Bay of Plenty man sentenced to 12 years for historic charges of rape

A 78-year-old man has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for raping and indecently assaulting young girls.

Robert Ashleigh McLarnon appeared in the Tauranga District Court on Friday, convicted of 32 charges of rape and indecent assault spanning over 30 years.

Throughout the 1960s and 70s, McLarnon indecently assaulted multiple girls in the Katikati and Waihi area.

McLarnon was convicted on 7 June of 15 counts of rape, six of indecently assaulting a girl under 12, four counts of committing an indecent act with a girl under 12, three of indecent assault and four of committing an indecent assault on a girl aged between 12 and 16 years old.

All of his victims were children and teenagers.

He was not present when the guilty verdicts were read, having been taken by ambulance to Tauranga Hospital just before the jury returned.

Outside court in June, some of his victims told NZME the guilty verdict was a relief.

"We've been believed," said one woman.

"I am totally relieved of what [he] did."

Another woman said McLaron stole her chance of a normal life.

"My childhood and innocence were taken away," she said.

Details of his victims are all suppressed.