WARNING: This article deals with accounts of rape/sexual assault and may be triggering for survivors of abuse.
They were a group of young men who allegedly sought out girls as young as thirteen.
The West Auckland teenagers – who called themselves the “Roast Busters” – would reportedly ply the girls with alcohol before raping them and, horrifyingly, posting the exploits on social media.
As Mamamia previously reported, the horrific alleged crimes have shattered these girls’ previously happy lives; at least one alleged victim has attempted suicide.
The case came to prominence last year, as videos surfaced online of the boys boasting about having sex with the underage girls – but for three years before that, police have known of these allegations and had been investigating the group of teenage boys as part of an investigation called Operation Clover.
Fairfax Media is reporting that police identified 35 young men as “persons of interest” during the operation, and all but two of the men investigated were over 17.
Five of those males were identified as suspects — but it’s now been revealed that charges will not be laid against the alleged offenders, because police say there is no reasonable chance of getting a conviction.
Detective Inspector Karyn Malthus said the decision not to press charges was due to a range of factors including “evidential tests under the Solicitor General’s prosecution guidelines”, Fairfax Media reports.
The “Roast Busters” boys (image via TV NZ.)
Other factors included “the wishes of individual victims, the admissible evidence available, the nature of the offence and the age of the parties” at the time of the alleged offences,” she said.
The NZ Herald reported that Operation Clover looked into eight incidents involving seven victims who made formal complaints, although a further 25 girls who declined to make formal statements were believed to have been victims of sexual offending.
Unbelievably, the group also seems to have tried to recruit more men to be a part of their depraved activities, going online to allegedly encourage more teenage boys to rape alongside them.
“We take what we do seriously,” says the young man to camera in one recruitment pitch.
“(S)ome of you think this is a joke, it’s not.”
“You try and get with the amount of girls we do. This is hard, it’s a job, we don’t do this shit for pleasure,” he said.
A post from the Roast Busters’ Facebook page.
“A true roast is where you know you are going there intentionally to roast this female,” the boy says in the Facebook video. “We don’t choose a roast, the roast chooses us. We have girls hitting us up to ‘hang out with us’. They know what we’re like; they know what they’re in for.”
The footage aired last year on New Zealand’s TV3’s nightly news. As Mamamia previously reported,
One of the underage alleged victims of the brutal rapes spoke to TV3 saying: “I just kept blacking out ’cause I had drunken too much… You could say I got raped. I had sex with three guys at one time.”
The Roast Busters Facebook page was shut down last year after a journalist started making inquires into it.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key last year condemned the alleged actions of the gang as “extremely disturbing and disgusting behaviour”.
“I guess, as a parent, I find the issue very disturbing and abhorrent really,” he said. “I mean, you are talking about youngsters who are at a very delicate age.”
The Prime Minister did, however, defend the work of police.
“It is very difficult to progress this issue, if someone isn’t prepared to make a formal complaint,” he said.
“And it’s a very challenging situation for a young woman to put herself in that position.”
If this post or any of the comments bring up any issues for you, or if you need to speak to someone please 1800-RESPECT or the NSW Rape Crisis Centre on 1800 424 017. It does not matter where about you live in Australia, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.