Accused sex predators the Roast Busters "weren't the monsters that everybody thought that we were", one of the group's members has claimed.
Kiwis were shocked when in 2013, Newshub (then 3 News) revealed the west Auckland high-schoolers' actions, which allegedly included having group sex with intoxicated underage girls and boasting about it on social media.
Police had already been investigating the group for about two years, but the investigation was put on hold in 2014 with none of the group charged with any crimes.
Newshub reporter Karen Rutherford, who broke the story in 2013, has now spoken to one of the group's ringleaders - Joseph Parker, son of Hollywood actor and The Matrix star Anthony Ray Parker.
"We did a lot of things wrong," he admitted, "but at the same time we also weren't the monsters that everybody thought that we were, and we didn't do all the things that people thought we did."
At least five girls begged to differ, making formal statements to the police. Another 20 were invited to, but declined.
"They were very serious allegations," Rutherford told The AM Show on Monday, ahead of two stories to play on Monday and Tuesday nights on Newshub Live at 6pm (with extended versions here on newshub.co.nz going online at the same time).
"We had several young girls that we spoke to, two particular ones who alleged rape... others sexual assault allegations. Police put these guys through the mill, but they never laid charges."
Rutherford says the police only lay charges when they're sure they'll get a conviction in court. In the Roast Busters' cases, they weren't.
"But police did emphasise at the time that the door will always be open to victims, and there is no time limit for reporting sexual offending," said Rutherford. She said Mr Parker knows there is some risk in speaking out now.
She and Mr Parker began talking in October. He's the only member of the Roast Busters to speak since the scandal unfolded in 2013.
"I reckon he's a guy who's made some big changes - or appears to have made some changes," said Rutherford. "Everyone will have their own view of how much he actually understands what he did to those girls."
Newshub has made an effort to contact as many of the woman allegedly abused by the Roast Busters as possible.
Watch Newshub Live at 6pm on Monday and Tuesday nights for Rutherford's full reports, and newshub.co.nz for extended coverage.