Victims of Dilworth sex offender share impact of his abuse

Laura James
Source: 1News

One of Dilworth's most prolific sex offenders has been sentenced to six-and-a-half years imprisonment.

Ross Browne.

Ross Browne, 73, worked as a chaplain, teacher and scout leader at the Auckland boys boarding school between 1979 and 2006.

He was sentenced at the Auckland High Court this morning for 16 crimes.

Most of the charges were for indecently assaulting boys between 1987 and 2004.

Browne initially pleaded not guilty to 23 charges, but in October he changed his pleas, and seven charges were withdrawn.

In court, several victims stood before Browne and read their victim impact statements.

The men spoke of their abuse as children causing them years of depression, suicidal thoughts, failed marriages, job loss and drug addiction.

One victim stepped up to the microphone and said: "Must be feeling lucky there’re so few charges, got away with a lot didn’t you".

"You were there to protect and guide, and all you did was protect your perverted interests and those of your colleagues."

Another said: "For 28 years I have felt the lingering shadow of the abuse I experienced."

A statement from a mother of one of the victim's read: "I now have a son who is a full-blown P addict."

She said he told her it was to numb the pain from Dilworth.

"I trusted you with my son," she wrote.

The level of trust Dilworth students had in Browne was reiterated in the statements of many victims.

"You were the literal and figurative father to hundreds of boys," one said.

Another said: "When I met you as a young boy you were the most enormous person I’d ever seen and I looked up to you."

One victim’s statement, read in court by Crown Prosecutor Jacob Barry said: "I lost my father at a young age, I was looking for a replacement father figure, I chose you."

Justice Toogood, who was presiding over the sentencing said: "Your victims feel robbed of their childhoods."

Referencing a pre-sentence report, Toogood said Browne has shown some remorse for his actions.

"It’s really sad some of them had unfortunate and miserable lives because of what I did," Toogood read from the report, which contained what Browne said.

The judge did not give Browne any discount on his sentence for good character.

Browne was arrested as part of Operation Beverly, a police investigation beginning in 2019.

A total of 11 men have been arrested for historical sexual abuse, spanning four decades, as part of the operation.

Browne is the third man to be sentenced in the group.