Kenneth O’Reilly. PHOTO/FILE
O’Reilly’s ‘extensive history of sexual offending’
A group of outraged Wairarapa residents are considering a petition to protest the return of a serial sex offender to the region – his last known address having backed on to a Masterton primary school.
Former rail signalman Kenneth Robert O’Reilly was well known for his contribution to the Wairarapa Railway Restoration Society and citizens band radio before news of his offending broke.
In December 2015, he was sentenced to six years and six months’ imprisonment on three charges of assault relating to a vulnerable adult and one representative charge of sodomy of a child.
This sentence will expire on August 22 when the now 75-year-old O’Reilly is expected to be released.
News of the decision made in the High Court at Wellington this week about O’Reilly’s extended supervision order conditions has been circulated in several community group Facebook pages, stirring feelings of outrage among locals.
The mother of one victim, who cannot be named for legal purposes and to protect the identity of the victim, said she was worried about where he would end up living.
“He put me through 10 years of hell,” she said.
“He has affected so many families. He destroyed my daughters’ lives.”
She said he was still a risk to society.
“I don’t want any family going through what I went through with my daughters.”
The High Court placed O’Reilly under an extended supervision order for five years, though the Department of Corrections had asked for this period to be longer.
In his findings, Justice Francis Cooke said O’Reilly had an “extensive history of sexual offending” dating back to 1962.
O’Reilly was first convicted in 1985 for two charges of sodomy – the victim a nine-year-old boy.
In 1997, he was convicted for sexual offending against a minor though he was later acquitted of all charges.
In 2011, he was convicted of indecent assault of a female under 12 years of age for offending which occurred between 1982 and 1986.
He was convicted twice in 2015, the first case involving three charges of indecently assaulting an adult male between 2006 and 2008, and the second involving charges of sodomy with a male child from 1962.
Justice Cooke said these convictions clearly established a pervasive pattern of serious sexual offending.
He was also concerned by O’Reilly’s lack of willingness to engage with rehabilitation or to address his offending. His age would not decrease his drive to offend.
“The recidivist nature of O’Reilly’s offending demonstrates his inability to self-regulate, in spite of sanctions and advanced age.”
He concluded there was a “significant risk” O’Reilly would commit a sexual offence in the future.
Some of the interim special conditions imposed on the supervision order included that he was to reside at an address approved by a probation officer, he was not to enter the Masterton District as defined by a map provided by a probation officer, and that he was not to enter or loiter near any school, early childhood education centre, park, library, swimming pool, other recreational facility, church, or any other area specified in writing by probation as out of bounds.
O’Reilly would also have to submit to electronic monitoring and would not be able to contact any person under the age of 16 without written permission from probation and under strict supervision.