewar "carried out a full inquiry" - related to the pack rape and baton incident. This document deals with allegations made about police based at Murupara.

The names of those accused were blanked out but Mr Dewar told the Herald they included Mr Rickards, Mr Shipton and Mr Schollum. Subsequent Herald inquiries indicate this complaint was about three other police and that neither Mr Rickards, Mr Shipton nor Mr Schollum was based at Murupara.

The Herald contacted Mr Dewar last night but the line went dead

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Pack Mentality

Sunday Star Times
February 8, 2004
Pack Mentality
by David Fisher

"I wonder how easy she would be," a senior male police officer says to another, referring to a female colleague. The comment was among those collected by Prue Hyman, a research associate in gender and women's studies at Victoria University, in her police-commissioned study, Women in the CIB, in 2000. Hyman interviewed dozens of officers and plans to discuss her report with police headquarters, to discover if it will be put forward to the commission of inquiry. She believes it should be be.

Women police officers told Hyman:

* "I have found the only guys who want to mentor you will end up wanting something different. "The senior people within the police who sort of start the `you're a very special person routine', and then they start visiting you at home and it goes on from there. "And they say, 'We don't work in the same station so therefore it's not going to be a problem'. Personal experience, and not once, several times. They're not junior staff, they are senior managers."

* "It's male culture and we're always considered fortunate to be there, and that's how I felt a lot of the time. It (is) only like that because of the pack - they all egg each other on. Split them up and they're not like that at all."

* "On their own they can be really nice chaps but in a group situation it is quite intimidating especially socially. "Sometimes I don't think you can blame individuals, I think you just blame the whole police system."

Police headquarters would not discuss the report.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Quiet lives with dark secrets

New Zealand Herald
February 7, 2004
Quiet lives with dark secrets
by Geoff Cumming, with reporting by Phil Taylor, Jo-Marie Brown, Ainsley Thomson and Eleanor Black

The police are facing an unprecedented crisis over allegations of rape against officers. In this comprehensive report the Weekend Herald traces how long-buried secrets have come back to life:Louise Nicholas was getting on with life. She had buried her memories of repeated rapes by policemen in Murupara, a gang-rape ordeal in Rotorua, the baton, the inquiries which ran into brick walls.She had a husband and three growing children, milking to do on a nearby farm, sheep and calves to look after and, for relaxation, horse-riding. The 36-year-old had "put in a cupboard" what she alleges went on in the 1980s.Then in early December, a curly-haired reporter arrived out of the blue at their brick home in Ngakuru. About 12 families live in this lifestyle community on a back road 30 minutes' drive south of Rotorua; they call it "the village".

It was a hot day and Nicholas sat outside with the reporter, Phil Kitchin. He had something to tell her and a thick file to show her. He explained that he started on the trail two years ago after a tip from a contact.They sat in the sun for a long time as the Dominion Post reporter explained what he knew: about Nicholas' allegation that she was gang-raped and violated with a baton by three policemen in a Rotorua police house in 1986; about the secret Police Complaints Authority inquiry into the police handling of that allegation; and her claims that she had been raped by police before, starting when she was 13.The conversation would provoke claims which raise questions not just about her treatment by police but which cut to the core of police culture and attitudes to women.

The three alleged to have raped her in 1986 are Auckland's top policeman, Assistant Commissioner Clint Rickards, Brad Shipton, now a Tauranga District councillor, and Bob Schollum, a used-car salesman in Hastings. They vigorously deny the allegations which they say were thoroughly investigated a decade ago.She accuses a fourth policeman, John Dewar, then head of Rotorua CIB, of not properly investigating her claim.But Nicholas' story goes back even further, to Murupara, the tough timber town where she grew up as Louise Crawford in the 1970s. Back then, it was not quite the troublespot it would become. A sleepy mill town on the highway between Rotorua and Wairoa, it boomed in the 1950s when pine from the vast Kaingaroa Forest came on stream for logging.With hunting and fishing on its doorstep, it was a mecca for hard men who loved the great outdoors. Precut huts for single men were planted on a site bounded by the Rangitaiki River, the forest edge to the west and the rugged Ureweras to the east.By 1955 it had its first policeman, although for some years to come it would be hailed as a model for understanding between Maori and Pakeha.The Crawford family arrived in this frontier town in 1970 when Jim Crawford was appointed store supervisor at the Kaingaroa Logging Company.Louise, the second youngest of four children and the only girl, was just 3. The family had moved before, from Rotorua where she was born, to Whangarei, then back to Rotorua.Her mother Barbara took part-time jobs to make ends meet, at one stage working in the local bank.People led "very full lives", Barbara Crawford told the Herald this week. "We never sat around doing nothing. Things needed to be done and people got in and did it."It was the sort of place where everybody knew everybody else's business. "People were very friendly; it was a small community."

Louise went to Murupara Primary and Rangitahi College. Pretty and slim, she learned ballet but her real love was the outdoors. She enjoyed horseriding and hanging out on a farm with a girlfriend who lived over the back fence.Her parents helped to form a search and rescue service which would bring frequent contact with the local police.After a search or training exercise, says her childhood friend, the men would gather for a few beers, often in Jim Crawford's back shed. Neither girl was allowed in the shed during these gatherings.It was at a party after a successful search and rescue operation that, the friend claims, Louise was raped by a policeman. Twins lost in the Ureweras had been found and celebrations followed at a volunteer's house. Louise took food over and ended up staying to babysit.Her parents stayed the night and, while they slept, she was raped. When she told what had happened, her father went to "have it out" with the constable. But the complaint was not followed up."I don't think anyone believed her," says the friend. Louise did not have boyfriends and was not promiscuous. "We never hung out with boys. We had strict parents."Louise would subsequently lay rape complaints against four policemen stationed at Murupara in the early 80s, when she was aged between 13 and 15.The policemen denied it and without corroboration the matter was cleared as "not established".

