A convicted repeat sex offender in New Zealand has been hit with a 13 and a half months jail sentence on Tuesday over a history of sex crimes since 1997, recently targeting an 8-year-old boy in a public toilet, the Dunedin District Court bared. 

The suspect Stephen Edric Wilkinson, 53, had accumulated seven convictions for indecencies across several incidents since 1997. A recent incident on February 27 saw Wilkinson drive the 6-kilometer distance from his St. Kilda home to the Caledonian Ground in the north of the city, where children’s sport is held regularly every Saturday morning, according to the Otago Daily Times.

The court heard that the pedophile went into the venue's public toilets, stationed at the back of the main grandstand, where the 8-year-old boy victim was using a urinal. The defendant then approached the victim, standing beside him so close that the boy reportedly felt the man’s warm breath on the back of his neck.

The attacker proceeded to violently pull down the young boy's shorts, with the victim’s vocal protests loud enough for a witness to rush to his aid. Wilkinson then bolted from the restroom but was eventually chased down by members of the public after dashing for his car.

Wilkinson was restrained by the concerned citizens as police were called to the scene. He was then handed over to authorities upon their arrival. 

Judge Emma Smith noted on Tuesday that the suspect had no reason to visit the area and simply drove there to satisfy his sexual gratification. She lamented that the incident was traumatizing for the boy and his parents, triggering a great deal of anxiety and stress.

"You simply haven’t been able to stop your need for sexual gratification with young children; you’ve sought them out for that purpose," she concluded. 

Counsel Steve Turner declared that his client has now fully taken responsibility for the offenses and was "disgusted with himself" after initially strenuously denying the sexual assault allegations. 

Wilkinson, now subject to the restrictions of the Child Sex Offender Register, is reportedly driven to undergo specialist sex-offender treatment.

He was last jailed for 10 months in 2018 after exposing himself on a Dunedin beach, convicted of committing an indecent act in public. At the time, Wilkinson held six previous convictions for indecency involving males.

Given the severity of the man's repeated sex offenses, the Crown had considered pursuing transferral of the file to the High Court to argue for a sentence of preventive detention or an indefinite jail term, according to prosecutor Chris Bernhardt. Further sex offenses by the suspect would likely see himself before the High Court, Smith stressed.

Anyone experiencing sexual assault or abuse may reach the confidential crisis helpline Safe to Talk on 0800 044 334 or text 4334 for assistance. New Zealand Herald reported that Better Blokes hotlines are also open to provide peer support throughout Auckland while Male Survivors Aotearoa offers a range of confidential support services across New Zealand. 

urinal A convicted repeat sex offender in New Zealand has been hit with a 13 and a half months jail sentence on Tuesday over a history of sex crimes since 1997, recently targeting an 8-year-old boy in a public toilet, the Dunedin District Court bared. This is a representational image. PIXABAY