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Former gym coach admits a further 32 charges of sexually assaulting young girls

Tracy Neal ,
Publish Date
Tue, 5 Mar 2024, 2:26PM
Gregory Pask. Photo / NZME
Gregory Pask. Photo / NZME

Former gym coach admits a further 32 charges of sexually assaulting young girls

Tracy Neal ,
Publish Date
Tue, 5 Mar 2024, 2:26PM

WARNING: This story details sexual abuse against children and may be upsetting.

A once-trusted member and coach at the Blenheim Gymnastics Club has admitted more charges of sexually assaulting young girls, bringing his total number of offences to more than 60.

In December, Gregory David Pask pleaded guilty in the Blenheim District Court to 29 charges, some of which included unlawful sexual connection with a female aged under 12, performing indecencies on young girls and knowingly making objectionable material.

Today, the 61-year-old serial sex offender admitted a further 32 charges, many of which were representative. While 17 of the charges were laid last year, the remainder were new.

Five charges were withdrawn by leave on application of the Crown.

Crown prosecutor Jackson Webber said police had been working through the huge and complicated task of reviewing electronic recordings and identifying the victims linked to the appropriate charges.

In the course of this process, the links became unclear in a few circumstances and therefore an adjustment to the charges was needed.

Pask, who appeared in court today via audio-visual link from prison custody, was such a trusted member of the gymnastics club that he was able to take young girls away on trips without their parents and have them sleep over at his house unchaperoned.

He sexually violated his victims in their sleep, one as young as 6, and took photos of his crimes.

Today he appeared contrite as he engaged with Judge Garry Barkle who convicted him on all charges.

However, his wish to attend Restorative Justice, so he could “apologise to the victims in person”, was denied.

The officer in charge of the case said none of the victims wanted to see him and therefore Restorative Justice was not an option.

Pask worked as a coach at the gymnastics club for 25 years until he was caught in September last year, according to a police summary of facts related to the first raft of charges.

As the club’s coach, Pask had contact with 180 children per week, mostly young girls aged between 7 and 11.

He also took young gymnasts to competitions outside of Blenheim.

“Many of these trips have involved him taking girls away, without their parents, and staying in accommodation with the children,” the summary read.

Until his arrest, Pask had been a trusted member of the Blenheim community, “to the point where several families have allowed their daughters to stay at his house during weekends and holidays”.

One of his victims was a girl he first sexually violated in November 2019, when she was 6 and was staying at his house overnight.

He repeated this seven more times over several years, each time while she was staying at his house.

The last time was in early January 2023.

The second victim was an 11-year-old girl who also attended the gymnastics club where Pask coached.

She stayed overnight at his house multiple times and travelled away with him to gymnastics competitions.

A few days after Pask offended against the first victim, in early January last year, he had the second victim to stay at his house.

During the night he violated her and took photos of himself doing it.

In August last year, the girl was staying in the same hotel room as Pask during a gymnastics competition in Christchurch.

During the night, Pask indecently assaulted the girl as she slept.

A month later, the girl stayed overnight at his house again and he repeated the first violations.

Following that assault, a complaint was made to police about it.

A third victim was a 13-year-old girl from Christchurch who visited Pask from time to time with her mother.

Pask also stayed at their family home in Christchurch during some of his weekend gymnastics trips.

Between December 2015 and May 2019, the victim was staying at Pask’s house during a holiday with her mum, who had gone out and left her daughter in Pask’s care on two consecutive nights.

On both nights, Pask violated the girl while she slept.

The fourth victim was another 13-year-old girl who was a close family friend of the first victim and was living with the young girl’s family while her own mother lived in Christchurch.

In late March 2019, the girl was asleep in bed at the friend’s home with Pask in charge while the younger girl’s mother was out of town at a work conference.

During the night, Pask reached under the young teen’s bedcovers and indecently assaulted her.

On another occasion that year, Pask drove the girl to see her family in Christchurch for the weekend.

As she slept in the front passenger seat, he reached over and indecently assaulted her again.

After the 11-year-old girl’s complaint in September last year, police raided Pask’s house and found multiple digital storage devices in his bedroom.

On them were multiple images that appeared to be downloaded from the internet depicting girls as young as toddlers and up to 10 years old.

There were also other images of similar-aged girls being used for sexual activity with adults and indecent images that did not involve sex.

Pask will remain in custody ahead of sentencing next month.


Where to get help:
If it's an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you've ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone, contact Safe to Talk confidentially, any time 24/7:
• Call 0800 044 334
• Text 4334
• Email [email protected]
• For more info or to web chat visit safetotalk.nz
Alternatively contact your local police station - click here for a list.

If you have been sexually assaulted, remember it's not your fault.

Tracy Neal is a Nelson-based Open Justice reporter at NZME. She was previously RNZ’s regional reporter in Nelson-Marlborough and has covered general news, including court and local government for the Nelson Mail.

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