For a young policeman, Murupara was hardly a sought-after posting. "In those days we had our own law here," a former search and rescue colleague of Jim Crawford recalls. "We didn't muck around with the police, really."Other locals say that in a small community, interaction with the police was routine. "We were all kind of friendly towards our cops - just treated them like mates, I suppose."But by the 1980s, the town was in a downward spiral following logging layoffs. It was an era of strikes, rising unemployment and youth crime.A book on policing in the Bay of Plenty by Jinty Rorke notes that police "inherited a serious gang problem and frequently found themselves involved in confrontations in the local hotel".Says one resident of 30 years: "The police had that 'let the family deal with it' attitude. If a fight broke out between the gangs and others they would not get involved. The local rugby guys had to step in."But for some of the young constables who came and went, this rugged spot was a chance to cut loose.Or, as former Police Association secretary Rob Moodie put it: "The attitude of young males towards women was different. We were like young bulls in a paddock."Says another local: "It's okay for anyone to have a social life, but the police were known to have more fun than others. I know of them hiring out the local pub for private functions. At one or two of these parties a couple of them got up to no good with some of the girls they invited. I heard it was all legal but I think it was still pretty weird for cops."It was a hard station to fill, says one long-serving Bay of Plenty policeman. "It was a rough town - lots of single young men and alcohol about. If you did your two years there you got to go anywhere you wanted."

Bob Schollum - one of the three policemen Nicholas alleges raped her in Rotorua - arrived in Murupara in 1980 from Palmerston North. Aged 28, he had been in the force for three years.He was not only good at his job but, locals say, "very good-looking".Schollum and another officer, Constable Trevor Clayton, became friendly with the Crawfords through search and rescue. Nicholas' childhood friend told the Herald that Schollum, like a trusted uncle, used to take the young Louise for drives.Clayton formed a friendship with Louise's brother, Peter, which would last 20 years until Clayton died last year of cancer.But the Crawfords' time in Murupara was about to run out. Jim Crawford was made redundant and the family moved to Nelson in search of a new life. Before long, they were back in Rotorua.One evening in 1986, Nicholas was walking home from her job as a receptionist when Schollum, who had transferred to Rotorua, pulled up and offered her a lift. She alleges he took her to a police house where he, Rickards and Shipton pack-raped her and violated her with a baton.The 18-year-old recognised Rickards and Shipton, big men into body-building and partying."I protested vigorously about being in the room with them because I knew what was going to happen. I was saying, ' No, I don't want this, guys.'A fourth man she did not know, wearing a police shirt but mufti trousers, witnessed the attack, she says. The baton was put into her anus while she was made to perform oral sex."It was so painful. I remember saying, 'No more, no more,' and rolling away. I picked my clothes up off the floor and Schollum told me to go and have a shower, which I did."She cried as she was driven home and Schollum said, "I'm sorry, Lou," when she was dropped off at her nearby flat.A former colleague who knew Schollum, Rickards and Shipton at the time says they "were good guys but they were ladies' men, always going on about their conquests."They were out to play and play they did. They were typical guys as far as I could see. If they were given the chance they would take it and a lot of them were given the opportunity because girls seemed to go for guys in uniform."It was a sexist place to work, the colleague says. Partying and womanising by police was never questioned or frowned on.Another colleague: "They had a shocking reputation among everyone for stray rooting but I never heard of anyone making complaints or anything like rape. It was always consensual, willing stuff. They probably fancied themselves as studs.""Brad [Shipton] was a cowboy, very vain. He bulked up all of a sudden."Trevor Clayton was another well-known player. But it was Clayton, the former Murupara constable and family friend, to whom Nicholas would turn when she first complained in 1993 about the alleged Rotorua rape.Nicholas says she did not tell anyone about the incident at the time because "I felt no one would believe me because they were police officers".She says the baton rape was not the end of police sex offences against her. Only when she formed a relationship with her husband, Ross Nicholas, did police stop calling on her.

She and Ross, a milk tanker driver, married in 1988; she was 20, he was 23. They lived in Horohoro, just outside Rotorua. The next year the first of three children was born.For most of this time, she says, the abuse by police was too much for her to deal with and she blocked it from her memory. That didn't mean it wasn't there. It nagged at her and, in 1993, she decided it had to be dealt with."Every time I saw a police car or a uniform ... the hairs on the back of my neck would stand on end. That's how I've been. I've always had this fear."She suffered "horrendous nightmares because ... nobody believed me. I've left them buried for a very long time".She sought counselling from a sexual abuse counsellor, Margaret Craig, who found her accounts credible. "I have had people in the past in my office with these sorts of stories and I have felt that they've been somewhat shaky or there's been some concerns that I've had," Craig said. "But I never ever had any with Louise."It was also time for Nicholas to tell those she loved and was loved by. "As soon as I decided to deal with it, I decided to tell everyone."Her family have been fantastic, she says, not least Ross, who has been her rock.He told the Herald that friends who knew Nicholas' story would sometimes ask him why he'd stayed with someone with so many problems. It's because, he says, he believes her and believes in her.

