Reddam installs cameras after sexual abuse allegations

2015-07-24 19:25
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Cape Town - Reddam House Constantia, a prominent private school in Cape Town, has confirmed that surveillance cameras have been fitted in all music rooms where private teaching takes place.

This is one of the many steps it has taken in the wake of allegations against one of its former music teachers, who appeared in court this week on charges of sexual assault.

The school’s director, Sheena Crawford-Kempster, said the 32-year-old had provided private piano lessons to boys and girls in school time since 2010.

It terminated his contract as an “independent music service provider” with immediate effect in May, following allegations of “inappropriate conduct”.

Western Cape police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said the man was arrested after an investigation of at least a month-and-a-half. He cannot be named because of the nature of the allegations against him.

He appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday and was released on R2 000 bail with strict conditions. These included not being allowed in the same area as the school, nor having any contact with the staff or complainants. He is due back in court on September 29.

The former teacher stands accused of fondling a number of boys, aged 9 and 10, during music lessons, according to the Cape Argus.

His lawyer, William Booth, told News24 on Friday that the State did not provide much detail on the allegations during the bail application.

“All they are saying is there were five complainants relating to sexual assault. I haven’t seen the evidence and one will get that in time once they have done the investigation.”

Booth said his client was arrested while home on Tuesday morning.

The school retained the services of a psychologist who has worked extensively with the concerned families.

Its social worker was also available for children who needed counselling and had visited classes to talk about inappropriate touching.

'We've been dealing with it since May'

“Although this has only reached the media now, we have been dealing with this on a daily basis since mid-May. Staff has also needed support and counselling,” Crawford-Kempster said.

They changed the venue for piano lessons and his former students were allocated a new teacher.

“The new piano service provider is a warm gentle lady who has also worked as a school counsellor, so has excellent experience.”

She said they had been co-operating with the police and the Wynberg Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit.

“A team of parents who are in the legal fraternity have advised and helped every step of the way.”

She explained why a circular to parents on the matter had requested that the information not be placed in the public domain.

“[This was] to avoid further trauma being caused to any of the children as a result of publicity and to protect the identities of the children concerned. 

“This has been our prime concern from the outset”.

Read more on:    cape town  |  education  |  crime

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