Allegations of Abuse in Institutions


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This page last updated Nov 1 2006




Discussion of the case and of the history of abuse
Gainsford was initially transferred from Bramwell Booth when allegations were made. He was asked to leave later because of ongoing issues.

2006-1101 - Timaru Herald - Gainsford was asked to leave Sally Arm
2006-1101 - The Press - Salvationist's sordid secrets




Complainant at trial calls for Inquiry
One of the eight complainants at the trial is aclling for an inquiry into the way Salvation Army homes were run. She believes abuse was "rampant". She is supported by Jan Lowe, spokeswoman for the Salvation Army Abuse Survivors Group.

2006-1101 - The Press - Group joins call for abuse probe
2006-1031 - Timaru Herald - Sex victim wants inquiry




Unexpected complainant at trial gives her story
Christina Cullen was a teenager at Bramwell Booth in the 1970s and reported stories of sexual abuse told to her by younger girls

2006-1031 - The Press - 'You can't walk away from abuse'
2006-1031 - Timaru Herald - Witness sees speaking up as duty



Abuse Victims seek redress
One victim says she and other victims will take action against the Salvation Army. She said justice had been done against Gainsford but the Salvation Army was also culpable, failing in its duty to protect the children and ignoring their complaints of his sexual abuse. The Salvation Army admits it should have acted differently over allegations of child sex abuse against a former staff member. Major Ross Gower says that the understanding of child abuse and inappropriate behaviour at the time was not as good as it is today.

2006-1030 - Timaru Herald - Sex victims seek redress
2006-1030 - The Press - Payout to victims admitted
2006-1029 - NZ Herald - Children's home abuse victims plan next move
2006-1028 - Radio NZ - Victim says conviction on 22 sex charges better than expected
2006-1028 - Radio NZ - Sex abuse victims to act against Salvation Army
2006-1028 - Radio NZ - Salvation Army admits it should have acted over sex offending




Salvation Army pays compensation and invites further Complainants
The Salvation Army has already paid out compensation for the sexual abuse suffered at Bramwell Booth. The Salvation Army will not divulge details, but will permit those receiving compensation to do so if they wish. Spokesman Major Ross Gower has said that 50 people have now come forward claiming abuse, and compensation has been discussed. He invited any further complainants to make contact. He hoped the guilty verdicts would allow complainants to put some of the "horrendous" things that had happened behind them.

2006-1028 - Timaru Herald - Salvation Army pays compo to sex assault victims
2006-1028 - Newstalk ZB - More victims emerge




Gainsford found guilty
Jury returned 22 guilty verdicts out of 23 charges. Gainsford had earlier admitted four charges. Major Ross Gower says the Sallies have already expressed sympathy to the victims. Gainsford was remanded in custody for sentencing Dec 11.

2006-1028 - One News - Salvation Army Captain found guilty
2006-1028 - Timaru Herald - Gainsford found guilty
2006-1028 - Stuff - Gainsford found guilty on 22 charges
2006-1028 - Newstalk ZB - Former Sallies captain found guilty




Summing Up
Defence lawyer Paul Dacre said some of the complaints defied logic. In particular was one complainant's evidence that Gainsford had put the child's hand over his penis while on a bus full of children. He also said the evidence of a male complainant who alleged he had been assaulted by Gainsford was quite outrageous as it would have had to have occurred on a Saturday morning and in a public area of the home. the complaint could not be credible. "It could not have happened without people hearing. It was monstrous activity which simply can not have been correct

Prosecutor Tim Gresson stated that it cannot all be made up. The actions of the manager at the Bramwell Booth home in the early 1970s had been a very serious breach of trust. The homeless children were particularly vulnerable. He suggested Gainsford had tailored his evidence to touching only, to minimise his blame. Some of the evidence was so detailed that even the wildest imagination couldn't have come up with it, he said. Mr Gresson told the jury they could be certain of Gainsford's guilt, as the evidence was just overwhelming.