Early in 1993, aged 25, Nicholas went to the Rotorua police station to lodge a formal complaint. But she says she was persuaded by then CIB chief John Dewar not to make a complaint in writing.Her allegations against the trio came to light only after the Police Complaints Authority was called in to investigate police handling of a previous rape complaint made against the police in the Bay of Plenty.Detective Inspector Rex Miller and other senior police were brought in to conduct a Police Complaints Authority investigation into Nicholas' claims.The PCA inquiry, whose existence was made public only this week, looked at whether Dewar had conspired to cover up the 1986 allegations but found he had not committed any criminal or disciplinary offence.The investigation discovered that Dewar had failed to record a formal statement of complaint from Nicholas. His failure to record and investigate the allegations showed a gross lack of judgment and competence, the inquiry found.Early in his investigation Miller spoke to former sergeant Ray Sutton, to whom Nicholas had repeated her allegation of rape by the three officers."Ray made notes in relation to his interview with Louise and mysteriously his notebook disappeared from his desk," he said.It was Miller who stood up to be counted this week after Nicholas went public. Now retired, he had kept his notebook of interviews with her "because I had some unease". He says he found her story compelling, but met a wall of silence from Rotorua police."I believed what she told us," he said. "But we had to go on what evidence was available and the corroboration was just not there."Miller, a man with a keen wit but a steely sense of purpose, said Nicholas was "moulded like play dough" into not making a complaint.He said that a month after he was given a statement from Nicholas, in which she said she was raped by the three officers, Dewar took another statement from her, in which she indicated the sex was consensual.Asked if he believed her, Miller said: "Well, I didn't believe the second statement."He said it was inappropriate for Dewar to have taken the statement at all. Nicholas' contradictory statement had brought her credibility into issue.Nicholas was also "poisoned" towards the PCA investigating team, which led to her making statements that "clouded her credibility"."I think she was very naive and easily manipulated, almost like play dough."She was able to be moulded how they wanted."It had also been unprofessional of Dewar to investigate close associates, he said.

By 1995, counsellor Margaret Craig had become so disturbed by Dewar's influence on her client that she wrote to police national headquarters outlining her concerns. She said Dewar was picking up Nicholas from her home and taking her to lunch before bringing her to counselling."That began to concern me because I knew she was very vulnerable."Craig says she received no reply for five months, after which she again approached national headquarters. From the reply, she concluded the police were "covering their backs".Dewar, now with the St John Ambulance in Hamilton, this week defended his handling of the allegations and sought legal advice."I spent a lot of time with Louise and dealt with her in an absolutely professional way," he told the Weekend Herald. "I was sympathetic and compassionate. I believed her and trusted in what she was saying to be the truth."He said he spent countless hours at Nicholas' home, going through the process the police would follow about her complaint, informing and briefing her and her parents."There was no coaxing, no persuasion. She made informed choices and had counselling. I liaised closely with her. If that is moulding then I am guilty of moulding ..."I did not mesmerise this girl over a period of 18 months. She knew and understood what her options were. What more can I say?"But in footage taken by a hidden camera and broadcast on One News, Dewar admitted to Nicholas he knew at least some of the physical contact between her and the three policemen was without her consent."I certainly knew that the part regarding the baton was not consensual. It would be hard to understand why you would consent to that."Yet he told the Sunday Star-Times Nicholas had to "take responsibility for what happened"."She said it was part of a different life. She never said anything about sexual offending in groups. She said she had a relationship with them separately."The impression I gained was she received a certain degree of satisfaction being present among police officers. They made her feel important, gave her mana. She seemed to relish the attention from these very important and powerful men. She said she was ashamed and embarrassed about what she allowed these men to do to her."He says he handled the investigation with the blessing of his district commander, the late Trevor Beatson, who took the matter to regional commander Assistant Commissioner Bruce Scott.It was agreed Dewar should handle the inquiry because of the serious nature of the allegations and because the detective constable in charge of the sexual abuse team would have been investigating a superior.

Nicholas says she originally believed Dewar had treated her fairly until she was shown various documents from the PCA investigation."I have since learned that the police officers he advised me not to make a written complaint about were friends and associates of Mr Dewar," she said in a statement.Some time after the investigation, Dewar was removed from his command at Rotorua police by the Deputy Commissioner of the time, Barry Matthews, who sent him to work in Auckland's police control room. He later left the police.Miller says the three accused policemen were counselled. This was the only discipline available because the investigation was outside its 12-month time limit under police regulations.Schollum and Shipton are no longer policemen. Shipton owns bars in Tauranga and Hamilton and is a colourful Tauranga District councillor. One of his establishments, the Mount Mellick, made headlines last year when it ran a dwarf-throwing contest, with punters tossing a vegetable oil-covered dwarf along a polythene sheet. Shipton, a strapping 120kg-plus figure, said at the time it was neither dangerous nor denigrating.Schollum appeared in the Herald in 1989 after rescuing two children caught in a rip at Mt Maunganui. He said afterwards the most fearful part was walking up the beach in his by then transparent underpants. "That gave some of the women in the crowd a few chuckles," he said.He became police prosecutor in Napier before leaving the force in the late 1990s. In 1999, he applied for a licence to sell used cars and now works at Stephen Hill Motors in Hastings.Miller says Rickards, the only one still in the force, admitted having sex with Nicholas with another person present, but denied raping her or using a baton on her."I know I laid it on the line to him loud and clear as to what my expectations of a police officer were. I didn't beat around the bush."It doesn't matter who's carrying it out. It's not professional behaviour and it's not the behaviour you condone from a young constable."Rickards, born and raised in Rotorua of the Tainui subtribe Ngati Hikairo, was no stranger to trouble. Petty crime as a teenager brought him into contact with the police but he knew he wanted to be one of them. He joined as an 18-year-old, too young to make arrests.A profile in the 1979 Trentham police college yearbook, written by classmates, lists rugby and beer as his pet loves. His ambition: commissioner. But the most likely outcome, his colleagues predicted, was: "Black Power leader in Rotorua.""Clint would tell anyone who would listen he was going to be the first Maori police commissioner," a veteran officer said this week. "And he would step on whatever toes he had to in order to get there."Another former colleague found him aggressive and controlling. "When he left Hamilton they all breathed a huge sigh of relief."A detective by 1983, Rickards spent four years in Rotorua and did a stint undercover. Transfers would later take him to Otahuhu, Hastings, Invercargill, Papakura and Hamilton.

