A woman abused by Bert Potter, the controversial founder of the Centrepoint spiritual commune, says his death has brought her some closure.
Potter died at Middlemore Hospital at 1am on Sunday, aged 86, his son's wife, Felicity Goodyear-Smith, told NZ Newswire.
Potter set up Centrepoint near Albany, on Auckland's North Shore in 1977, aiming to create a spiritual community which at its height attracted hundreds of people seeking to liberate themselves physically, emotionally and sexually.
In 1990 six men and two women, including Potter, were arrested on assault and rape charges.
Potter was jailed for seven-and-a-half years after he was found guilty of indecently assaulting five girls at the commune aged between three and 15.
He was paroled, and in 1999 and returned to Centrepoint but the community split and he and his followers were forced out.
One of Potter's victims, Sarah Smuts-Kennedy, told Radio New Zealand his death was the only way to guarantee he would not offend again.
"Bert Potter was a very, very clever, manipulative, charismatic psychopath, very powerful. He affected hundreds of lives, and of those lives, many of their children's lives," she said.
Ms Smuts-Kennedy says Potter never expressed remorse for his offending, and had been released back into the community after very little time in jail.
The system was such that "it requires them dying to make sure they don't reoffend", she says.
Potter had suffered from progressive Alzheimer's for a number of years and in recent months was moved to a private rest home.
He had a fall on Saturday and was admitted to hospital but his condition got progressively worse.Potter's funeral will be held in Auckland on May 12.
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