Kiwi actor ends home detention sentence for sex crimes

Author
Sam Hurley, NZ Herald,
Section
Crime,
Publish Date
Sunday, 3 February 2019, 12:02PM
Rene Naufahu admitted his crimes a week before his court case. (Photo / NZ Herald)
Rene Naufahu admitted his crimes a week before his court case. (Photo / NZ Herald)

A well-known New Zealand actor convicted of sex crimes has finished his home detention sentence.

Lee Rene Naufahu was sentenced last January to one year of home detention for indecently assaulting six women.

The former Shortland Street star's offending occurred at his acting classes between 2011 and 2013.

The 48-year-old initially denied any wrongdoing and even posted a video of him publicly performing a poem which seemingly referred to the allegations against him.

But the Power Rangers actor admitted his offences just a week before he was due to go on trial in the Auckland District Court.

The New Zealand Screen Awards winner's sentence was finished last week, however, at least two of his victims were not aware his sentence had finished.

Talking to the Herald on Sunday, one woman said she had assumed the Department of Corrections would notify her of the details of Naufahu's release.

When approached for comment on Naufahu's release, a Corrections spokesperson refused to answer, citing obligations under the Privacy Act.

They did, however, say victims of serious crime can register to receive notifications about their offender, under the Victims' Rights Act.

But Naufahu's victims say they were not aware of having to register and couldn't recall being told of their right to remain informed of the case.

Actor Rene Naufahu walks to court in 2017 with his lawyer Ron Mansfield. Photo / Nick Reed

Actor Rene Naufahu walks to court in 2017 with his lawyer Ron Mansfield. Photo / Nick Reed

After last year's sentencing, one of Naufahu's victims shared her powerful statement with the Herald and said his crimes caused her "lasting physical, mental and emotional damage".

"During these sessions Rene systematically, over a period of months, proceeded to groom me to the point of ignoring appropriate boundaries [to] break down any resistance to his physical and sexual violations," she said.

"Any protests were met with soothing explanations like 'this is what it takes to become a better actor', or 'this is acting in the real world'."

 

Marcus Lush Nights

Marcus Lush Nights

8PM - Midnight