When, in 1997, assistant commissioner Rob Robinson promoted Rickards to become the country's youngest police chief, in the Gisborne district, Rex Miller was dismayed."I told him he would regret the decision, that it wouldn't be wise because Rickards was carrying a bit of baggage. And he [Robinson] said, 'No, no, he'll be good, he'll be good."Two years on Robinson, then deputy commissioner, accepted Rickards' eventually successful application to head the Waikato district but played no further role in the appointment.But the rape allegations would come back to haunt Rickards in 2000, when he was vying for the job of deputy commissioner, a position requiring the Prime Minister's approval.After Robinson told Helen Clark about the allegations and investigation, she recommended Steve Long, the man appointed this week to reopen the police investigation of the complaints.Yet Robinson did not cast Rickards adrift. In 2001, by now commissioner, he promoted Rickards to assistant commissioner, bringing him to headquarters to run a troubleshooting support team for him.He then appointed Rickards head of the Auckland City police district, with overall responsibility for greater Auckland, a position he took up on January 1.Robinson said this week he did not believe "sexual proclivities" should necessarily come into employment decisions. After Helen Clark announced a commission of inquiry, he conceded his promotion of Rickards might form part of the inquiry.The Government's quick move to defuse any political fallout this week was in itself highly unusual. When on Sunday afternoon Herald political reporter Kevin Taylor contacted the Prime Minister's office about Rickards, it was Helen Clark who phoned back to explain why she had not recommended him for deputy commissioner.Two days later, as police reopened the criminal investigation and Rickards was stood down, Helen Clark ordered an independent commission of inquiry."The allegations are extremely serious and suggest a systematic cover-up of misbehaviour by the police," she said.The inquiry will look at the police handling of their investigations into Nicholas' claims and the "culture" within the police. It will look at other, possibly related claims which came out of the woodwork this week.

Kaitaia woman Judith Garrett alleges she was handcuffed and raped in the Kaitaia police station in 1988, when she was 44. Charges were never laid against the officer, Constable Tim Ogle.Garrett told the Herald: "He's been in Australia since he was more or less told to go in July 1988."And a Murupara woman, whose name is suppressed, is seeking compensation over the police handling of her 1982 rape complaint. The 38-year-old, twice raped by a shopkeeper when she was 16, received a formal apology from Robinson in 2000 after a damning report into police handling of her complaint.Amid these developments, more details emerged of Nicholas' story and of police culture at the time - from Miller, from Craig and from former Rotorua policewoman Carolyn Butcher, who was in the same squad as one of the three men. She told One News her baton went missing at a police party in the mid-1980s. When it was returned, she was told it had been used for sex.Then on Wednesday, Louise's brother Peter Crawford said former policeman Clayton had confessed on his deathbed that he was warned to keep quiet about the allegations. "He said, 'there's definitely been a cover-up', said Crawford. "He was definitely having trouble with it because he knew it was illegal."After 18 years, Nicholas could scarcely comprehend the developments this week. After the letdown of Miller's investigation, she had returned to the lifestyle block and "got on with life" with Ross, a milk tanker driver, and their three children, aged 14, 12 and 9.Her family knows everything, she says, and her children understand that things happened to their mum at the hands of policemen that should never have happened."We'd sort of put it away in a cupboard and got on with life but we thought, who knows, it may come out one day," she told the Herald.Louise and Ross Nicholas didn't crack open a bottle of champagne when the commission of inquiry and new criminal investigation were announced. They are rural people. They did have a beer as they took constant phone calls.Ross, who has stood by her throughout her journey, was elated for his wife. "I called it Louise Day. We need a public holiday."To Nicholas, it marked a change which she summed up with the words, "they can put away their brooms now". At last, she is being listened to.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Police told to keep mum about culture in the force

February 6, 2004
Police told to keep mum about culture in the force

Police have been told to close ranks to media asking questions following historical rape allegations by Rotorua woman Louise Nicholas. Staff had been told not to talk about the culture in the force in the past, and police national headquarters general manager of public affairs Michael Player had sent staff a memo saying they should not respond to any media requests for information about what their working lives were like in past decades. Mr Player told staff not to speak about any of the issues raised by Mrs Nicholas' case, but particularly police culture.

The memo follows intense media interest in former police culture after Ms Nicholas alleged she had been pack raped by three police officers and violated with a baton in Rotorua in 1986, when she was 18. The three men involved, assistant commissioner and Auckland police commander Clint Rickards, Tauranga city councillor Brad Shipton and Napier car dealer Bob Schollum have vigorously denied the allegations. Mr Rickards has been stood down on full pay while the claims are investigated. Southern police boss Superintendent Nick Perry is to head the criminal investigation. He will lead a team of 13 police staff and will answer to deputy commissioner of operations Steve Long. Prime Minister Helen Clark has also announced a commission of inquiry will look at the claims and will also consider wider issues within the police force.

Further claims of rape by police officers surfaced yesterday following publicity about the allegations. An Auckland Sexual Abuse Help Foundation counsellor said she knew of four cases in the past 18 months of rape complaints against police that did not make it to court. Former Police Association secretary Bob Moodie said he also knew of another case involving a female police officer who did not pursue her claim of rape by a male colleague. "She wouldn't complain and the reason she wouldn't is because she had no confidence her complaint would ever be investigated," he said. Dr Moodie believed police culture had improved in recent years. "The attitude of young males towards women was different. We were like young bulls in a paddock." Police Association president Greg O'Connor agreed the culture had changed and said there was greater accountability.

'Slipups' abort previous trials against police officer on sex charges

NZ Herald
February 6, 2004
'Slipups' abort previous trials against police officer on sex charges
by James Gardiner

