Girl ‘raped’ at top local gym

2014-08-18 00:00

POLICE are investigating the alleged rape of a 15-year-old girl in a change room at the Westville Virgin Active this weekend.

Outrage is mounting over the incident as police seek her attacker in the incident which is alleged to have taken place on Saturday during the day.

The gym is popular with Westville school pupils, and is set in one of the city’s most sought after suburbs.

The person alleged to have raped the teen, who cannot be identified, has been barred from the club and was being sought by police.

The girl’s father, who cannot be identified as it would identify her, said: “We have given everything we have to the police and it is all there now. My daughter is currently sitting with them and giving her statement,” he said.

“What happened is terrible,” he added.

A police source, who could not be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said that the girl had told her mother about the attack.

“After it happened she told her mother who immediately took her to the police station to report the matter. The investigation has begun,” he said.

He added that CCTV from the gym would be crucial evidence and could prove to be the “lynchpin” of the case.

The source said that the man alleged to have forced himself on the girl was known to police.

“He will have the opportunity to explain himself when he is interviewed by the investigating officer.”

Child rights advocacy group Bobbi Bear spokesperson Jacqui Branfield called for action.

“Justice needs to be done in this case. Rape is a scourge especially when it happens in a place that seems safe. It is simply unacceptable,” she said.

Virgin Active spokesperson Les Aupiais confirmed that club management were conducting their own investigation into the allegations.

“Virgin Active can confirm an incident took place between two members at the Westville Health Club on Saturday. The matter was immediately reported to the police who are currently investigating,” she said.

“Virgin Active is co-operating fully with the senior officers on the case and the family concerned, who have our full support and access to senior club and head office management at all times.

“At this stage, because of the sensitive nature of the incident and to safeguard the privacy of the member and her family, we are unable to provide any further details.”

She said that one member, thought to be the girl’s attacker, had been suspended from the gym.

“We can confirm that one member allegedly involved in the incident has been immediately suspended from the club pending further investigation,” Aupiais said.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said that the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit was investigating.

• jeff.wicks@witness.co.za

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