Gloriavale: Lawyer files legal action against Govt agencies

Gloriavale: Lawyer files legal action against Govt agencies

| 1News | Ryan Boswell |

A lawyer representing Gloriavale leavers’ is taking legal action against Government departments, claiming they knowingly allowed abuse to occur at the West Coast commune.

In a letter dated December 6 and released to 1News under the Official Information Act, lawyer Brian Henry wrote to Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, as well as Winston Peters, David Seymour, Judith Collins, Louise Upston, and Erica Stanford.

“The issue is Gloriavale and the failure of the past government minister and government officials who formed the Gloriavale action groups,” he wrote.

“Details of who constitutes these groups are not public, their identities being redacted in the OIA-released documents, however, an application to identify potential defendants for litigation purposes is planned in the new year if the past Government inaction continues.

“Gloriavale is a sex cult clocked in Christianity.”

Henry said the commune is “sexually disturbed” and the girls are “entrapped and enslaved from birth”, suffering “ongoing abuse”.

He said there should be urgent intervention from ministers to close Gloriavale.

The OIA also included Judith Collins’ response, which said while she was “troubled” by the abuse, she couldn’t comment given ongoing police investigations and court cases.

On Tuesday, Henry filed proceedings against four government agencies. Henry would not say who was being taken to court but 1News understood he was targeting the Labour Inspectorate, Internal Affairs, Oranga Tamariki, and the Ministry of Social Development.

“What I’ve seen through the employment cases is Government departments that are actually trying to help perpetuate the organisation, the institution that is promoting and permitting the sexual abuse.

“They kept thinking about somehow we can turn Gloriavale into this beautiful utopian Christian community, but it’s not. It’s built by male sex offenders,” Henry said.

Luxon said he wants to continue to progress the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care.

“That is something that we’re very focused on, that’s been going on for a long time, it’s a difficult piece of work, we’ve got to make sure we bring that to a close at some point.”

Documentary explores Gloriavale’s commune in India

For the first time, cameras have managed to get into Gloriavale’s commune in India.

More than a decade ago five New Zealand women were sent to a remote part of southern India to marry local men.

Now the documentary Escaping Utopia has uncovered hard labour and the impoverished conditions they live in.

The commune is home to seven families and 32 children have been born here.

Theo Pratt travelled to India to find her sister Patience.

She said it was “very confronting seeing her again … she was not the sister I remembered at all.” Pratt said she was shocked at how her family was living, believing the conditions “hadn’t changed for 14 years since it started”.