Hollywood actor's son fired amid NZ underage sex outrage
ONE of the young men at the centre of the "Roast Busters" sex scandal has been sacked for his "despicable behaviour", as police come under growing pressure to take action.
Joseph Levall Parker, son of Hollywood actor Anthony Ray Parker, was fired from his job in an Auckland real estate office amid an outcry over the group's online boasts about stupefying underage girls, then having sex with them.
Yesterday, one group member made an anonymous apology on Facebook and two others came forward to police. Last night, a concerned father claimed he had dozens of people - including gang members - ready to take vigilante action if no charges were laid.
It is understood at least one of the girls who got involved with the group has attempted suicide.
Joseph Parker didn't show up at work yesterday but his manager said he had since been fired.
The boss said he acted in the "strongest possible fashion" once he learned of the youth's association with the group.
Anthony Parker, Joseph's brother, worked in the same office and didn't show up yesterday either. The manager said Anthony would get the "opportunity to provide evidence he has had no part to play in this despicable behaviour", or he too would be sacked.
According to Anthony Parker's Facebook page, he became a dad on Sunday night, when the scandal broke. Last night, he had changed his work status to self-employed. He did not respond to a message requesting comment and his brother closed down his Facebook page yesterday.
It is not known how many people are part of the Roast Busters group, but Joseph Parker and Beraiah Hales boasted of their involvement in a video posted online.
3News reported this morning Beraiah Hales' father was a police officer. Last night police had confirmed one of the members of the group was the son of an officer.
The Parker brothers' father, Anthony Ray, appeared in The Matrix, among other films.
His NZ agent, Gail Cowan, said he wanted privacy and "has no interest in speaking to the media".
This morning TV3 reported he'd said through his agent it was a "family matter".
The group appears to have been based in West Auckland, with members going to schools including Green Bay High, Kelston Boys High and Avondale College. Police have been monitoring the Roast Busters' Facebook page for two years and have been in touch with the schools.
Detective Inspector Bruce Scott said the page had been left open for "operational and tactical reasons".
"Whilst we acknowledge it was upsetting for the victims, it was being monitored for information or evidence that would assist our investigation."
He insisted the group had been "vigorously investigated" but that there was nothing more police could have done to bring a case to court.
"We continue to look for evidence that will assist us in determining whether there has been any criminal offending and then once we've got this evidence we can make a determination on what our next move is.
"We continue to talk with girls involved in the group. The difficulty is that we don't want to revictimise the girls, some of them don't wish to engage with us and we can't push them to talk to the police."
A vigilante group has been set up on Facebook calling for action. One man involved said there was at least 52 "irate, angry fathers" ready to dish out their own brand of justice.
He said feeling in the community was so strong that he had received phonecalls from gang members wanting to get involved.
"We are not law breakers or criminals, we are just fathers. The scum has entered our streets, the police have allowed the scum to carry on, and now shit's going to hit the fan, and spray all over the police and all over the people's families, unless the police themselves jump up and take responsibility."
Green Bay High principal Morag Hutchinson said it was "extremely frustrating when the perpetrators cannot be held to account, even when they brag openly about their actions in a public forum".
Labour women's affairs spokeswoman Carol Beaumont said the Roast Busters' actions amounted to gang rape and the lack of arrests and prosecutions was "astonishing".
Mr Scott told 3 News the fact that one of those involved in the Roast Busters' page was the son of a police officer had not influenced the inquiry or the decision not to prosecute.
Prime Minister John Key has called the Roast Busters' actions "disturbing" and "abhorrent", and says he has enormous confidence that the police are thoroughly professional.
"If there is criminal wrongdoing that they can follow up on and take action, then I'm absolutely confident that they'll do their job and do it as ... thoroughly professionally."
"I can't tell you why they haven't taken action, other than I can only accept what I've seen them publicly saying; which is they haven't been in a position to actually legally press charges.
"That's of course one of the challenges in these areas for the police, is that you require someone to actually come forward. And the counter argument there is that is extremely difficult terrain for a young woman. I mean she'll be of an age that's both a- underage, b- she'd have to go through all that public process. It's really difficult for these young women coming forward, so you can kind of see the bind that the police are potentially in," Mr Key told TV3's Firstline.
He was wary of threats by a group of vigilante men to take matters into their own hands if police couldn't bring the Roast Busters to justice.
"Well you certainly wouldn't want people taking the law into their own hands because that's not going to resolve issues in a proper way, and in a way that we would like to see things handled. [That] is the domain and responsibility of the police.
Mr Key said the whole situation was very disturbing. "You're talking firstly about young girls who are in a very delicate age. Some of this behaviour looks to be illegal, certainly if they're having sex with a young girl under the age of 16 - that's against the law.
"And then to be essentially doing a form of what looks like cyber bullying to me and posting this information on a Facebook site will also be illegal under the new legislation we're bringing into the House today."