Pre-school handyman arrested for sexual assault of boy

2015-06-11 10:58

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Plettenberg Bay - The Plettenberg Bay community has been rocked by yet another alleged sex crime against a child, after claims surfaced that a school handyman sexually assaulted a 6-year-old boy at a popular pre-school.

The 34-year-old man was arrested on Monday and appeared in the Plettenberg Bay Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, where it came to light that he had not only been out on parole during the time of the alleged incident, but also had two previous convictions – one for attempted murder and another for assault.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Marlene Pieterse said the sexual assault allegedly happened in April and May this year.

This follows a series of sex crimes against children on the Garden Route that have surfaced over the past few months.

Accused on parole

When the handyman – who cannot be identified until he has pleaded – took his place in the dock on Tuesday, prosecutor Henriette Breedt indicated she would oppose bail as it had come to her attention that the suspect was on parole at the time of the alleged sexual assault.

The accused then told the court he had two previous convictions for violent crimes, but still wanted to apply for bail.

He first said he would handle his own defence, but then indicated he would apply for legal aid.

The matter was postponed until June 17.

Child ‘withdrew’

The child’s mother said on Wednesday she realised something was amiss when her son’s behaviour suddenly changed over the past few weeks.

“He did not want to go to class and became aggressive towards me. He also withdrew completely,” she said.

She added that he also battled to sleep at night and after several attempts to convince him to tell her what was bothering him, he told her he had been sexually assaulted by the man in the school’s bathrooms on several occasions.

The boy’s family reported the matter to the police last week and the suspect was arrested on Monday. The child and his 5-year-old brother have since been taken out of the school.

Pieterse said the matter was being investigated by the George Family, Child and Sexual Offences unit and that police still needed to obtain a statement from the boy.

Employee suspended

The school principal said the employee had been suspended pending the police investigation.

She also held a meeting on Tuesday night for parents. At the meeting she said they had not done background checks on staff, but were in the process of doing so before the incident.

Parents suggested setting up CCTV cameras at the school and running background checks on all employees.

The principal said these suggestions would be implemented as soon as possible.

By Wednesday, there was stricter access control at the school’s entrance and staff members at the gate to ensure only parents or guardians entered the school premises.

Read more on:    george  |  child abuse  |  sex abuse

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