Pim Borren. PHOTO/FILE
A reference written on Masterton District Council letterhead in support of a high-profile convicted sex offender has been questioned by the sentencing judge.
Council chief executive Pim Borren wrote the reference for former Olympic hockey champion Arthur Parkin, Mr Borren’s sister’s partner, who was jailed on Friday for sexual offending.
Parkin was sentenced at Auckland District Court to one year and eight months in prison after a jury in February found him guilty of two of five indecent assault charges.
Mr Borren’s letter was written under the council’s office of the chief executive letterhead, and said Parkin had “made a mistake many years ago and paid dearly for it”.
Judge Robert Ronayne read aloud parts of the letter but disregarded Mr Borren’s words and appeared disturbed that he had used his public office to send it.
But Mr Borren on Friday said it was his normal practice to use his business letterhead when providing references – which was a common occurrence.
“There is absolutely no way that I condone what he has been convicted of.
“I am absolutely abhorrent of it, as anyone would be,” he said.
“I was asked by his lawyer to write a character reference and I did that for a family member who I have known for 20 years and obviously care about.”
Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said she would not comment until she had seen the letter.
She had yet to discuss the matter with Mr Borren on Friday night.
Mr Borren said he had not discussed use of the letterhead with other staff or elected members at the council, but said anyone asking for a reference would expect it to be written on his business letterhead.
“Part of my credibility is based on my position in the community.
“The judge obviously has a view . . . at the end of the day, he can make whatever comment he wants to make. I won’t comment on that.”
Parkin shook his head during his sentencing and looked back at the public gallery sheepishly as he was led away to the cells.
“I note for the record that you shake your head, you continue to deny what you did,” Judge Ronayne’s voice boomed towards the now 66-year-old.
– with NZME
Olympic champion jailed for sex offences
Former Black Sticks star, Arthur Parkin, was accused of indecently assaulting young girls in Whangarei, Auckland and Coromandel from 1975 to 1983.
Eleven of the 12 jurors found him guilty on two charges, of which there was independent evidence, relating to the second of the three women.
All the complainants’ identities are permanently suppressed.
The second complainant said she was indecently assaulted by Parkin, then in his late 20s, at an Auckland home. On another occasion, when she was only 11, Parkin forced her to touch his erection.
She testified during Parkin’s trial that she was sitting in a sleeping bag on a couch when the Olympian reached inside, under her clothes, and abused her.
The jury unanimously ruled that Parkin was not guilty on the charges relating to the two other women.
“Imprisonment is very much on the cards,” Judge Ronayne told Parkin after the verdicts were read out.
On Friday, an emotional victim impact statement from the second woman was read to the court.
“When I was 11 years old, on the cusp of turning 12, you, Arthur, abused your role . . . and sexually abused me,” she said.
“My parents entrusted me into your care, and I trusted you as one of the two adults in the house with me.”
She said Parkin had made the decision to abuse her and then “just brushed [it] off”.
“Those decisions have influenced my life ever since,” she said.
“Those decisions you made will continue to influence my life until the day I die.”
She described her abuse as a “disease that has grown and infected my life”, causing enormous damage.
“Enormous self-doubt and a belief that I didn’t matter,” she said.
“I didn’t matter, my voice didn’t matter.
“Alienated, misunderstood, told I was aggressive, cold even, hard. Even my sexuality was questioned.”
She said when she was giving evidence during Parkin’s trial, abuse survivors approached her.
They were those who “were too afraid to go public, but said they were on the stand with me”.
“People have approached me and said, ‘Now that the case is over I can move on’. Really?’ Can I?”
During the second incident, she said at trial, Parkin gestured to her to come and sit on his thigh before forcing her to touch him.
“What do you do in a situation like that? I just switched off.”
The woman explained during her evidence that she initially declined laying charges against Parkin because it would likely break up the Olympian’s marriage.
“In the back of my head I thought ‘what happened to me wasn’t as bad as what happened to other people . . . Just deal with it’.”
However, when she did come forward with her story she said she did so to protect other children, including her daughter.
“I had a civic duty to close the loop and to speak up,” she said.
“I also looked at my daughter and thought, ‘That was me and I can’t let that happen to anyone else’.”
On Friday, she said, she forgave Parkin.
“If I don’t, all my years of fighting . . . will go to waste”.
Crown prosecutor Fiona Culliney quoted a pre-sentence report which said Parkin believed his offending was not a result of sexual arousal but “a momentary lapse of reason”.
“Her recollection is inaccurate from what actually happened,” Parkin told the report’s writer.
Judge Ronayne said Parkin’s excuse was “ludicrous and untrue” and he has “no true remorse”.
“I accept her evidence as to what happened as entirely truthful,” the judge said.
The first complainant alleged Parkin pushed his hand under her togs while at a Northland beach during the summer of 1975-76.
“He was my hero. Arthur Parkin – the great gold medallist. All the kids wanted to play hockey like him, I wanted to play hockey like him,” she said during her testimony.
She told the court her alleged abuse was “a hidden, dirty little secret for most of my life”.
“He knows the truth and I know the truth,” she said.
On another occasion she alleged Parkin forced her to touch his groin.
She along with the second complainant were encouraged to lay a complaint with police by a person close to Parkin. An investigation began in 2016.
A third complainant came forward after seeing media reports about the allegations.
The third woman alleged Parkin indecently assaulted her on a tramping trip while they were sharing a bunk bed. — NZME