A series of Rotorua court cases nine years ago gives a clear idea of the type of concerns Prime Minister Helen Clark had in mind when she spoke of the need for the commission of inquiry to look at the culture of the police. A former police officer was tried three times on charges of indecent assault and sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl living with him as a member of his family and under his care and protection. The first two trials were aborted after the detective in charge of the case introduced inadmissible evidence. The man was acquitted at the third trial. During these trials it emerged that the complainant had also made sex allegations against serving police officers but the detective had failed to make a written record of her complaint and advised her not to make a statement. Two of the judges severely criticised him for this. At the second trial, Judge Philip Evans said his failure to record the allegations was "remarkable ... in view of the background of such a large number of police officers being implicated and in my view shows a lack of judgment on his part". In a ruling on costs after the third trial, Judge Michael Lance went further: "I am of the view the failure to record details of these allegations was not only 'remarkable' it was utterly incredible. "During his interview with the complainant he is told of allegations of potentially serious sexual offending by ... currently serving police officers. "Such disclosures should have triggered alarm bells that would have permanently silenced Big Ben no matter how vague in terms of time and event or place. "Even more surprising than the failure to record is the officer's deliberate advice to the complainant not to make a statement about her allegations against these officers." Judge Lance said the fact that a non-serving police officer was pursued with vigour while allegations against serving officers went unrecorded leant weight to the defence argument that the accused man was "a sacrificial offering". He awarded the acquitted man more than $20,000 in costs. Because of a suppression order the name of the detective, as well as the names of the accused and the complainant, cannot be published. The decision records that the first trial was aborted after the detective said in evidence that a fellow officer and former colleague of the accused had told him he was prepared to lie to protect the man because he did not believe he was guilty. That was seen as unfairly discrediting a potential character witness for the defence and, by association, the defendant. The second trial, before Judge Evans, was aborted after the same detective said in evidence that several other officers had admitted to him that they had had sex with the complainant. The judge said the experienced detective had placed this "clearly hearsay evidence before the court during the course of what I must describe as measured and carefully delivered evidence in circumstances where there are accusations against a number of police officers of a serious nature".

At each trial the judges expressed concern about how and why an experienced and high-ranking police officer could make such blunders in giving evidence. When he aborted the second trial, Judge Evans noted it was the second time the same officer had done a similar thing at a similar point. "That leaves a question mark as to the motive of the officer which should no doubt be examined by the appropriate authority," he said. He was not the only person in court puzzled by what was behind the officer's actions. The Herald has obtained copies of statutory declarations prepared and signed at the time by a senior Rotorua solicitor not involved in the case. The solicitor, who asked not to be identified, said he was sitting in the back of the court after the defence raised its objection to what the officer in charge of the case had said. He was aware the previous trial had been abandoned in similar circumstances. According to him, after the judge left the police officer walked to the back of the courtroom "grinning and looking pleased" and said to the complainant and her family, "You know what's going to happen now - just what we discussed". The solicitor says he then overheard the officer outside the courtroom, saying words to the effect that "it was a bit of a gamble".

Judge Lance did not agree with the Crown's assertion that it would be wrong to infer the actions of the officer in charge were "a stupid and fundamental error" rather than deliberate. "I am of the view it was a willed and conscious act calculated to embarrass and frustrate the accused's defence," he said. "It most certainly had that effect. Twice." The case sparked an internal police inquiry and an investigation by the Police Complaints Authority. Although the police officer was found to have failed in his duties and had acted unprofessionally, allegations that he deliberately misled the court and was malicious in his prosecution of the former policeman were not considered proven. Documents obtained by the Herald show police chiefs and judges lost confidence in the officer but he did not lose his rank and was transferred to an administrative post in another city.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

More rape claims against police officers emerge

February 5, 2004
More rape claims against police officers emerge

Further claims of rape by police officers were surfacing today following the Government's decision to order a commission of inquiry into the handling of pack-rape allegations. National Radio reported that an Auckland Sexual Abuse Help Foundation counsellor knew of four cases in the past 18 months of rape complaints against police that did not make it to court. Counsellor Caroline Day said at least one woman was persuaded by police that her claim would not stand up in court. "It's a harrowing court system to put anyone through," she said. "My understanding is that, on at least one occasion, there has been a bit of dissuasion about taking this case forward, as in police advising, 'Look, this isn't going to stand up'."

Former Police Association secretary Bob Moodie said he knew of another case involving a female police officer who did not pursue her claim of rape by a male colleague. The reason was that she had no confidence in any subsequent investigation. "I know of a case where a woman police officer was raped by a CIB officer," Dr Moodie told National Radio. "She never complained. She couldn't complain. She wouldn't complain and the reason she wouldn't is because she had no confidence her complaint would ever be investigated and she knew that she would be a greater casualty and a bigger victim of the situation than she actually was."

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced the commission of inquiry on Tuesday after claims that Rotorua woman Louise Nicholas was pack-raped by three police officers in 1986 when she was 18. All three have strenuously denied the allegations. One of the three, Auckland City district head Assistant Commissioner Clint Rickards, was stood down on full pay as a criminal investigation was reopened. The commission will also consider wider issues within the police force. Miss Clark said yesterday that another case of alleged rape, in Northland 16 years ago, was the "final straw" when she considered the Government's response to Mrs Nicholas' claims. Details of Judith Garrett's case were sent to Miss Clark after Mrs Nicholas' allegations were made public at the weekend. "Believe me, what was sent to me... my hair stood on end," she said. Miss Clark said the two cases raised questions about the culture within the police and the conduct of individual officers and whether the course of justice had been perverted. "The question which is on everyone's mind is what were the prevailing standards of police behaviour where group sex with relatively young women was not considered a matter of concern to the employer?"

Mrs Garrett, 60, is also calling for police to re-open a criminal investigation into her complaint that a Kaitaia constable handcuffed and raped her in the town's police station in March 1988. The officer admitted having sex with her, but said it was consensual. In 1994, Mrs Garrett took a private prosecution against the Attorney-General, alleging a police cover-up. Despite finding that the initial investigation had not been carried out properly, a High Court jury at Whangarei ruled against her on the basis that the investigating officer had not been motivated by malice. Mrs Garrett said she was shocked by the similarities between her experience and that of Mrs Nicholas. "I feel that the public have absolutely no idea of what happens within the police force and they should be informed." Police national headquarters spokesman Jon Neilson said historical cases relevant to that of Mrs Nicholas, including Ms Garrett's, would be reviewed as part of a reopened criminal investigation into Mrs Nicholas' allegations. Deputy Commissioner Steve Long would make decisions about any matters that appeared to warrant future action, Mr Neilson said.

