Catholic Discipleship College youth leader appeals rape sentence

Daniel Thomas Pervan, a former youth leader at the Auckland diocese’s Catholic Discipleship College, has appealed to the Court of Appeal to reduce his prison sentence.

He had been jailed for charges of sexual violation by rape and assault with intent to commit sexual violation.

The charges relate to his relationship with a woman he met years ago while working at the College.

Pervan’s defence lawyer, Donna-Maree Cross, argued for a slight reduction in the sentence based on a mathematical error and further reduction due to the punishment’s alleged excessiveness.

In August, Judge Jelas sentenced Pervan to five years and nine months imprisonment.

During the sentencing, Judge Jelas emphasised the long-standing connection between Pervan and the victim. She noted it was against the College’s rules for youth leaders to engage in personal, intimate relationships with students.

The victim testified she had both consensual and non-consensual sexual contact with Pervan on multiple occasions.

The rape conviction stemmed from an incident in February 2019. Pervan had repeatedly refused to leave the victim’s home and ultimately got into bed with her against her objections.

According to the victim’s testimony, her pleas to stop were ignored. She described the incident as rape.

The second charge involved an incident two months later in Rotorua.

This time, Pervan forcefully attempted to initiate sex despite the victim’s protests. After a struggle, the victim managed to lock herself in the bathroom.

Cross argued the evidence indicated the victim had expressed her objection before intercourse but not during it. She challenged the judge’s characterisation of the events.

However, Crown prosecutor Matthew Nathan disagreed, saying Pervan’s sentence was “consistent with her clear evidence on what occurred” and the jury’s finding.

“This is not about misreading social cues,” he said. “This is a circumstance in which the appellant repeatedly ignored clear statements…”

Both sides agreed a minor adjustment to the sentence was warranted due to a mathematical error. However, they disagreed on further reductions.

The Court of Appeal, presided over by Justices Mark Wooford, Forrie Miller, and Helen Cull, has reserved its decision.


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