Skip to main content

New Zealand 'Roast Busters' alleged teen rape victim: I filed a complaint

By Hilary Whiteman, CNN
updated 5:09 AM EST, Thu November 7, 2013
Police said they have been monitoring the
Police said they have been monitoring the "Roast Busters" group since the first alleged attack in 2011.
  • New Zealand police backtrack on earlier claims they'd received no formal complaints about "Roast Busters"
  • They've confirmed a 13-year-old girl made a video statement two years ago alleging she'd been raped
  • Officers decided at the time there was not enough evidence to file charges against the boys
  • Alleged ringleaders have caused outrage with online boasts about raping drunk underage girls

(CNN) -- After days of insisting no formal complaints had been made about a teen gang calling themselves the "Roast Busters," New Zealand police now admit a 13-year-old girl made a rape allegation two years ago.

The girl, now 15, told 3 News on Wednesday that police officers asked her to re-enact the alleged rape using dolls during a videotaped interview in 2011. "It was traumatizing," she said.

The teenager repeated claims she said she'd made to police that she'd been raped by three boys from the "Roast Busters," a gang of teenagers whose online boasts about raping drunk underage girls caused outrage when they were exposed by local media this week.

READ: NZ outrage over 'Roast Busters' boasts of teen rape

For days, police said they were powerless to arrest the boys because none of their alleged victims had filed a formal statement. However, on Wednesday, they admitted the girl had made a formal complaint just weeks after the alleged attack.

"An investigation was launched and the complaint was thoroughly investigated," police said. "Whilst this was a distressing situation for the girl and her family, police determined that there was not sufficient evidence to bring a prosecution."

I was briefed there was no formal complaint. As far as I'm concerned what the lady said was a formal complaint.
Superintendent Bill Searle

Waitematä Police District Commander Superintendent Bill Searle told 3 News on Thursday the decision not to prosecute the girl's alleged attackers would be reviewed in coming days.

He also said he'd be investigating why he wasn't told a formal complaint existed, adding there was a "little bit of disagreement" over what constituted a complaint.

"I was briefed there was no formal complaint. As far as I'm concerned what the lady said was a formal complaint. I'd like to apologize to her for any stress that this would have caused," he told 3 News.

Opinion: Don't blame women's drinking for rape

He said he'd also be investigating the girl's claims she was asked a "lot of questions" about what she was wearing at the time of the attack. She said officers asked "why did you go out in this skirt?"

"It's not part of our policy, it's not part of our general practice to ask these sorts of questions," Searle said.

The country's police minister Anne Tolley has asked the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) to investigate the matter, particularly officers' questioning of the then 13-year-old alleged rape victim.

"Parents of young girls need to have confidence that complaints to police about sexual assault are investigated thoroughly and appropriately," she said in a statement.

Referring to the apparent confusion over whether a formal complaint had ever been filed, she said she was "disappointed" the full facts had not been divulged to her or the country's police commissioner.

"I don't expect to be told finer details of police operations. Police must remain independent of politicians. But I do expect police to be talking to each other," she said.

In a statement on Thursday, Police Commissioner Peter Marshall welcomed the independent review and said Waitemata District police remained "absolutely committed" to pursuing the matter.

"Prosecuting these matters before the court requires a very high threshold, and we only get one opportunity to get it right. This means it absolutely critical for victims that we have the strongest case possible, backed by the appropriate evidence before we can proceed."

Prosecuting these matters before the court requires a very high threshold, and we only get one opportunity to get it right.
Police Commissioner Peter Marshall

Earlier this week, Searle told CNN they had been actively monitoring the group since the first alleged offense was committed in 2011. He said police interviewed two boys identified as the group's ringleaders again on Monday, but they hadn't admitted to anything that constitutes a criminal offense.

"The online claims themselves are not enough to warrant a prosecution," Searle said. "They might be morally inappropriate and unacceptable to us but we have to deal with evidence that would be admissible in a court of law and we haven't got to that stage yet."

Searle declined to confirm how many boys were involved in "Roast Busters," but said the two ringleaders led a "core group," as well as "an associated group."

The boys were attending at least two different schools at the time the alleged offenses were committed but all have since graduated, he said. It's believed they're now around 17 to 18 years old.

In a video posted to YouTube, two boys made no attempt to hide their faces as they told the camera: "We don't choose the roast, the roast chooses us ... They know what we're like; they know what they're in for."

They boasted of their exploits on a number of social media sites, including and Twitter, as well as a Facebook page which has since been shut down.

Searle said on Tuesday the boys had recently received death threats but had not requested police protection.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:54 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
updated 7:24 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
updated 1:44 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
updated 8:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
updated 12:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
updated 3:22 AM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
updated 4:00 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
updated 6:34 AM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
updated 12:46 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
updated 9:51 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
updated 11:21 AM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
updated 12:01 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.