Home > Abuse, Child Abuse, Neglect, Punishment, Torture > Authorities: child “one of the most emotionally damaged children we have encountered”.

Authorities: child “one of the most emotionally damaged children we have encountered”.

Bonita Naera, 57, was sentenced to two years jail for beating a 7-year-old boy with a broom, breaking his arm.

Broom used to break child’s arm.

A Rotorua boy assaulted by a woman with a broom has been described by mental health authorities as one of the most emotionally damaged children they have seen.

Bonita Naera (aka Marsters), 57, was yesterday sentenced in the Rotorua District Court to two years in jail after being found guilty by a jury in October of assaulting a child in her care with a weapon between August 1 and August 18, 2009.

Judge Phillip Cooper said Naera hit the child with a length of wood or possibly a broom and the child, who was 7 at the time, suffered a broken arm. Naera had two previous convictions for assaulting children, dating back 18 years.

Judge Cooper said he had seen a number of reports relating to the impact on the victim. In its report, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service spoke of the significant emotional harm the victim had suffered and that he would need intensive therapy.

The service said the child was “one of the most emotionally damaged children we have encountered”, Judge Cooper said. The judge said he did not accept submissions by Naera’s lawyer Tim Barclay that the harm suffered by the child was caused by him abruptly being removed from Naera’s home.

Judge Cooper said he was satisfied Naera’s actions had contributed significantly to the impact on the child. The age of the child, his vulnerability and that he was defenceless were matters which needed to be taken into account. There was also a significant breach of trust.

Naera had also attempted to conceal the assault by telling the boy not to say anything and to tell people he had fallen over at school, Judge Cooper said. Naera continued to deny she assaulted the child and showed no remorse, Judge Cooper said.

The assault involved one single blow with the broom or length of wood. Mr Barclay said Naera had not acted out of malice or deliberate cruelty and she admitted in her evidence that she was strict. Naera missed the child considerably and hoped to have contact with him in due course.

Mr Barclay said a starting sentence of one to two years’ jail would be appropriate and given that range he asked Judge Cooper to consider home detention.

Rotorua Crown prosecutor Chris Macklin said any contact between Naera and the child would be inappropriate. Judge Cooper said home detention would not be an adequate response to what was a serious assault on a child.

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