Centrepoint (commune)

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Centrepoint was a commune in Albany, New Zealand, created in 1977 by Herbert "Bert" Thomas Potter (1925–2012) and 36 others.[1] The commune was created in the model of the therapeutic encounter groups popularised in the 1960s in California. At its largest, it was home to over 200 people.[2]

On 25 April 1990, Potter was convicted of drug charges.[3] In November 1992 Potter was sentenced to 7 years jail after being convicted of 13 charges of indecently assaulting five girls between 1979 and 1984. Justice Blanchard, said Potter had "systematically corrupted children for his own sexual pleasure and had abused the power and trust community members placed in him".[2] On release Potter maintained he had done nothing wrong and that he still believed sex from the start of puberty was appropriate.[4] Six other male leaders (one of them Potter's son John[5]) were convicted for assault on a minor, indecent assault, sexual assault on a minor or rape of a minor.[3] Bert Potter died on 6 May 2012.

LSD and Ecstasy were allegedly manufactured onsite, and teenagers were pressured to take them by adult counsellors.[6]

After Potter's fall from grace, the Kahikatea Eco-Village which had links to the commune and shared at least some members, occupied the site.

A study found that while not all of the approximately 300 children who lived at least part of their youth at the commune were abused, sexual relations with children as young as 10 had occurred with regularity, with parents either neglecting to protect their children from the assaults, or actively abetting them.[2]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dishonoured prophet will go - for a price". The New Zealand Herald. 29 February 2000. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Centrepoint children living with effects - study". The New Zealand Herald. 27 May 2010. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Crime.co.nz website". Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  4. ^ Megan Jones (4 May 2008). "Memory won't fade easily from Centrepoint property". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
  5. ^ Tim Hume (29 August 2010). "Concerns at ACC sex crime stance". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
  6. ^ Willis, Liz (20 August 2013). "Book tells of commune abuse". North Shore Times. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 

Coordinates: 36°43′11″S 174°42′16″E / 36.71972°S 174.70444°E / -36.71972; 174.70444