My first reaction to the news that Clint Rickards was elected to the Waipareira Trust Board was outrage.
The second was a stern lecture to myself about the fact everyone, even rapists, deserves a second chance, rehabilitation, and forgiveness.
After some reflection and chat I reckon outrage is fair. Rickards has a history of abusing a position of power, of taking sexual advantage of the vulnerability of youth, and of condoning and supporting rapists. The role he has taken is one of power, of authority, and of governing and directing services and interactions with the young and the vulnerable. He is in a position to shape the culture of theÂ Te Whanau O Waipareira Trust.
Sure, he deserves a chance to apologise, make amends, and rehabilitate himself – but that’s not what he’s done.
This is a man who, in the recent past, said that the gang rape of a young woman was ok. He has never apologised and said he was wrong. He has consistent spoken against the victims of rape.
He is not a man who deserves a leadership role, and not one who can be trusted with power.