Justice Fogarty warned the jury that just because Gainsford had pleaded guilty to four charges they could not assume he was guilty of them all. While there was no suggestion the complainants had concocted a story to make false allegations, they had been very young girls and had talked about what was going on. He advised the jury to watch for "borrowed recollections", asking whether the complainants could have got their memories from "girl talk" involving those who Gainsford had admitted indecencies with.

2006-1028 - Timaru Herald - Salvation Army pays compo to sex assault victims
2006-1028 - Timaru Herald - Gainsford found guilty
2006-1027 - Timaru Herald - Sex acts 'breach of trust'
2006-1027 - One News - Jury considering sex abuse verdict
2006-1027 - One News - Judge to sum up in sex abuse trial
2006-1027 - Newstalk ZB - Sallie jury retires to consider verdict
2006-1027 - Newstalk ZB - Jury due to retire in Sallie abuse case




Gainsford denies charges
Gainsford holds fast to denials of alleged sex acts. He insisted that while he was not accusing the eight complainants and other witnesses of lying, he was adamant they were mistaken in what they had told the court relating to his alleged offending. As to why his version of events was so different from the witnesses, Gainsford said : I think they actually believe at this point in time what they are saying. I'm simply saying that it did not occur.

2006-1027 - Timaru Herald - Sex acts 'breach of trust'
2006-1026 - Timaru Herald - Defendant firm on denials




2006-1026 - Stuff - Former Salvation Army Man takes stand
NZPA - Gainsford's counsel, Paul Dacre, told the jury the accused had behaved badly toward some of the children and he acknowledged that with the four guilty pleas (to three charges of indecent assault on a girl aged under 12 and a charge of inducing a girl then aged 12 to do an indecent act on him). Gainsford's responses to all the remaining 23 indecency and rape charges were all similar, stating simply "no" when asked if he could recall the incident, or stating "it did not" (happen).


2006-1025 - Timaru Herald - Woman thought Gainsford imprisoned
by Herald Staff - A woman only complained of sexual abuse at the Salvation Army's Bramwell Booth Children's Home two years ago, as prior to that she thought the alleged abuser was in prison. The woman was giving evidence in the High Court in Timaru yesterday at the trial of former Salvation Army captain John Gainsford, 69, on 23 indecency and rape charges.

2006-1025 - The Press - Indecent acts 'almost daily'
by John Keast - A woman who complained to police about former Salvation Army captain John Gainsford says he touched her indecently almost daily. She told the High Court in Timaru yesterday that Gainsford's offending got worse over her time at the former Bramwell Booth children's home in Temuka, South Canterbury, and it was a "nice reprieve if he left me alone for a bit". After each incident, she said, he told her she was a good girl


2006-1021 - Timaru Herald - Complainant says she was ignored by Salvation Army
NZPA - A former resident of the Salvation Army's Bramwell Booth Home is so angry with the organisation's handling of complaints against a former manager that she will not support it in any way. Giving evidence in the High Court at Timaru yesterday, she said children at the home learned there wasn't any point in telling anyone about how they were being abused because they weren't believed, and no one did anything to stop it. She attended a reunion at Bramwell Booth in the 1980s and tried to tell Salvationists there about her experiences, but said she was shut down


2006-1021 - The Press - Witness adamant rape occurred
by John Keast - The complainant, one of eight to give evidence, said she was 100 per cent sure that she was raped at Gainsford's home, and at a place called the woolwash, near the former children's home. She said there were also many instances of indecent touching, two of which Gainsford has admitted. But to a suggestion from Gainsford's counsel, Paul Dacre, that the rapes did not happen, the witness said Gainsford could not admit his guilt. She said it was his memory that was not right, not hers. Dacre said Gainsford likely to give evidence on Tuesday would deny there had been intercourse


2006-1020 - Timaru Herald - Court report brought back memories
A former Temuka woman who said she saw a Salvation Army officer indecently touching a young girl 30 years ago only learned he was being prosecuted when she read an on-line copy of the Herald three days ago. It was by chance she saw a story about John Francis Gainsford's trial on Tuesday morning, but Christina Cullen (nee Adams) was so concerned when she realised the accused was the same person involved in an incident she had witnessed that she immediately contacted police


2006-1020 - Timaru Herald - 'Church leader told girls were abused'
When staff at the Salvation Army's Bramwell Booth Children's Home wouldn't believe that children were being sexually abused by the manager, one girl opted to tell a visiting church leader. Then other church officers asked her about the allegations and shortly after the manager left the Temuka home, the High Court in Timaru heard yesterday. She told the court how Gainsford had indecently touched her while he was lying on her bed reading stories. When he slid his hand under the covers she tried to move away from him, but he simply moved his hand further down.


