Auckland, New Zealand – Laken McKay requested to be detained at a secure facility within a prison compound “for the rest of my life,” because otherwise “I would…give as many people HIV and Hep C” as possible.
In 2005, McKay, then known as Rory Francis, was sentenced to 15 months behind bars for “sexual conduct relating to a child under 12”; the victim in that assault was a 7-year-old boy.
Five years later, Francis was sentenced to nine years and four months for multiple sexual offences against two children, one boy and one girl. The crimes took place over a period of nearly three months. Charges included rape, sexual violation and sexual conduct relating to children under 12.
Justice Patrick Keane described the offenses as “invasive, damaging and, on occasions, extremely degrading”. Francis was HIV positive at the time, though neither child contracted the HIV virus as a result of the sexual assaults.
Justice Keane rejected a crown submission for an indefinite prison term, and instead handed down a minimum non-parole period of four years eight months. In sentencing Francis, Justice Keane expressed hope that imposing a finite sentence would allow Francis an opportunity to be rehabilitated via therapy.
In 2017, the New Zealand Herald revealed that Francis had been freed on parole with a new name and identity. The family of Francis’s most recent victims contacted the news organization over fears that Francis’s new identity as a woman named Laken McKay meant that the community was unaware of McKay’s previous offenses.
In October 2017, McKay was recalled to prison after breaching parole conditions, which forbade any employment without express permission and prohibited drug use. McKay had been working in prostitution for several weeks, taking cash and methamphetamine as payment.
In a handwritten letter to The Herald, McKay outlined a request to the chief executive of Corrections to live in the prison compound in Christchurch. McKay wanted Corrections to seek a Public Protection Order (PPO), a court order that allows the detention of very high risk individuals at a secure facility within prison precincts.
McKay’s sentence is set to end September 2019; in April 2018, Corrections said no decision on what would happen to McKay had been made, but noted that the “threshold (for a PPO) is very high.”
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