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New Zealand expresses national outrage over online sexual predators

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 12th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Boys will be boys? There is a growing national outrage in New Zealand being directed at a group of teenage boys who bragged of their sexual conquests on Facebook. Called the "Roast Busters," said group went underground and has since become difficult to pin down. New Zealanders don't want anything like it happening again.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Nationwide public protests is being planned against the group for next week. New Zealand, a small South Pacific country is infuriated at the group, comprised of 17 and 18-year-old boys in Auckland, its largest city.

Two years ago, the Roast Busters named the girls involved in their peccadilloes before going into hiding.

"We do believe there needs to be something done about this, as what they have done is wrong, disgusting and a shame to many people," Jade Schutte and Ash Hilton, the creators of a Facebook page. They hope to organize protest marches on November 16 in New Zealand's three main cities.

Most troublesome is the fact that criminal authorities say that there is not enough evidence for the men to face criminal charges. This has frustrated the activists.

Police at first said they had received no complaints, but then conceded to having interviewed a 13-year-old, though without getting enough evidence for court action.

"Prosecuting these matters before the court requires a very high threshold, and we only get one opportunity to get it right," Police Commissioner Peter Marshall said in a statement.

"This means it is absolutely critical for victims that we have the strongest case possible, backed by the appropriate evidence before we can proceed."

Marshall said the parents of some of the women told police they did not want to make complaints. While some of the men were interviewed, the online boasts would not stand up in court.

The police response coupled with questions about the handling of the probe have prompted the police minister to seek an independent review of police conduct.

The incident has encouraged a wider debate about sexual violence, with counseling groups urging better sex and relationship education in schools, in addition to encouraging the government to weigh measures to halt cyber bullying.

"It is time victims of the Roast Club got justice and that the system was fixed," Jessie Hume, an Auckland woman whose online petition drew more than 34,500 signatures says. There is little doubt that a vast majority of New Zealanders are frustrated that these men have eluded justice.

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