2006-1020 - The Press - Surprise witness tells of seeing abuse
A surprise witness sobbed in the High Court in Timaru as she recounted seeing former Salvation Army captain John Gainsford fondling a girl while giving her a piggy-back ride. Christina Cullen, who contacted police on Tuesday after seeing publicity about the Gainsford case, said she was metres from Gainsford as he fondled the girl while talking to a woman. She said the woman would not have seen what Gainsford was doing. Cullen said she was shocked by what she saw and her stomach knotted.


2006-1019 - Newstalk ZB - Surprise witness in child abuse case
Media coverage over a child sex abuse case in Timaru has prompted a woman to travel down from Taranaki to give evidence. The trial of John Gainsford, for historical sex offences at the Bramwell Booth Salvation Army Children's Home in the 70s, is into its fourth day. Today was marked by the evidence of a surprise new witness. Christina Cullen from Hawera told the court after seeing coverage of the case online she decided to travel down to testify.


2006-1019 - The Press - Gainsford 'asked boy to pray then committed indecency'
by John Keast - Former Salvation Army captain John Gainsford asked a boy to pray with him and then committed an indecency, it was alleged in the High Court in Timaru yesterday. The complainant, who cannot be identified, said he was then sick and Gainsford was angry, saying: "Look at the bloody mess you made." Gainsford, 69, of Auckland, has denied 23 indecency and rape charges relating to his time as manager of the Bramwell Booth children's home near Temuka in South Canterbury.


2006-1019 - Timaru Herald - Complainants tell court of sexual abuse
by Claire Haren - Former Salvation Army captain John Gainsford asked an 11-year-old boy to pray with him, and then, with one hand on the back of his head, made the boy perform oral sex, the High Court at Timaru heard yesterday. The complainant said he then vomited over the carpet, Gainsford's trousers and shoes, and Gainsford became angry, saying "look at the bloody mess you've made", and insisted the boy clean it up.


2006-1018 - Timaru Herald - Gainsford case adjourned for a day
by Rhonda Markby - The trial of a former Salvation Army officer on a variety of historical sexual abuse charges was adjourned for a day yesterday for what was being described as procedural matters......... Opening the crown case on Monday, Tim Gresson told the court he planned to call all eight complainants. Also on his witness list was Gainsford's former wife. The couple separated in the mid 1980s. The only witness to have completed her evidence so far is officer in charge of the case Detective Tracey Miron.


2006-1018 - The Press - Children's home rape, indecency trial adjourns
by John Keast - The rape and indecency trial of former Salvation Army captain John Francis Gainsford was adjourned unexpectedly yesterday. The trial was to resume in the High Court in Timaru at 11am, but was delayed until 2.15pm for what Craig O'Connor, for the Crown, called procedural matters.


2006-1018 - Radio NZ - Sally witness
Witnesses in an historic sex abuse trial have told the high court in Timaru they saw a former Salvation Army captain in compromising positions with children.


2006-1018 - Radio NZ - Gainsford expected to testify
An ex-Salvation Army Officer is expected to testify in his own defence at the High Court in Timaru to counter claims that he sexually abused six girls and one boy during the 1970s.... The first complainant to give evidence told the jury Mr Gainsford touched her indecently during piggy back rides. But Gainsford's lawyer Paul Dacre said his client will give evidence that she was too heavy for piggy back rides and that he never indecently touched or raped her


2006-1018 - One News - Sex abuse trial resumes
No reason has been given as to why the trial of a former Salvation Army captain on historical sexual abuse charges was adjourned. John Gainsford is being tried in Timaru on sexual abuse charges from the time he worked at the Bramwell Booth Salvation Army Children's Home in the 1970s


2006-1018 - Newstalk ZB - No reason given for trial adjournment
No reason has been given as to why the trial of a former Salvation Army captain on historical sexual abuse charges was adjourned.