Another rape claim 'the final straw' - PM

Dominion Post
February 5, 2004
Another rape claim 'the final straw' - PM
by Nick Venter, Kelly Andrew and Gordon Jon Thompson

Another alleged rape by a police officer was a key factor in the Government's decision to order an independent inquiry into the alleged pack rape of Louise Nicholas. Prime Minister Helen Clark said Judith Garrett's case was the "final straw" when she considered the Government's response to Mrs Nicholas' claim that she was raped by three policemen in Rotorua in 1986. Details of Mrs Garrett's case were sent to Miss Clark after The Dominion Post reported Mrs Nicholas' allegations. The prime minister said the information clinched her decision to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate not just the handling of Mrs Nicholas' case but wider issues within the police force. "Believe me, what was sent to me ... my hair stood on end," she said yesterday.

Mrs Garrett, 60, alleges that a Kaitaia constable handcuffed and raped her in the town's police station in March 1988 and that the police failed to properly investigate her complaint. In 1994 she took a private prosecution against the attorney-general, alleging a police cover-up. But, despite finding that the initial investigation had not been carried out properly, a jury in the High Court at Whangarei ruled against her on the basis that the investigating officer had not been motivated by malice.

Miss Clark said the allegations of Mrs Nicholas and Mrs Garrett raised questions about the culture within the police as well as the conduct of individual officers and whether the course of justice had been perverted. "The question which is on everyone's mind is what were the prevailing standards of police behaviour where group sex with relatively young women was not considered a matter of concern to the employer?" The Kaitaia documents had been forwarded to the Crown Law Office which is drafting the terms of reference for the inquiry. Logically, the inquiry would include some consideration of Mrs Garrett's case, Miss Clark said. Mrs Garrett said she was shocked by the similarities between her experience and that of Mrs Nicholas. "I feel that the public have absolutely no idea of what happens within the police force and they should be informed."

Mrs Garrett said her alleged assailant was dismissed from the police for disgraceful conduct in 1988 but was never charged with rape because one of his colleagues – who had been drinking with him on the night of the alleged incident – mishandled the initial investigation. He did not formally report her complaint to his superiors for three months and failed to follow correct procedures. He was later charged under police regulations for his after-hours drinking and neglect of duty but he retired before the charges could be heard. "He didn't take any notes and he didn't ask me to make a statement. He just asked me what happened and who I had told about it," Mrs Garrett said. She had been at the Awanui Hotel waiting for her partner to finish work when she was introduced to her alleged attacker. He was drinking there with another officer and asked her for a lift home. On the way, he asked her to stop at the police station so he could pick up some running gear. He told her one of her car headlights was not working and, while she was checking it, handcuffed her. Frightened, she demanded he let her go and he said they would have to go inside the station for the key. He allegedly raped her in a locked office. "I couldn't believe he'd rape me – he was much younger than me," Mrs Garrett said. She struggled and bit the officer on the arm, and deliberately left evidence such as fingerprints and strands of hair. Police spokesman Jon Neilson said police were looking at Mrs Garrett's file. Hers was the only other historical rape complaint since Mrs Nicholas' claims became public.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Former policeman said to have made deathbed confession

The Herald
February 4, 2004
Former policeman said to have made deathbed confession

A former policeman made a deathbed confession saying he was warned to keep quiet about rape claims made by Louise Nicholas, the Dominion Post reported today. The newspaper said a friend of the policeman, Louise Nicholas' brother Peter Crawford, said that the week before former Rotorua policeman Trevor Clayton died last year, Mr Clayton broke down and said he wanted to ask for forgiveness from Mrs Nicholas and her family. Mrs Nicholas alleges she was violated with a police baton and pack-raped by three police officers, Clint Rickards, Bob Schollum and Brad Shipton, when all were Rotorua police in 1986. She says that Mr Rickards and Mr Shipton continued on occasions to have sex with her against her will. All three strenuously deny the allegations. Mrs Nicholas said she asked Mr Clayton, whom she knew through her family, to try to make his fellow officers stop, the Dominion Post reported. Mr Clayton was integral to the original police investigation of the case, the newspaper said. Yesterday that investigation was reopened by police, at the same time as the Government announced a commission of inquiry into the matters.

The man who assigned himself to investigate the original allegations, former head of Rotorua CIB John Dewar, said in a police document obtained by The Dominion Post that Mr Clayton told him Mrs Nicholas had complained to him about what some Rotorua policemen were doing to her. In the document, Mr Dewar is alleged to have said that Mr Clayton said there could have been criminal implications to Mrs Nicholas' complaints. He said Mr Clayton had said he was prepared to lie on oath to "protect his mates" if asked about Mrs Nicholas in court. But Mr Crawford told The Dominion Post that, as Mr Clayton lay dying, he wanted to come clean about what he knew. Mr Crawford said he became "best mates" with Mr Clayton during a 20-year friendship.

Mr Clayton had been a groomsman at his wedding. Mr Crawford said he knew his sister made allegations that police officers in Rotorua had sexually assaulted her in the mid to late 80s. Because of their divided loyalties, Mr Crawford and Mr Clayton did not discuss the allegations in great detail until a few days before Mr Clayton died. Mr Crawford said that Mr Clayton's partner telephoned him saying Mr Clayton wanted to see him. "Trevor was gravely ill. Everybody that had anything to do with Trevor knew he didn't have long to go. He had cancer ... I shot round there to visit him and we sat down and caught up on some old times and then he quite suddenly got quite emotional," he told The Dominion Post. "I felt he wanted to get something off his chest with me. He broke down and held my hand and basically he wanted to come clean with the issues regarding my sister. "He asked me for forgiveness and Mum and Dad's forgiveness and Louise's forgiveness ... like I say, he wanted to come clean on the whole deal but he told me he was gagged, that he was told to shut up and it was quite emotional for him. "It was one of the hardest things I've had to listen to ... and he never actually got that chance in the end. He passed away approximately a week later." The Dominion Post: "There was no doubt what he was telling you was that these police officers had acted unlawfully in the way they treated Louise?" Mr Crawford: "Definitely, yes ... I think, with Trevor being out of the police force, his relationship with his mates in the police force became strained over the issue. "He certainly wanted to clear, have it all out in the open and have it cleared up and he was definitely gagged. Threatened maybe. "He said, 'There's definitely been a cover-up' ... he was definitely having trouble coping with it because he knew it was illegal."

