Sex offender escapes jail

Ross Madden home detention for indecent assault. Photo: Facebook

A former Tauranga gym teacher who pleaded guilty to a charge of indecent assault escaped a jail sentence because the sentencing judge doesn’t think the offending is sexual enough.

Ross Madden, 35, was babysitting an eight year old girl while her parents were away. He went into her room three times, lifted the bedclothes pulled her pyjamas down and touched her body.

Judge Thomas Ingram says that by any measure it is an indecent assault. But he’s not persuaded that Madden’s motivation was sexual gratification. He says the offending wasn’t sufficiently sexual to warrant jail.

Madden pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, saving the victim the trauma of a trial. He has offered to pay $5000 reparation and will undergo counselling and treatment while serving the sentence. Madden’s offer of $5000 lump sum reparation has been accepted by the victim’s family.

Madden denied it was a sexual assault. The crown says it can only be sexual, there was no other motivation. Prosecutor for the crown Richard Jenson sought a jail sentence with the starting point set at 21 months.

Madden’s counsel Tony Balme says there were two bail breaches between pleading guilty and sentencing.  Madden coached a Te Puke gym class with adults present, and on another occasion he drank alcohol. The second breach resulted in Madden spending a week in Waikeria prison.

Tony says there will be no alcohol at the home detention address. He also argued against Madden being added to the register of sex offenders, saying the eight-year reporting period is an additional sentence.

Judge Ingram says the offending is unusual in his experience. He sentenced Madden to 12 months home detention to be served at Madden’s parents’ address in Morrinsville and 400 hours of community service.

“It will give you something else to do rather than sitting there staring at the wall,” says the Judge.

He added that if Madden drinks alcohol or takes non-prescription drugs during the sentence he will be jailed.

He ordered the name of Madden’s employer suppressed, saying the offending was not work related.

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