Be careful about rushing to judgement

The Herald reports:

A highly regarded politician who died 18 months ago was a paedophile, his distraught widow has claimed.

Anihera Zhou Black said her husband – regional councillor and Māori Party candidate Awanui Black – had preyed upon children throughout his adult life. …

Sobbing back tears and occasionally wailing in grief, she said: “I have an announcement to make on behalf of my kids and I and perhaps it will shock a lot of you and perhaps it will help some of you find some comfort.”

It was, she said, “something that needs to be done”.

The video spread like wildfire and had been viewed 30,000 times in the handful of hours since being posted this afternoon.

“Those good deeds Awa did for individuals will live on in the memory of their lifetimes. 
However the pain and suffering he caused others may live on for generations to come if things are left unsaid.”

Anihera Zhou Black said her former husband had come across as a larger-than-life leader with a booming voice but was actually “a shrivelled up cowering soulless shadow of a man”.

The couple met aged 15 and married aged 18 before spending 26 years married.

Throughout that time, she said he lived a double life that – she believed – stemmed from sexual abuse he had suffered as a boy.

“In turn it created the same behaviour in Awa. Awa became a paedophile and over the years, honing his skills, waiting for that perfect moment he had preordained to steal the innocence of others.

“I wondered why Awa invited so many young people through our home over the years and I thought it was to be a good aunty and uncle. I know differently now.

“He became a predator, a recruiter, a teacher, a pimp, a ringleader of one of the many child-adult sex rings here in his beloved Tauranga Moana and he took that shit nationwide with all his contacts in every stream of life.

“They would recruit the innocent…. share them around like a box of beer, consume every last drop and discarding the empty vessels into the gutter, soulless, cold and broken.

“I am so extremely sorry and devastated. You are all my babies now and I will do what I can to navigate through your healing process.

Anihera Zhou Black said those who were victims had “permission to speak your truth”.

There’s something about this which makes me just hesitate. It may all be exactly as his widow has described (and kudos to her, if so). But I note three things at this stage:

  1. No details of how she discovered this have been given. There is nothing substantive such as “I discovered photos”
  2. At this stage no victim has come forward
  3. The reference to “many child-adult sex rings” in Tauranga seems over the top.

I have no knowledge of the people involved, or if it is true. But all I would say is that there isn’t enough yet for people to conclude what the truth is.

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