Committee urges gender commission to look at Bishops teacher's sexual misconduct findings

The portfolio committee on women, youth and persons with disabilities has urged the Commission of Gender Equality to monitor the findings made against a teacher at Bishops Diocesan School in Cape Town who was found to have engaged in sexual misconduct with at least five pupils.

Noting the report into the teacher's behaviour at the popular school, committee chairperson Nonhlanhla Ncube-Ndaba said the commission should take heed of the case and outcomes of the findings as it would have wide-ranging implications across the country.

"The Commission for Gender Equality should engage with the Department of Basic Education and South African Council of Educators about sexual misconduct in schools perpetrated by educators," Ncube-Ndaba added.

"The safety of all learners in our schools is important, and this includes the boy child."

Bishops released the report on Monday, which found that the teacher, Fiona Viotta, engaged in sexual misconduct with at least five pupils while she was employed at the school from 2013 to 2019.

Other findings in the report included that investigators were unable to ascertain with certainty to whom she had sent video or photographic images that circulated on social media and that no information was received that indicated the school knew anything about the sexual misconduct.

The school instituted the investigation after allegations emerged that Viotta had a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old pupil at the school.

READ: Investigation finds Fiona Viotti engaged in 'sexual misconduct' with 5 Bishops boys

Bishops headmaster Guy Pearson also announced no disciplinary action could be taken against Viotta as she had resigned with immediate effect on October 11.

In a statement, Pearson said Viotta had opted not to make written submissions for the investigation, but her lawyer had indicated she would co-operate.

"However, a request by the investigators for her to attend an interview with them was later refused. Furthermore, the investigators were informed she was not prepared to make any written comments regarding the merits of the matter," Pearson said.

News24 previously reported Viotti's lawyer, William Booth, said when the issue became public knowledge Viotta was admitted to hospital. He also had to deal with getting a video that made its way to PornHub taken down.

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