Stalker is remorseful

2017-03-15 15:02
Teacher became obsessed with therapist.

Teacher became obsessed with therapist. (File)

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What began as gifts of chocolates and flowers with an anonymous note calling his therapist his “shining star”, escalated to the point where a local senior schoolteacher admitted on Tuesday in court that he became a “stalker”.

Nesim-Ul-Ganie Essa (55), a head of department for junior primary at Union Park Primary School, was on Tuesday sentenced to a “wholly suspended” fine of R5 000 or six months’ imprisonment, in terms of a plea and sentence agreement negotiated on his behalf by his attorney, Anand Pillay.

A condition of his sentence is that he may not contravene a similar protection order again in the next three years.

Essa pleaded guilty to contravening a “protection from harassment” court order obtained by his therapist, whose name is being withheld in order to protect her professionally.

The woman, who has since moved to another province, and the investigating officer, Captain Piet van Zanten, signed statements confirming they were satisfied that justice was done in the case. According to the court documents, the contents of which were confirmed by Essa, he admitted being an alcoholic. This resulted in him periodically being admitted to a local clinic where he received “various forms of therapy” from September 2014 onwards.

In appreciation of the role played by his occupational therapist in his rehabilitation the court was told he sent her flowers and chocolates, along with a note which read; “To someone very special, you are my inspiration and motivation. You are like a shining star. You deserve to be happy. Special thanks.”

After finding out that the gifts were from him, the therapist spoke to Essa, told him it was inappropriate and asked him to stop. He agreed but did not do so.

He admitted having sent numerous other messages to her saying things such as; “2day is my 80th day. Although I am not attending tag I am not missing it. I really miss you quite a lot. Hope you are keeping well. God bless and best wishes 2 u”.

He asks her in another SMS why she is “blocking” his message and that he tried to call her but it seems she is “not interested” in reading his message.

“If I had my own way I wish I could wrap u around a cotton wool so that nobody laid their eyes on u or harm u in any way. It is a travesty of justice that u claim to be traumatized by me,” reads another text message.

On April 10,2015 Essa sent an SMS to the therapist telling her he would be “waiting outside after 4”.

Seeing him parked outside the clinic waiting for her, the therapist and a colleague spoke to him about his “unethical behaviour” but he did not respond.

They also threatened him with legal action. He was subsequently banned from the clinic and the therapist obtained a final protection order against Essa on July 21, 2015.

In spite of this he was again seen parked outside the clinic, and even on the grass verge outside the gated complex where the woman lived.

In the court papers Essa admitted he knew his actions were wrong and unlawful and that he violated the protection order granted by the court.

According to the papers, he “hated being a slave to alcoholism” and deeply desired to be cured. While various therapists, a psychologist and psychiatrist had treated him at the clinic, he had felt that this particular occupational therapist “understood him and supported him differently”.

The initial gifts and messages of appreciation became an “obsession”.

He had “irrationally misconstrued” that she would understand that he was “not being threatening” and that his sole purpose in contacting her was to stay sober as he believed that with her he would have greater success in overcoming his battle. His “distorted understanding” of the situation and his obsessive belief in his therapist had resulted in him breaching the protection orders granted against him.

“The accused [Essa] has learnt a difficult and traumatising lesson since his arrest … He has accepted that his behaviour was unethical and inappropriate and is remorseful for his actions and also harbours a deep sense of embarrassment and shame for the pain he has caused all the role-players in his life,” Pillay said on his behalf in the plea agreement.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  stalker

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