Dilworth abuse: Graeme Charles Lindsay molested children in ‘environment of calculated grooming’

For decades, the only people who knew what happened were Graeme Charles Lindsay of Dilworth and the boy he abused.

“The best way the impact this violation has had on me is I spent years suffering in silence,” one of Lindsay’s victims told the High Court in Auckland today.

After he was molested on a Scouts trip to Rangitoto, he told nobody, even in adulthood. Not his wife. Not his children.

But it turned out he was not the only person Scouts leader Lindsay targeted, and he was far from being the only victim of abuse linked to Auckland’s Dilworth School.

He approached police after seeing news reports about the Operation Beverly investigations into abuse at the school.

And Lindsay was sentenced today for offences against him and another boy in the mid-1970s.

A second abuse survivor told the court he’d gone through radically different stages since the offending.

“As a young person I was deeply confused. In later years, anger boiled to the surface when I gave myself permission to think about it.”

In his victim impact statement read to the court, he added: “Now I think we were in an environment of calculated grooming.”

“In many ways, there is twice the harm that has been inflicted,” Crown prosecutor Jacob Barry said, referring to the two complainants.

But he said the evidence suggested Lindsay did not pose a significant risk of re-offending.

Defence counsel Nick Chisnall said Lindsay was contributing positively to the community nowadays.

“He’s taken proactive steps to ensure this won’t happen again. That’s what makes this unusual.”

In June, Lindsay admitted indecently assaulting a boy under 16, and committing an indecent act on another boy.

The offences Lindsay admitted carried a 10-year maximum jail term in the 1970s, and a seven-year maximum penalty today.

Justice Edwin Wylie said a pre-sentence report provided to the court described Lindsay as entitled, self-important and arrogant.

But the court also heard a clinical psychologist said a jail sentence was not necessary for Lindsay.

The court heard Lindsay, 71, was retired and involved in his local community.

Lindsay did not appear in person at the High Court in Auckland for sentence. Instead, he had an appearance by audio-visual link from Levin.

Justice Edwin Wylie said he allowed that unusual step after receiving a medical report from Lindsay’s doctor.

Lindsay was sentenced to six months and two weeks’ home detention.

He was ordered to go home and await the arrival of a probation officer.

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 call the confidential crisis helpline on 0800 044 334 or text 4334.
• Alternatively contact your local police station.
• If you have been abused, remember it’s not your fault.

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