A former Christchurch teacher has been jailed for engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a teenage girl.
Daniel Bruce McMillan, 46, was sentenced to two years and eight months’ jail by the Christchurch District Court on Thursday on three charges of sexual connection with a person younger than 16 years, and meeting a young person following sexual grooming.
McMillan was working as a teacher at Christchurch’s Kingslea School for youth offenders from 2014 to 2016 when the offending happened. The victim, who was either 14 or 15 at the time, went to a different school.
The grooming began when McMillan sent the teen sexual messages detailing what he wanted to do to her.
The girl told the jury at McMillan’s trial that he was charismatic and she had a small crush on him. She said she found it exciting when he sent her messages and told her how good she looked.
The teen and McMillan engaged in sexual acts twice when she was younger than 16. The second incident involved sex in a bathroom.
McMillan and the victim had sex again about a year later, this time in a cemetery.
The offending came to light when a mutual acquaintance found text and Facebook messages the teen and McMillan had sent each other.
In a statement read in court on the victim’s behalf, she said she had been struggling with depression, which McMillan was aware of. She was young and naive and McMillan preyed on that, she said.
“When things turned sexual it made me really sad, because that is not what I was looking for.”
At the time, she thought what happened was “what love was”.
She tried to commit suicide more than once afterwards and still struggled with mental health problems.
“Dan is not a man. He is a coward that preyed on me when I was young and vulnerable.”
McMillan did not deny having sexual relations with the victim, but claimed it did not start when she was 14 or 15 years old. This was rejected by a jury.
On Thursday, his lawyer, Grant Tyrrell, said while McMillan maintained he was not guilty of a criminal offence, he acknowledged he was the adult and that his actions caused harm.
Judge Jane Farish said regardless of the victim’s exact age when the offending happened, she was still a child and McMillan was an adult.
“This was not an affair. This was not a relationship. This was a man taking advantage of a very young girl for sexual pleasure,” she said.
The judge said she was concerned McMillan claimed the victim initiated the sexual encounters and wanted a relationship.
“That is not taking responsibility for what you’ve done,” she told him.
Judge Farish said she could not give McMillan any credit for remorse, but did give him some credit for previous good character, the fact that he struggled with mental health issues and the fact he admitted the sexual encounters happened.
McMillan was not charged with sexual violation by rape as there was consent to the sexual acts, regardless of the fact the victim’s consent is deemed irrelevant because she was under 16.
According to New Zealand law, the term “rape” is used when sexual intercourse is without consent.