Petition to send Turangi child rapist back to prison breaks 120,000 signatures

The brutal attack in 2011 saw Marino receive a 10-year sentence. He has only served 7 years.
The brutal attack in 2011 saw Marino receive a 10-year sentence. He has only served 7 years. Photo credit: Newshub

A petition calling for a violent child rapist to be sent back to prison following his early release has now gained over 120,000 signatures.

Raurangi Mark Marino was jailed in 2012 for what the Parole Board called a "particularly horrendous" rape of a five-year-old girl in which he used "significant violence".

Marino, who was 16 at the time, was drunk and high when he came across the child in an unlocked caravan at a Turangi campground in December 2011.

He then beat her, choked her unconscious and raped her with such violence she lost four teeth and suffered internal injuries. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

But in April, 2019, the Parole Board said Marino is no longer an "undue risk" and he was released back into the community in July, 2019. That happened despite his risk of general and violent offending being assessed as "high" and his risk of sexual offending as "moderate to high" in a March, 2018 report.

Marino's release sparked outrage, and a petition was launched to keep him "behind bars for life". At the time of publishing, 120,531 people have signed it.

"Why should a convicted violent offender, who chose to brutally rape an innocent five-year-old child be given the right, the privilege of early release? Why does Marino deserve his freedom when he stole everything from an innocent victim and her family?" the petition asks.

"The Parole Board have CHOSEN to release a man capable of serious violent offending. A brutal rapist who in 12 months went from high risk to an undue risk.

"Yes he has 'special conditions of release' but who will be diligently monitoring Marino and the choices he makes? Who will be responsible for the safety of our community?"

Marino's release conditions include that he is prohibited from taking drugs and alcohol, must not communicate with any gang associates, and must attend a monthly sexual offenders relapse prevention group.

In a statement released in October, 2019, the Parole Board told Newshub that public safety is the "paramount consideration" in every decision.

"We have parole as a proven way to reduce reoffending, by closely supervising an offender's reintegration to society, rather than releasing them at the end of their sentence when oversight is no longer legally possible," a spokesperson said.

"Day-to-day, probation officers from Community Corrections ensure those on parole comply with the conditions set by the Board. A person on parole can be recalled to prison if undue risk is identified, or there is a breach of conditions. There has been no recall application received or approved by the Board in this case."