Man arrested after alleged sexual abuse at Maraehako Bay Retreat

Eastern Bay of Plenty Police have this week arrested a 61-year-old man as a part of Operation Mylas, an investigation into the alleged sexual abuse of international workers at the Maraehako Bay Retreat, near Whanarua Bay on the East Coast of Bay of Plenty.

The man was arrested on Tuesday and has been charged with a number of sex offences.

He appeared in Whakatane District Court yesterday and will next appear on 19 December.

Police were first made aware of offending in September this year, and the investigation to date has found at least two former employees were allegedly abused at the retreat between 2013 and 2017.

The two women who were in their mid-late 20s, from Japan and Taiwan, were working for the retreat as cleaners in exchange for accommodation and food.

Detective Ash Clements of the Eastern Bay of Plenty Adult Sexual Assault Team says there was a concerning pattern of behaviour exhibited in the offending against the two victims, who were at the retreat at different times and are not known to each other.

“We are seeking anyone who has previously visited the Maraehako Bay Retreat, worked in any capacity at the retreat, or from members of the community who may have information that is relevant to the investigation to make contact with our team.

“We would like to hear from anyone who may have had similar experiences at the retreat to come forward to Police.

“We can assure any other victims who would like to contact us that they will be treated with respect and we will do everything we can to support them,” says Detective Clements.

Information can be provided to the Whakatane Police Adult Sexual Assault Team on (07) 308 5255, or they can provided information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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