Young Men Molested, Filmed in True Life Hostel Horror

by Kilian Melloy
Saturday Sep 13, 2014

Horror stories about young travelers abroad falling into the clutches of evildoing hostel operators are the stuff of urban legends and horror movies. Until, that is, they aren't -- and the horror intrudes on real life.

That's allegedly what happened to a number of young male victims who stayed at a New Zealand hostel, a Sept. 11 Huffington Post article reported.

According to the article, 56-year-old Michael Harris, owner of the Main Street Lodge, a hostel in Kaitaia, New Zealand, victimized at least sixteen young men, most of them between the ages of 18 and 25. Harris reportedly drugged and raped the youths -- and took video of himself perpetrating the assaults.

The article cited New Zealand news source TVNZ as saying authorities are looking to make contact with others who stayed at the hostel and may have more information, or think they, too, might have fallen prey to Harris.

In a Sept. 10 statement, Detective Senior Sergeant Rhys Johnson said, "These victims are unlikely to know that something has happened to them, although they may have suspicions." The detective went on to promise, "We will deal sensitively with them and offer all appropriate support required."

Harris purchased the hostel after relocating to Kaitaia from Auckland, about two and a half years ago, the article said. Police were interested in hearing from travelers who may have stayed in the hostel since that time.

Since publishing their appeal for other potential victims to contact them, authorities have heard from over 30 individuals. Of those, three have identified themselves as possibly having been assaulted.

TVNZ noted that the sixteen known purported victims comprise an array of nationalities: American, English, German, and even some young men from New Zealand.

Australians may also have been assaulted, UK newspaper the Daily Mail reported Sept. 10. The Daily Mail provided the email address where members of the public who have information may contact police:

Harris faces 39 charges in all, including charges related to drugging and videoing his alleged victims, media sources said.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor, writing about film, theater, food and drink, and travel, as well as contributing a column. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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