Self-styled philanthropist Craig Koning is a rapist, a coward and an abusive manipulator who preyed on vulnerable women, a court heard today.
Koning was found guilty by majority verdict on two rape charges relating to an incident in 2004 when he was dating Amy Coronakes.
At Waitākere District Court today, Coronakes outlined the trauma she’d endured, and her struggle to rise above it, as Koning was sentenced.
Jurors at Koning’s trial last year heard Koning threw a tantrum and threw food on the floor after Coronakes surprised him and a friend by turning up with a home-cooked meal.
He then raped her in his apartment.
More than 16 years after the rapes, and nearly five months after the guilty verdict, Coronakes addressed Koning as he sat in the dock.
“How can I describe in one statement how much you truly destroyed me?” Coronakes said.
“I went from abusive relationship to abusive relationship because of you, and how you made me feel like I wasn’t worth anything.”
Coronakes, who lives in Australia, appeared by audio-visual link and said she wished she could be in court to eyeball Koning and tell him how he’d lost all power over her.
She said Koning was a “complete and utter coward” who preyed on and used vulnerable young women.
“I was a shell of my former self and I felt worthless.”
In 2018, Koning was the subject of media scrutiny after several women previously involved with the Floating Foundation charity alleged Koning had behaved inappropriately.
Koning said the charity was aimed at meeting the needs of remote Pacific communities.
In an interview with the Sunday Star-Times, Koning admitted to excessive drinking and said he had to change.
Two women reportedly quit the foundation and one needed treatment for depression.
“After reading the article,I knew I had to come forward. And then the trial finally happened,” Coronakes told the court today.
She said she was no longer afraid of Koning, and explained how she’d divulged the rape to her father and her grandmother.
“Do you know how it feels to tell your dad that you’ve been raped?”
Coronakes said her grandmother died before the trial.
“Almost a year to the day of her passing, you were found guilty. So I guess she was watching over me.”
Coronakes explained how she waived her automatic right to name suppression.
“I didn’t do this because I have a personal vendetta. I literally spent thousands of dollars trying to get my name suppression lifted.”
Koning during the trial denied rape, and rejected suggestions he used the threat of suicide to persuade Coronakes to keep quiet after the sexual assault.
Defence counsel Ron Mansfield today said Koning presented a low risk of reoffending.
“The offending was a long time ago, when he was young.”
Koning was 19 when he committed rape and there had been no equivalent offending before or since, Mansfield said.
He said the Floating Foundation was a genuine charity.
“That was charity work which he did because of his desire to do good.”
Mansfield said complaints about the charity hadn’t resulted in criminal charges.
“There was some concern about how his not-for-profit organisation was operating and what the culture was,” Judge June Jelas said.
“Miss Coronakes told you she was terrified of you,” the judge told Koning.
The court heard a probation officer found Koning still denied the offending.
Judge Jelas said several people continued supporting Koning, some insisting he never committed rape, some supplying character references.
“They’re all confident of your abilities to be a valued and valuable member of society in the future.”
Koning was sentenced to five years in jail.
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