In a rather stunning story on New Zealand news site Stuff.co.nz on Saturday morning, a swim coach who was sentenced to 28 months in jail after pleading guilty to three counts of sexual misconduct with a 15-year old girl is fighting to have his name suppressed from records.
The swimming and surf lifesaving coach, according to Stuff, invited the young swimmer into his room at a meet in January and provided her with alcohol. Earlier this year, the coach in question made an offer of $10,000 to the victim and what is called “restorative” which in New Zealand is basically a legal outcome that focuses on the victim and making them whole rather than simply punishing the convicted person in a largely unrelated manner, like prison time. Such offers, while seeming foreign in the United States (see the Rick Curl non-disclosure agreement), are not unheard of nor illegal in some countries, including New Zealand and South Africa (and even in the United States, though typically in significantly less-heavy accusations).
Now, the coach has asked for, and on a temporary basis been granted, the suppression of his identity.
Where the United States has seen a hard-fought battle to ensure that the identities of convicted sexually abusive swim coaches are known and publicized to eliminate the ability of them to be rehired in situations where they will work with coaches, it would be a stunning turn for the coach in New Zealand to have his identity kept a secret.
The coach accepted full responsibility for his actions, according to Stuff, and said that he wouldn’t place any blame on the victim.
It is unlikely that he would ever be able to find a coaching job again in his country, given that contacts in New Zealand indicate to us that it is no secret who the coach is locally, but if his identity is not revealed publicly, the possibility would exist of him travelling to another country and becoming a coach there.
There was an “interim suppression” placed upon his name while proceedings continued; that was lifted upon sentencing, but then immediately continued as the coach’s attorneys appealed.
The exact nature of the sexual acts have also been suppressed.