National | Destiny Church

Destiny Church disciple appears in Manukau District Court on historic teen sex assault charges

The accused man appears in the Manukau District Court on sexual abuse charges. Photo / Jason Oxenham NZME

Security guards had to hold back a distressed man while he yelled at a long-standing Destiny Church disciple accused of sexual abuse as he exited a Manukau District Court room yesterday.

During the exchange, the young man said to the defendant: “You think you’re suffering? I’ve been suffering since you.”

The 29-year-old appeared in court facing six charges in connection with two alleged victims.

The charges relate to alleged indecent assaults occurring over multiple years, including claims he placed his hand on one of his alleged victim’s genitals over clothing and put his genitals up against their bodies over clothing.

Four charges specify the boys were aged between 12 and 16 and the remaining two charges were for alleged offending against a male over 16.

Judge David Cameron granted the man interim name suppression and released him on bail without plea until June 24.

The mother of one of the alleged victims described the scenes outside the court as “pretty bad”.

“I was not expecting that. It was quite a scene in the carpark.”

She said a lawyer called two police officers over who helped de-escalate the situation.

The woman told the Herald seeing the man accused of abusing her son appear in court was confronting.

“I thought I’d be okay but I just felt such a strong emotion.

“I had to just remain in cool mode. It was quite hard. I thought I’d be okay but when you’re confronted with it, then it’s a different story.”

In a statement last week, Detective Inspector Natalie Nelson, Counties Manukau CIB, said charges had been laid “as part of an ongoing investigation into historical sexual assault allegations”.

They dated back to at least 2020 and involved “an individual connected to a youth group” in Counties Manukau.

“The man faces six charges of indecent assault, and at this stage the charges relate to offending against two victims,” Nelson said.

“Police are still making inquiries including speaking with other individuals and as such further charges cannot be ruled out.

“We continue to encourage anyone who has matters they need to raise with police to come forward. Any complaints will be treated in confidence and police will ensure support services are made available.”


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:

Alternatively contact your local police station - click here for a list.

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

Katie Harris is an Auckland-based journalist who covers social issues including sexual assault, workplace misconduct, crime and justice. She joined the Herald in 2020.

- NZ Herald