A deputy principal at their school, Opotiki College, learned about the incident and when questioned, both of the Year 10 students admitted to consensual sex with the Year 13 boys.

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The most recent profile photo is sultry-eyed, long hair framing her face, lashes full with mascara. One read a statement to the court, saying she never wanted to be classed as a victim, and she did not want the man accused of her statutory rape to be punished. There was never anything disgusting about us being together.

No one was forced into a position or made vulnerable." It was the solution the boys' families wanted, and what the girls said they wanted too.

"The female young persons all seem to be robust Kiwi girls who are generous in their attitudes towards you.

He said the young men and their victims had suffered enough throughout the court process without being labelled sex criminals for life. All of you are young men and most of that is human nature," he said.

This week, Judge Louis Bidois discharged the boys without convictions in the Opotiki District Court and suppressed their names permanently. In this case each of you had sex with a young person.

Eventually, five male students were charged with having sex with five underage girls and were brought before the court, facing up to 10 years in jail.

Alarmed, the teacher took the girls to police and an investigation was launched.

They said some of their friends - all under the age of consent, 16 - were having sex with older students too.

At that stage, police were still talking to victims, but someone tipped off the media. Others blamed the victims for "causing drama" or shamed them as "sluts".

They alleged there was predatory behaviour happening in Opotiki similar to the Roastbusters case - where young men in West Auckland had got girls drunk, had sex with them and posted footage on the internet, but were let off with warnings. Families were accused of poor parenting, or negligence. Many in the community came to the belief the boys were only charged because of the Roastbusters case, where police had been slammed in a report by the watchdog Independent Police Conduct Authority for "letting down" victims just months before.

The tip sparked enough interest that a television reporter arrived in Opotiki to ask questions, in some cases approaching families before they'd talked to police. "Police are trying to make an example of some kids to make up for the balls-up they made with the Roastbusters," said long-time councillor Barry Howe.