Porn drama deepens

2014-09-03 00:00

A CELLPHONE seized during the bust of a prominent Durban drama teacher on child porn allegations is now the focal point of a cybercrime investigation.

While elite police cybercrime unit detectives try to crack codes to the cellphone and officers sift through reams of evidence, the well-known drama teacher accused of sexually grooming teenage boys will remain behind bars.

However, the detectives have their work cut out for them, with the teacher claiming to have “forgotten” the access codes to his cellphone.

Before his application for bail was postponed for another seven days, investigators called for passwords to his cellphone and private e-mail accounts in the Durban Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

The well-regarded teacher has spent two weeks in Westville Prison as detectives set about building a case against him.

He was arrested in the course of a discreet drug investigation at a top Durban high school two weeks ago.

His arrest has rocked the local education and drama fraternities.

Pornographic images of teenage boys were allegedly found on the teacher’s laptop, which was seized along with his cellphone during a raid on his home.

It is understood that the illicit images show the victims in compromising sexual poses and form the basis of a raft of charges levelled against the teacher.

The teacher cannot be named until he pleads in court.

State prosecutor Tanya Pretorius said investigating officers had requested passwords to the teacher’s e-mail account, the PIN to his cellphone, and access to his BlackBerry messenger service.

“The state has given certain exhibits to the cybercrime unit, and they have requested access to his BlackBerry cellphone and his Gmail account.

“The defence has agreed to supply his e-mail password, but the accused cannot remember his cellphone password.”

Looking unkempt and crestfallen, the teacher stood quietly in the dock.

Multiple counts relating to the possession, creation and procurement of child porn have been added to his list of charges.

The list of charges is expected to rise as detectives trace many boys they believe may have become his victims.

Despite the scandal, his official record seems to be spotless, despite a previous conviction for the sexual assault of a pupil in the early 90s.

The Witness revealed that the teacher’s first victim had warned the school where he had been employed in 2007, but the warning was allegedly rebuffed by the school’s management, sources close to the victim said.

• jeff.wicks@witness.co.za

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