Mr Crawford said that, though it was difficult knowing that Mr Clayton had known things about his sister, he remained his friend because he had tried to make clear his conscience. "Yeah, we were, we were mates." Mrs Nicholas said she had forgiven Mr Clayton. Mr Dewar said yesterday that he had fully investigated Mrs Nicholas' complaints and welcomed any inquiry into his actions. Mr Dewar has been accused of manipulating Mrs Nicholas in order to protect his colleagues. However, in a brief statement yesterday, he denied all allegations of wrongdoing and said he had not compromised his inquiry into Mrs Nicholas' complaints. He would co-operate fully with any inquiry and looked forward to being exonerated.

Second woman's anguish

The NZ Herald
February 4, 2004
Second woman's anguish
by Eleanor Black

A second woman whose rape complaint was bungled by police has spoken out about police treatment. The woman, whose 1982 rape complaint was handled in what a police investigator later agreed was a "woefully inadequate" manner, used to live close to Louise Nicholas, whose pack-rape complaint has sparked a commission of inquiry. The woman, whose name has been suppressed, was given a police apology for the way she was treated but she wants compensation.

The 38-year-old was twice raped by a shopkeeper in 1982 when she was 16. She reported the rapes to Murupara police - who were friendly with the rapist - but they did not follow up her complaint. Mrs Nicholas alleges three policemen pack-raped her in a Rotorua police house in 1986. The second woman remembers hearing about the incident. "She was a good girl," she said of Mrs Nicholas. "She had real strict parents." Police Commissioner Rob Robinson formally apologised to the unnamed woman in 2000 following a damning 1996 report by Rotorua Detective Inspector Graham Bell (now retired) into the police handling of her rape complaint. Mr Bell said in the report that a formal apology for the "woefully inadequate" police response was the "very least that should be done for the complainant".
His report found:

* The police service in Murupara in the early 1980s was "inadequate and superficial".
* The police were reluctant to accept that there had been any wrongdoing on the part of the rapist.
* The police officer to whom she complained, Constable Trevor Clayton, asked the rapist and his wife to come to the police station, in an attempt to deal with the matter quickly, which Mr Bell described as "inappropriate".
* The lack of police action at the time had "a compound effect" on the victim.

Mr Bell concluded: "It would appear she was treated as a second-class citizen and her rights were trampled by an uncaring, uncommitted and lackadaisical police officer with little interest in his job. "There is no question that the police response to her reporting the incident was woefully inadequate to the point of being a gross neglect of duty on the part of former Constable Trevor Clayton." Mr Clayton resigned in 1989 under the Police Employment Rehabilitation Fund scheme for officers with psychological or physical impairment. The woman wants to sue the police for exemplary damages and loss of earnings. Since the rapes, she has suffered health problems which prevent her from working. Her advocate, Phillipa Cunningham, says that a year ago she tried on behalf of the woman to get a $320,000 out-of-court settlement from the police. The police refused. The woman, who now lives in Auckland, told the Herald she is $120,000 in debt for personal loans, is depressed and stressed. "I have been breaking," she said, "but I've got to learn I've got to focus."

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Rape-accused policeman served in city

The Evening Standard
February 3, 2004
Rape-accused policeman served in city
by Don Kavanagh

Two of the policemen involved in the Louise Nicholas rape inquiry were colleagues in Palmerston North in the late 1970s and had a reputation for womanising. Bob Schollum and Trevor Clayton were colleagues and friends in the city during that time and subsequently teamed up again in Taneatua, in the Bay of Plenty, and Rotorua, the Manawatu Standard has been told. Police Commissioner Rob Robinson was also stationed at Palmerston North at the same time as Mr Schollum and Mr Clayton.

Mr Schollum, along with Assistant Commissioner Clint Rickards and former police officer Brad Shipton, is accused of being involved in the gang rape of Rotorua woman Louise Nicholas in 1986.

Mr Schollum allegedly violated the woman with a police baton. Mrs Nicholas said the men frequently had sex with her against her will. Mr Schollum subsequently left the police and became a car salesman. Mr Shipton, who has also resigned from the police, is now a Tauranga city councillor.

Mr Clayton, who died last year, has been described by Mrs Nicholas as a family friend whom she confided in, in the hope that he could convince his police friends to leave her alone. According to a news story at the weekend, Mr Clayton admitted that he had done nothing about the allegations and would lie to protect his mates. The details were recorded in an interview made during an investigation into Mrs Nicholas' complaints in 1980s.

A source told the Standard yesterday that Mr Clayton and Mr Schollum, along with a third officer, were close mates. "They were like the Three Musketeers," the source said. "They were renowned for it (womanising) and everyone knew about them. But it's a bit unfair to compare things back then with how things are today. Things were different. "There were women who were particularly attracted to men in uniform, so there was plenty of scope." The third officer, who also left the police and became a nurse, was investigated in Taneatua in the early 1980s over a sexual violation, but the charges were dropped.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Police cover-up allegation

NZ Herald
February 2, 2004
Police cover-up allegation:

Inquiry tainted says probe head Rex Miller, the former top officer who did the Police Complaints Authority inquiry into the handling of the rape allegations, says police chiefs should have known years ago that his inquiry was compromised. Police Superintendent Rob Robinson has said a full inquiry was warranted because of new information that Mr Miller's review might have been compromised. The three police officers accused of gang rape deny the allegation and say it was fully and properly investigated in the 1990s.