2006-1017 - One News - Witness testimony at sex abuse trial
The Crown embarked on the second day of witness testimony on Tuesday in the trial of a former Salvation Army captain on historical sexual abuse charges


2006-1017 - Waikato Times - Salvation Army man on trial
A former Salvation Army officer pleaded not guilty to 23 indecency and rape charges in the High Court at Timaru yesterday. But at the start of his trial, John Francis Gainsford, 69, of Auckland, pleaded guilty to a further four charges.


2006-1017 - Timaru Herald - Complainant tells court of attacks
The first of the eight complainants began her evidence yesterday, telling the court how Gainsford disappeared from the home after she told another girl what he had been doing to her. She told the court how he would check her for appendicitis -- checking her stomach and then her genital area and digitally penetrating her. He would stop when she complained it hurt. It wasn't until years later that she found out her appendix was not near her genitals.


2006-1017 - Timaru Herald - Salvation Army documents go missing
All records of a meeting between the Salvation Army and its officer accused of indecencies with children, were missing from a bound minute book. Giving evidence in an historic sex abuse trial in the High Court at Timaru yesterday, Detective Tracey Miron of the Timaru CIB said minutes of meetings around the time John Francis Gainsford had been called to a meeting in Wellington, were missing from the bound minute book of the army's advisory board.


2006-1017 - Timaru Herald - Former Temuka man on trial for 23 sex charges
by Rhonda Markby - A litany of sex charges is what a former Salvation Army captain has been brought back to Timaru to face. A former Salvation Army officer pleaded not guilty to 23 indecency and rape charges in the High Court at Timaru yesterday. But at the start of his trial, John Francis Gainsford, 69, of Auckland, pleaded guilty to a further four charges (three of indecent assault on a girl aged under 12, and inducing a girl then aged under 12 to do an indecent act on him) when he appeared before Justice Fogarty and a jury of three men and nine women.


2006-1017 - The Press - Ex-Salvation Army man faces sex charges

Bramwell Booth Home, Temuka


by John Keast - A former Salvation Army captain who managed a
children's home in South Canterbury has admitted four sex-abuse charges but denied 23 others. John Francis Gainsford, 69, of Auckland, pleaded guilty in the High Court in Timaru yesterday to three counts of indecently assaulting girls aged under 12 and one of inducing a girl under 12 to perform an indecent act. The charges are representative.


2006-1017 - Dominion Post - Sex charges admitted
A former Salvation Army captain has pleaded guilty to four indecent assault charges at a trial at the High Court in Timaru. John Francis Gainsford, 69, of Auckland is facing sex charges dating back to the 1970s


2006-1016 - Radio NZ - Similarities in cases
The crown in the trial of a former Salvation army captain has told the jury there are similarities in the alleged cases of historic sexual offending.


2006-1016 - Radio NZ - Former Salvation Army captain admits 4 indecency charges
A former Salvation Army captain on trial for alleged sex offences in the 1970s has entered guilty pleas to four charges. John Francis Gainsford, 69, faced a total of twenty-seven charges ranging from indecent assault to rape in relation to eight complainants. At the start of his trial at the High Court in Timaru, he pleaded guilty to three charges of indecent assault, and one of inducing an indecent act, relating to three complainants


2006-1016 - One News - Former Sallies captain on trial
A former Salvation Army captain has gone on trial in Timaru for historic sex abuse. While John Gainsford, 69, has admitted assaulting some students in his care in the 1970s, he is defending most of the charges he is up against. And at the start of the hearing, he entered guilty pleas to four counts of indecent assault on two girls. But he is denying 23 charges of rape, attempted rape and violation of another six former pupils.

