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Man who doled out wedgies to random children given warning in court

The court heard the man ‘pulled the back of his pants and underwear up, resulting in the underwear being pulled tight between the victim's buttocks in an action referred to as a 'wedgie'
Porirua District Court. Photo: NZME

Porirua District Court. Photo: NZME

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

A 29-year-old New Zealand man has been given a stern warning by a judge over his "inappropriate" behaviour after he gave several young boys multiple ‘wedgies’.

The man, who was described in court as having a ‘development delay’, had been charged with indecently assaulting boys aged 8-11 years old.

However, he was found unfit to stand trial after a hearing in court last week.

The court heard the man had issues in understanding appropriate behaviour and that actions he might consider to be humorous were instead inappropriate.

The man, from Porirua on the North Island, had approached one 12-year-old as he was wheeling his bike to school in early 2021, court documents reveal.

He "pulled the back of his pants and underwear up, resulting in the underwear being pulled tight between the victim's buttocks in an action referred to as a 'wedgie'.

"The victim could feel what he thought was a bottle pressing against his back."

He went straight home and told his mother.

The same victim was walking to school when he noticed the defendant behind him again in June of the same year.

He crossed the road to get away, but the defendant followed him and gave him another wedgie.

After the victim yelled "hey can you stop", the defendant stopped and went to talk to another child.

The next day the defendant came across the 9-year-old victim, who was walking home with his brother from the local shops.

Both brothers tried to walk faster to get away from the defendant, but he caught up to them and grabbed the victim by the shirt, pulling it up.

The victim yelled to his brother to run but the defendant grabbed the boy's pants and underwear.

However, instead of giving him a wedgie he touched the victim on his buttock underneath his underwear.

The third charge relates to an incident in February 2021 when the defendant came across a group of children at a playground.

He began playing "dares" with the kids, daring them to run to a nearby pole and back.

He then dared them to go into the bushes with him, but they refused.

The defendant then grabbed the victim and unsuccessfully tried to pull him into the bushes.

He then dared the victim's friends to give the boy a wedgie, and when they did not do it, he performed the wedgie himself.

The defendant then dared the victim to kick him in the genitals. The boy did so "gently" before the children ran home to tell their mother what had happened.

Defence lawyer Sonia Thistoll told Porirua District Court at an earlier hearing that the man who has global development delay, meaning he is "effectively like a child in an adult's body" had been found unfit to stand trial on three counts of indecently assaulting boys aged 8-12.

While he cannot be put on trial for the charges, the court has determined he did cause the offending.

Judge Patrick Grace accepted recommendations that it would be inappropriate to place the man in a care facility. He discharged him back into the community with a strict management plan and the help of his parents and community agencies.

Because of his intellectual disability, the man enjoyed the company of younger people, Thistoll said.

Judge Grace addressed the man's parents at the hearing, saying: "I realise you are doing your best and I commend you for that as it's not easy for the both of you.

"We are reliant upon you to make sure it works."

He gave the man a stern warning for his "inappropriate" behaviour.

"You can't do this again, do you understand me? You just can't," he said. "Don't let yourself down and don't let your parents down."

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