Case withdrawn against Stellenbosch gym 'masturbator'

2019-06-13 10:32
(Screengrab from video)

(Screengrab from video)

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Virgin Active has decided not to continue with its sexual assault complaint against a member who was filmed apparently masturbating at its Stellenbosch facility.

The gym said it believed that it was more appropriate to ban him and for him to get psychological assistance.

"Virgin Active decided not to proceed with the matter," said the 18-year-old's attorney William Fullard outside the Stellenbosch Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

READ 'Gym masturbator': Police probing case of sexual assault

This followed a private meeting with the prosecutor, and discussions regarding the matter on Wednesday.

"It was withdrawn without appearing in court," said Fullard.

'Specific conditions'

He said there was an element of mediation regarding the complaint Virgin Active had opened with the police, but he did not want to divulge the details.

READ: Gym 'masturbator' caught in the act in Stellenbosch, banned for life

In a statement, Virgin Active spokesperson Carla White confirmed that it had approached authorities on Wednesday to withdraw the case against the teen.

"The [National Prosecuting Authority] are, however, likely to still set specific conditions that the suspect will be required to meet related to the withdrawal," she explained.

She said the company had taken immediate action when presented with the video, and had identified the teen and banned him for life.

"What he did was wrong, however, we are of the opinion that psychological help may be more appropriate than criminal sanction. We have an undertaking from his lawyer and family that he is receiving counselling and will continue with this course of therapy. We believe this is the most balanced way to deal with the situation."

She said that the clubs were shared spaces, and that they had taken action in accordance with the rules to make them safe.

"We cannot control the behaviour of individuals, but we can take action when their behaviour contravenes our rules. Our sanctions are applied uniformly, regardless of age, race or religion."

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