John Gainsford


2006-1016 - One News - Former Sallies captain admits charges
A former Salvation Army captain who is on trial at Timaru High Court for historical sex abuse charges, has admitted four offences. The charges arise from the time John Gainsford worked as the manager of Bramwell Booth Salvation Army Children's Home in Temuka


Justice Fogarty


2006-1016 - NZ Herald - Ex-Salvation Army captain admits four child sex charges
NZPA - A former Salvation Army captain has admitted four charges of sexual assault on children. John Francis Gainsford went on trial at the High Court at Timaru this morning on a range of sex charges involving young people dating back to the 1970s.


2006-1016 - Newstalk ZB - Salvation Army man admits sex charges
A former Salvation Army Captain who is on trial in the High Court in Timaru on historical sex abuse charges has admitted four offences. The charges arise from the time John Gainsford worked as the manager of Bramwell Booth Salvation Army Children's Home in Temuka. The 69-year old faces a total of 27 charges including rape, sexual violation and other indecencies against young people who attended the children's home between 1973 and 1975


2006-0523 - NZ Herald - Former Salvation Army captain charged with sex abuse
by Jarrod Booker - An elderly Auckland man will stand trial on multiple sex-abuse charges from his time as manager of a Salvation Army children's home in the 1970s. John Francis Gainsford, 69, managed the Bramwell Booth children's home in Temuka, South Canterbury, between January 1973 and January 1975, and allegedly abused seven young people in that time


2006-0523 - Newstalk ZB - Chaplain on sex abuse charges
Police say there is a possibility more complainants will come forward, now the name of a former Salvation Army Captain, who is facing sexual violation charges involving children, has been made public


2006-0523 - Dominion Post - Sex charges
A former Salvation Army captain is to stand trial on 28 charges of sexual violation and other indecencies on young people


2006-0522 - One News - Former Sallies captain on sex charges
A former Salvation Army Captain has been committed to trial on historical sex charges dating back to the 1970s. Name suppression has been lifted for John Francis Gainsford, 69, who faces 28 charges of sexual violation and other indecencies on young people. He will stand trial at the High Court in Timaru


2006-0522 - Radio NZ - Salvation Army Captain to stand trial on historical sex charges
A former Salvation Army Captain has been committed to trial on historical sex charges dating back to the 1970s. Name suppression has been lifted for John Francis Gainsford, 69, who faces 28 charges of sexual violation and other indecencies on young people. He will stand trial at the High Court in Timaru.


2006-0522 - Newstalk ZB - Court date for accused Sally
Police say their inquiry into allegations against a former Salvation Army Captain is continuing. John Gainsford will stand trial in October on 28 counts of sexual violation and indecencies involving young people, which arise from Gainsford's time as manager of Bramwell Booth Salvation Army Childrens' Home in Temuka between 1973 and 1975


2006-0520 - Timaru Herald - Settlements over sexual abuse claims
by Rhonda Markby - The Salvation Army has now settled all but a "very small handful" of the historical physical and sexual abuse complaints relating to incidents in its children's homes. Back in August 2003 the church acknowledged it had received 36 allegations of abuse, including five complaints from people who had been at the church's Bramwell Booth children's home at Temuka. Most of the complaints were from people who had lived in Salvation Army children's homes in Putararu and Masterton and related to incidents in the 1940s and 1950s, preceding the complaints which have now been made in relation to the Temuka home


2006-0520 - Timaru Herald - Salvation Army man on sex charges
by Rhonda Markby - A former Salvation Army officer will face 28 charges of sexual violation and other indecencies relating to his time as manager of the Bramwell Booth Salvation Army Childrens Home in Temuka in the 1970s. John Francis Gainsford, 69, retired, of Auckland, has now been committed for trial on the charges which have arisen out of alleged offending between January 1973 and January 1975. The seven complainants were all young people living at the Temuka home



2006-0506 - One News - Historic abuse claims investigated
Timaru Police are investigating five allegations of historical abuse against staff at the Salvation Army's Temuka Children's Home. Salvation Army spokesperson Robin Forsyth says four men and one woman are alleging they were physically or sexually abused at the Bramwell Booth Childrens Home in the 1970s