Police Minister George Hawkins said he had previously been advised of the allegations and had been assured they had been investigated and there was no substance to them. Mr Miller told the Herald that his investigation was compromised because of interference by John Dewar, who was head of Rotorua CIB. Among allegations published at the weekend is that Mr Dewar did not properly investigate Mrs Nicholas' allegations because he was covering for the police officers. Mr Miller said Mrs Nicholas "was moulded like play dough" into not making a complaint and because of Mr Dewar's influence did not co-operate with his inquiry into Mr Dewar's handling of her allegations.

Mr Miller, who was a detective chief inspector based in Hamilton, believes he made it clear in his report that his inquiry was hamstrung by Mr Dewar's behaviour. "We couldn't thoroughly investigate it because we had all these obstacles thrown in front of us. I felt we didn't get anywhere," Mr Miller said. "I haven't got a copy of my report so I don't know how I worded it but they [the police hierarchy] knew." Although his brief was to investigate Mr Dewar's handling of Mrs Nicholas' allegations rather than her allegations themselves, Mr Miller said he was left with serious misgivings. "Did I have a bad feeling at the end of it? I've kept my notebook, with the whole [outline of the] inquiry in it. It's the only one I've ever kept," said Mr Miller, who retired in March 2000. "We always thought it had happened. We always thought something had taken place that was untoward." Investigating the allegations should have been passed to someone from another police district, Mr Miller said. "If it is someone you know personally, a workmate, you disqualify yourself from the investigation. That's the normal practice."

Mr Dewar earlier claimed that he had kept the Bay of Plenty district commander of the time, Trevor Beatson, fully informed. "But I briefed Trevor about my inquiry and he wasn't aware of the full extent of the matter," Mr Miller said. Mr Beatson has since died. As a result of Mr Miller's inquiry, the three officers were "counselled" about their behaviour. "I counselled them, Rickards, Shipton and Schollum, and I filed a report about it. That goes on their internal police file. If it's not there, it should be," Mr Miller said. He understood Mr Dewar had received a written reprimand from the complaints authority. Mr Miller was confident the inquiry now being set up could do a good job, despite past police failures on the matter

Nicholas inquiry may look at other cases

NZ Herald
February 2, 2004
Nicholas inquiry may look at other cases
by Patrick Gower

Police may widen their investigation into the Louise Nicholas allegations to include other mishandled sex complaints in the same district at the same time. Commissioner Rob Robinson last night confirmed he was aware of the two other cases in the Bay of Plenty about the same time as Louise Nicholas' claims there was a cover-up of police allegedly pack-raping her. He was responding to Herald inquiries which found:

* A police investigation was ordered into the conduct of an experienced police officer who gave evidence in two sex trials which collapsed in the Rotorua District Court. After a man was acquitted of sexual impropriety in a third trial, the judge was scathing of the officer's conduct and awarded the defendant $20,000 costs for going through three trials.

* In 2000, Mr Robinson issued a formal apology to a 35-year-old woman who had complained to Murupara police that she was brutally raped in the early 1980s and whose case was badly mishandled.

There are parallels between the latter case and that of Mrs Nicholas, who has claimed that she was pack-raped as a teenager by three officers in a Rotorua police house about 1986. Both women lived in Murupara around the time and both have battled to get police to respond. Mr Robinson said the cases could be looked into as part of the internal inquiry he ordered into Mrs Nicholas' allegations being led by Deputy Commissioner Steve Long. "My first tasking for Mr Long is to focus on Mrs Nicholas' complaints. And indeed, wherever that takes us there may be the indication of a need for a wider review. "It is something that may emerge sooner rather than later. I'm not sure." National Party police spokesman Tony Ryall said last night that any inquiry should be broadened in light of the other cases. "There has been a large number of matters raised and we need to see if they are relevant to the inquiry."

Detective Inspector Graham Bell investigated the case of the Murupara woman, whose name has been suppressed, after she complained that no one looked into her allegations against a local shopkeeper until, some years later, he was charged with other rapes. Now retired and presenting the television show Police 10-7, Mr Bell told the Herald he had been concerned by what he learned of the Murupara police. "I got the impression there was an unhealthy culture among the police who were stationed at Murupara at that time." Mr Bell also wanted it known that he was not the police officer criticised in the court case.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

ONE News investigation has revealed key information that the police are unaware of

One News
February 1, 2004
New information comes to light
A ONE News investigation has revealed key information that the police are unaware of.

For the first time, Nicholas' claims that she was sexually assaulted with a police baton in 1986 appear to have been strengthened.A former Rotorua policewoman has told ONE News that her police baton was used for "deviant sexual behaviour"."It was given to me with the explanation that it had been used for sex," Carolyn Butcher told ONE News."I am disgusted... that there is a possibility that someone could have used my baton in that way."Butcher says she lost her baton at a police party in Rotorua in the mid-1980s.One of the men named by Nicholas was in the same police squad as Butcher and it is believed he was at that party.Butcher would not say at this stage who gave her baton back some time later.When asked if she had informed other police officers of the possibility that her baton had been used for deviant sexual behaviour, Butcher replied that she had told "plenty of people, yes".

The former policeman who headed an internal investigation into the way the then-Rotorua CIB chief handled the rape allegations told ONE News that the investigators did not know about Butcher's baton going missing - nor what she was told when it was returned.Former Detective Chief Inspector Rex Miller said the men denied the baton incident but confirmed they had sexual intercourse with Nicholas.Nicholas says she was raped and sexually abused in about 1986 by the three Rotorua policemen. Seven years later she made a rape complaint to Rotorua police.It was investigated by Rotorua CIB head, Detective Inspector John Dewar, but no charges followed against the three men.

In 1995 the Police Complaints Authority assigned Miller to review Dewar's investigation.His report concluded that Dewar did not commit any criminal or disciplinary offence but he showed a "gross lack of judgement and competence and failed to record and investigate Louise Nicholas' allegations against the three officers".Dewar did not want to be interviewed by ONE News but said that he welcomed any new inquiry and would fully cooperate.Rickards said in a statement that he too would cooperate fully and that he expected to return to normal duty after his voluntary three weeks' leave.