The Christchurch Civic Creche Case

News Reports Index

1993 Jan-May

The Press
May 11 1993.

Girl Tells of Nasty Things At Creche

The trial of a former Christchurch Civic Childcare Centre worker entered its third week yesterday, with the 10th of 13 child complainants giving evidence.

Peter Hugh McGregor Ellis, aged 35, faces 25 charges of sexually abusing children in his care at the centre between 1986 and 1992.

Evidence was heard yesterday from a girl complainant now aged six. She was interviewed six times last year, in February, March, and October. The first four interviews were shown to the court yesterday, with the Crown contending they supported one charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection and three charges of indecent assault.

The girl said Ellis had showed her his penis in the toilets at the creche. Other children were there and she had seen "really nasty things” happen to them. His penis had been "pale white".

It had happened every day at the creche and she said his penis had also gone into her mouth. She had told another teacher, but the teacher had not believed her and “Peter said I didn't do it" She said nothing else had happened. Ellis had said he would give her an iceblock if she did not tell and would "burn my parents up" if she did.

In the second interview, the girl said Ellis had seen her vagina and she had seen his penis when he was going to the toilet. After saying nothing else had happened, she said Ellis had touched her vagina with his penis beneath her clothes. Ellis had also had his clothes on and his fly was shut. Later, she said Ellis had touched her on top of her pants.

In the third interview, she said Ellis had taken her and another girl to QEII Park and she had nearly drowned. He had also taken her to his house. The worst thing he had done was hold her under at QEII, she said The worst thing he had done to her body was touch her bottom with his penis in the toilets. He did it every day and her pants were off.

In the fourth interview, she said Ellis had bad friends. She had met the bad friends at his house and they included men and girls. A man called Joseph had indecently teased her She then said Ellis had done the teasing.

Later, she said Joseph had touched her vagina with his penis "Lots, millions" of men had touched her vagina, she said. Her friends had seen her and Ellis had been in another room laughing.

In cross-examination by Mr Robert Harrison for Ellis, she said her mother had asked her specifically about Ellis touching her with his penis. In June last year she had talked to another complainant in the case and her mother had written down what they talked about.

Ellis had taken the children for walks in the park and sometimes after buying them an icecream he would tell the children rot to tell the children back at the creche. She had told other teachers about "Peter hurting me", but they had not believed her.

When told that the teacher whom she said had driven her to EIlis's house did not drive, she said she could have been mistaken and "I think it's the truth".

She could remember talking to another complainant in August and then having more interviews in October at which s.

The incidents where Ellis had touched her vagina with his penis when she had her clothes on had really happened. "On Mondays and Fridays," she said Sometimes she would have her clothes off.

When told that Ellis would deny the allegations, she said he had done all she said They may not have occurred at his house but at '”Joseph’s” house, and if Ellis denied driving her there, then his mother must have or thev took a bus.

The complainant's mother said her daughter had started at the creche at the age of 18 months and her behaviour began changing abound the age of three. Her daughter began having extreme tantrums that could go on for an hour and she began complaining of stomach aches and feeling sick She would rush her toileting, sometimes missing the toilet altogether.

After the first interview, her behaviour had deteriorated, but it had gradually improved over the past year.

In cross-examination, the mother said she first heard about the inquiry in late 1991 and had discussed the indicators of sexual abuse with two other parents who had some experience in the field.

Despite an instruction from the police that information should not be shared among creche parents, she believed parents had the right to know her child had talked about their children. She therefore passed information on if her child mentioned others.

She had noticed one of the other complainant children fondling her baby son’s penis, which she regarded as a symptom of the child having been abused. Before making a statement to the police, she had set up another encounter where she was able to observe the child fondling her baby's penis for about 30 seconds.

She had found her daughter responded better when she asked her direct questions about alleged incidents. Otherwise, she would become vague. She had asked her if Peter had touched her in the toilets and whether Ellis had showed her his penis. Another parent had passed on information about her daughter being involved in the latter incident