A disgraced real estate agent, Jason Mark O’Reilly, who was sentenced to 12 years in jail for repeatedly sexually abusing an underage girl, has been denied parole. The refusal comes in light of revelations that his victim attempted suicide and required therapy subsequent to the abuse.
O’Reilly, aged 51, continued working as a real estate agent in Auckland for a year while facing serious child sex charges, including sexual violation and indecent assault, before being convicted and imprisoned in 2017. This case exposed flaws in the industry’s licensing systems, prompting calls for legal reforms to safeguard consumers from individuals awaiting trial on significant criminal charges related to children.
Jason Mark O’Reilly was jailed for 12 years for molesting a young girl. He has been declined parole.
Despite being under court scrutiny, O’Reilly managed to renew his license, list properties, and conduct open homes until his eventual imprisonment for repeatedly molesting one of the victims. His former employer and a relative of one of the girls criticized authorities for permitting an accused child sex offender to continue selling homes without informing his firm or unsuspecting clients.
O’Reilly became eligible for parole after serving half his sentence, appearing before the Parole Board on November 26 from Tongariro Prison. However, the recent decision reveals that he has not yet undergone a child sex offenders program, scheduled for late next year.
The primary victim’s mother submitted that her daughter has struggled with significant emotional trauma since the attacks, attempting suicide post-court case and currently undergoing therapy as part of her recovery. She emphasized O’Reilly’s predatory nature and insisted on his continued imprisonment with strict conditions.
The Parole Board expressed concerns about O’Reilly’s risk of future offending, noting his manipulative and cunning approach to concealing his actions over an extended period. O’Reilly, who sought to minimize his culpability during the trial, still appears to downplay the gravity of his offenses.
The parole was denied, and the board recommended that O’Reilly undergo the child sex offenders program and a subsequent psychological assessment to evaluate any treatment progress. His next parole opportunity is in November next year, with no assurances provided by the board regarding the outcome of future hearings.
O’Reilly’s case shed light on vulnerabilities in the Real Estate Authority’s licensing system. Despite being aware of his legal troubles, licensing authorities allowed O’Reilly to continue his real estate activities until his eventual imprisonment. The case sparked debates about the need for legal changes to prioritize consumer safety over an individual’s right to presumption of innocence.
The timeline of events details how O’Reilly’s license was canceled by the Real Estate Authority in 2016 but later reinstated by the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal. This allowed him to continue working in the industry until his incarceration in December 2017.
The case also prompted discussions on the balance between consumer protections and principles of natural justice within the licensing system. Authorities, including the Real Estate Authority, faced criticism for not promptly suspending O’Reilly’s license pending the outcome of the criminal trial.
The article concludes with contact information for helplines for those dealing with suicide, depression, or in need of support.
SUICIDE AND DEPRESSION
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: Call 0800 543 354 or text 4357 (HELP) (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: Call 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906
• Youthline: Call 0800 376 633 or text 234
• What’s Up: Call 0800 942 8787 (11am to 11pm) or webchat (11am to 10.30pm)
• Depression helpline: Call 0800 111 757 or text 4202 (available 24/7)
• Helpline: Need to talk? Call or text 1737
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111