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Police investigating allegations of sexual assaults by Wellington musicians

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Twelve police officers are investigating allegations that three Wellington musicians carried out sexual assaults. RNZ says the allegations include rape and violence, as well as sexual assault. The NZ Herald says there have been 60 claims about being sexually assaulted.

News from NZ Police
Police are aware of commentary on social media in regard to allegations of sexual assaults in Wellington by men who have been named on various social media platforms. On the back of the social media comments we have received a small number of complaints and these are being investigated.

While we understand the concerns of the community in regard to this matter, we ask people to refrain from using social media to name individuals or post personal details as this could impact on the Police investigation.

We know that coming forward to report a sexual assault can be incredibly difficult, however we want to reassure the Wellington community that we treat these reports extremely seriously.

Anyone who has information that may assist our ongoing enquiries is asked to contact Wellington Police directly on 105 and reference Operation Emerald. We will treat it with sensitivity and investigate thoroughly.

If you have been affected by sexual violence and need support contact Wellington HELP on their 24/7 support line, 04 801 6655.

Report from RNZ
The accused individuals have been named on social media. A woman who wrote online about the allegations said in a follow-up post she had received more than 100 responses from women, men, and minors detailing similar attacks.

The woman was given permission to re-post those accusations online, providing the names of those making the accusations remained anonymous.

Many of the allegations include druggings, being chased by the men, sexual assaults and rape of people who were sleeping or passed out, and physical violence and threats.

In a media briefing this afternoon, Detective Senior Sergeant John Van Den Heuvel would not go into detail about the number of complaints made today, only that they were “a small amount”.

“Whilst there has been a lot of commentary on social media and not necessarily individual complaints, so there’s a lot of commentary about offending, not necessarily offending against individuals,” he said. “The allegations are extremely serious.”

He would not go into detail on the number of people being investigated, but encouraged people to come forward if they had any information.

“It’s too early in the investigation to comment on that.”

He said police would be gathering any further complaints and would analyse the information and conduct further investigations before progressing further.

Asked whether yesterday was the first time police were made aware of the complaints, Heuvel said: “It’s difficult to say for certain because it’s quite possible a complaint has been made without individuals [suspects] being identified. So part of the work we’re doing today is to look through our reports to establish that.”

The alleged offending was within the Wellington region, he said, and about 12 investigators were working on the case.

A Wellington man – who is also a musician – said that late one night earlier this year he chanced upon what he now believes to be two of the alleged attackers in central Wellington. He said they were aggressive, yelling at passers-by as they strong-armed an upset and intoxicated young woman down the street.

He asked the woman if she was all right and she said she needed help.

“One of the guys turned to me and was like, ‘eff off b*tch, you don’t know who I am… We’ll smash you if you do anything’.”

He said he followed them further down the road and when the men got distracted he bundled her into a taxi.

They started pushing him and again threatened to attack him but some of their friends showed up and hustled them away, he said.

“It really did seem that they were trying to take her somewhere against her will, with my fear being that she’d maybe been drugged. The way that they are carrying her and handling her – that’s what really made me … fearful for her safety. The reason I intervened was the fear of a sexual assault taking place.”

He said when he saw the posts on social media naming the alleged attackers he looked them up and realised it was the same men from the incident.