Woman disclosed by newspaper in sex tape commits suicide

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Debbie Gerbich, who was involved in consensual group sex sessions with former and serving New Zealand police officers in 2001, committed suicide on June 6, 2007. One of those former police officers on a videotape made during the group sex sessions was convicted of rape but acquitted in two high profile trials dating back to historic sex allegations involving police officers serving in Rotorua in the 1980s.

The New Zealand Herald revealed the identity of Mrs Gerbich on Sunday 31 March after she gave a rival newspaper access to the videotape made in 2001. The Sunday News had published information revealing the existence of the videotape but did not reveal her identity. Mrs Gerbich was reported by the Sunday News to have been devastated after her name was subsequently published by the New Zealand Herald. Mrs Gerbich claimed to have received intimidating emails from New Zealand Herald journalist Steven Cook after she refused to speak with them. Two emails sent from Steven Cooks email account were presented and read out to a reporter on the New Zealand current affairs program Close Up, one of them stated;


"We can play this one of two ways; either with your co-operation or without. We have made enquiries today into your background and have turned up several interesting leads. And I suggest it's in your interests to discuss those with me." "If you think you can continue to hide in the shadows, you're sadly mistaken."

It is not known how exactly the New Zealand Herald learned her identity and that she was being interviewed as part of police operation Austin investigating the historic sex allegations.