‘They must burn’ — victim

2014-09-11 00:00

THE first victim of a Durban drama teacher and convicted sex predator had a message yesterday for those who knew of the danger the teacher posed and did nothing.

“They must burn. They knew about it and they did nothing,” the man said in an exclusive interview with The Witness.

He told how he had been groomed by the teacher, now facing a string of new charges 20 years later, as a 15-year-old and how he finally fell prey to him.

He told how he discovered years later that the teacher had been employed at a leading Durban school and how he had called the principal to warn him of the danger.

“I have never had closure on this and it stays with me. When I found out he was working at his current school I phoned the headmaster and he actually put the phone down on me,” he said.

“I phoned again and said I really needed to tell him exactly who was working with children.

“He said to me that they knew about his conviction and that they would keep an eye on it. I even phoned the school governing body and they rebuffed me. There was nothing more that I could do,” he said.

“They have blood on their hands. That headmaster needs to go down. He did nothing after I made a point of telling him what [the teacher] had done to me,” he said.

The 48-year-old teacher continues his bid for bail in the Durban Magistrate’s Court today where he is facing 11 charges relating to the production, procurement and possession of child pornography.

He is accused of luring vulnerable teens with the offer of gifts and money, paying thousands of rands for naked pictures, nude videos and sex.

Yesterday, the teacher’s victim from 20 years ago broke his silence about what he went through and its lasting effects.

He cannot be named as this may identify his attacker, who has yet to plead in his current case.

The victim said that in 2002, after ties between him and the teacher were severed, he had finally gone to the police.

“When I laid a charge against my father, I laid a charge against him as well.

“My dad sexually abused me and because of that I was always a child who was shy and rather introverted and I didn’t have many friends. So it was easy for him to befriend me. At first he started by just greeting me in the halls and being friendly.”

He said that the idea of making a friend, a teacher no less, had appealed to him.

“He was really clever. I had an older sister and she was at varsity and he used her as a disguise to get to me. He even went with her to a dance and that is how he started to gain the trust of my family. I trusted him already but I think he did that to gain the trust of my parents.”

He said that the teacher had groomed him slowly and took care to make him comfortable, inviting him to his flat in Pinetown.

“He would invite me to his place and when I was there he would always let me drink alcohol and smoke and that was something that my friends were envious of — that I had that freedom.”

As time went on they became intimate, even sharing baths together.

He said that alarm bells had tolled for his mother when she discovered he had sunbathed nude with the educator.

“She was worried about what we were doing and that raised her concern, and that is why she sent me away to live with my aunt.”

He said that his ordeal had left an indelible mark. “I know who I am now but what he did still stays with me. I never got educated properly and now, down the line, that is affecting me. I have been through two marriages and I think what happened contributed to their failure.”

The victim said that when the matter goes to trial he would be there to watch.

“I would love to watch him go down … He is dangerous.”

‘Don’t give him bail’

SPECIALIST child abuse investigator Marc Hardwick said that if the convicted sex predator was granted bail, more children may be endangered.

The former policeman has been called in for expert consultation as the state builds its case against the educator.

Hardwick said that the nature of the investigation so far had been focused on opposing bail, and the teacher’s release could be detrimental to securing a conviction.

So far the teacher faces 11 counts relating to possession, production and procurement of child pornography. The charges were formulated using statement of two of the four victims identified by the investigating team — and this number is expected to rise.

“So far the probe into this matter has been with the chief task of opposing bail. Because of this, there may be more victims who we have not found yet,” he said.

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