Sex-abuse youth worker's sickening no-prison gloating

Author
NZ Herald ,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 27 November 2018, 12:46p.m.
The 23-year-old posted a sickening image to social media mocking his victim by gloating that he wouldn't be going to jail. Photo / Supplied
The 23-year-old posted a sickening image to social media mocking his victim by gloating that he wouldn't be going to jail. Photo / Supplied

An Auckland youth worker who preyed on a 12-year-old girl, coercing her into performing sexual acts on him, gloated on social media by predicting he would escape a jail sentence.

Devonte Vincent Walter Mulitalo, 23, had pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual connection with a young person under 16, and a second charge of indecent communication with a young person.

The former youth worker, who was 22 at the time he abused a 12-year-old girl, was yesterday sentenced to home detention.

But just weeks before sentencing, the 23-year-old posted a sickening image to social media mocking his victim - and gloating that he wouldn't be going to jail.

In his post, Mulitalo was handcuffed and dressed in a prison outfit, captioning the photo: "When y'all thought I was going in but then the game changed. #Wegood #Halloween2018" accompanied with a middle finger emoji.

This is the disturbing social media photo Mulitalo posted to Instagram just weeks before his sentencing. Photo / Supplied
This is the disturbing social media photo Mulitalo posted to Instagram just weeks before his sentencing. Photo / Supplied

Despite his disturbing post on social media, Mulitalo wrote an apology letter to his victim which was presented to the court.

"He is genuinely remorseful," said defence lawyer Panama Le'au'anae.

It was revealed between January and July 2017 the Glen Innes man sent "numerous" sexually explicit images to a 12-year-old girl.

He also admitted coercing the girl into a shed to perform sexual acts on him.

At the time Mulitalo was employed at Youth Town - a nationally operated, not-for-profit organisation focusing on developing 5-18 year-olds.

He was a supervisor and co-ordinator for after school care and the young victim was in under his watch.

After meeting the 12-year-old, Mulitalo began telling the girl how much he liked her.

Initially he hugged her, but that moved on to kissing and further into other sexual acts.

Mulitalo would tell the girl to lie and say she needed to go to the toilet and meet him in a shed.

He would give the other children lollies and let them play video games to keep them away from the shed.

Mulitalo tried to get the girl to have full intercourse with him but she refused.

He also started meeting her outside of Youth Town and would drive her to places where he would continue to abuse her.

Devonte Mulitalo has been sentenced for sex offending against a young girl who was under his watch at Youth Town where he was an after school caregiver. Photo / Facebook
Devonte Mulitalo has been sentenced for sex offending against a young girl who was under his watch at Youth Town where he was an after school caregiver. Photo / Facebook

He sent her photographs of his penis and videos of him masturbating.

Mulitalo was charged after his colleagues found the lewd images on the girl's phone and alerted police.

Judge Mary-Beth Sharp said the charges Mulitalo faced were representative, meaning Mulitalo committed multiple offences of the same type in similar circumstances.

She said Mulitalo had groomed the victim and there was a "significant level" of premeditation.

"She was just a little girl … this was a gross breach of trust," said Judge Sharp.

"I have my worries that you are a paedophile … but I am satisfied if you graduate from the SAFE programme that the risk you pose to the community and in particular young girls will be sincerely and severely mitigated if not abolished."

Mulitalo is banned from associating with or having any contact with any person under 16 except his brother - unless supervised by an approved adult.

He was sentenced to 11 months home detention and was ordered to undertake the SAFE programme.

He was also added the child sex offender's register and has been banned from owning, possessing or using any electronic device capable of accessing the internet while on home detention.

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