‘School knew teacher was a sex offender’

2014-09-02 00:00

A PROMINENT Durban high school was warned that they had employed a convicted sex pest and did nothing to arrest his alleged child sex spree.

The well-regarded drama teacher and convicted sex offender was arrested two weeks ago on a raft of fresh child sex charges and will apply for bail in the Durban Magistrate’s Court today.

But The Witness has established his first victim warned the school in 2007 after he learnt that the compromised teacher was working with children again.

But the school failed to act, even after the alarm bells tolled.

The 2003 conviction for the sexual assault of a pupil dates back to the nineties, and until now the drama teacher had skirted checks and balances that should have seen him struck from the teaching profession.

He had previously taught at Hillcrest High School and Maritzburg College.

Sources close to the victim, including Childline spokesperson Joan van Niekerk, confirmed that the victim had warned the school.

“That is why this is so outrageous, of his own volition, he went to the school and warned them that this man had a previous sex conviction and nothing was done,” she said.

She added that he was rebuffed by school management who insisted that “they would keep an eye on it”.

She could not be drawn to comment further, saying that more details were bound to emerge in court.

Both the teacher and the school that employed him cannot be named until he has entered a plea.

The school’s current principal said that he had no knowledge of the teacher’s conviction when he took over.

“I started my tenure as headmaster last year and cannot answer you about things that happened more than 10 years ago,” he said.

The Witness confronted the school’s now retired former head, who balked when allegations were put to him.

“I have nothing to say on this so, ‘No comment’. I suggest you talk to the school,” he said before abruptly ending the phone call.

The teacher faces charges relating to a child porn scandal that rocked the teaching and performing arts fraternity, with more charges expected to be added today.

His arrest came as a result of a discreet drug probe at the high school that unearthed evidence against him.

Police have been working to trace his victims, after compromising photographs of boys engaged in sexual acts were discovered on the teacher’s laptop.

Psychologist Clive Willows said child sexual abuse was both an abuse of trust and an abuse of power.

Willows said child sexual abuse was a breakdown of the “relationship of trust to someone who is supposed to uphold a high moral standard”.

“But it’s also a breakdown of trust for the parents who send their child to a school on the basis the caring duties of school are going to replicate those of the home.”

• jeff.wicks@witness.co.za

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