Team-mates film rape, but authorities shrug

2012-05-10 00:00

CAPE TOWN — A teenage boy from Tygerberg near Cape Town was raped while on a school rugby tour, but authorities seem to have turned their backs.

The investigation of the crime seems to have been botched and a public prosecutor has declined to charge anyone with the crime.

Upsetting photographs of the attack have been circulated via cellphone.

Some of these are in the possession of Die Burger.

“I am terribly concerned about the long-term consequences for my son,” the mother of the 16-year-old boy said yesterday.

The attack on March 17 happened when the Edgemead High School’s first rugby team stayed at a campsite near Velddrift on the Cape West Coast after playing nearby Vredenburg High. The rape, with a broomstick and a banana, took place after the match.

“On Friday night at about 11.30 pm he [the boy] sent me a ‘please call me’,” the mother said.

“I called him back and he told me hysterically that some of the older boys wanted to shave off his hair. I insisted on speaking to one of the boys and they simply told me I couldn’t tell them what to do and turned off the phone.”

The boy then sought the help of the coach, Brandon Grant, but he allegedly told him to “fight his own battles”.

The boy and a friend hid, but when they later rejoined the others they were locked in a chalet and their hair was shaved off.

The next evening some of the boys were initiated by being forced to drink a strange conconction. Later some of the boys got hold of alcohol.

The 16-year-old fell asleep and was then sodomised with a broom handle and, reportedly, a banana. Photographs were taken of the assault, during which some of the boys shaved off his eyebrows, stuffed toothpaste up his nose and drew a phallic symbol on his forehead.

According to one of the boy’s friends, one of the attackers tried to defecate on him but was stopped.

The boy was so traumatised by the attack that his parents immediately moved him to a school in another town.

The attack was reported to the Bothasig police, but the public prosecutor at Vredenburg has declined to charge anyone.

Edgemead school principal Redford Lawrence and the chair of the governing body, Lee Smith, said the school held an internal disciplinary hearing.

Lawrence said a number of boys were “temporarily suspended”, but declined to say how many or for how long.

Smith said the Western Cape Education Department was thoroughly briefed, but department spokesperson Paddy Attwell said they were not aware of it.

“The department sees the case in a very serious light and it will be investigated,” Atwell said.

==

Wrong police advice led to prosecutor dropping the case

CAPE TOWN — The parents were yesterday told no one would be prosecuted.

Police confirmed that a case was opened and investigated, but said the public prosecutor declined to prosecute anyone. Western Cape police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut referred questions to the Justice Department

On March 20, the boy and his father reported the case at the Bothasig police station and were referred to the district surgeon in Goodwood.

After a long wait at the office where the district surgeon previously practised, they were informed they were at the wrong place, and that they should have got a certain J88 form from the police.

They returned to the police station and were told someone would come to their house to take a statement.

A short while later, two officers from the Parow station came and took a statement from the boy. They told the family it was not necessary for the boy to be examined by the district surgeon, because photos of the assault, circulated on cellphones, would be sufficient evidence.

But later a detective constable from yet another police station, at Laaiplek, said he thought it was unlikely that the prosecutor would accept the case without a district surgeon’s report.

He asked the boy’s mother for phone numbers of the school and of the alleged perpetrators.

Yesterday, he phoned to tell the family that no prosecution would be undertaken.

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