EXCLUSIVE | Prestigious boys' school reports allegations of sexual misconduct against former teacher

2019-11-14 06:05
Grey College in Bloemfontein.

Grey College in Bloemfontein. (Supplied)

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Grey College, one of the country's most prestigious all-boys' schools, has denied knowledge of allegations of sexual misconduct against a former teacher, but has notified the provincial education department about the matter.

This follows revelations by Deon Wiggett in his podcast My Only Story, co-published by News24, that his rapist - whom he identifies only as Jimmy - was a teacher at the famous Bloemfontein school in 1989 and 1990. Wiggett has identified former pupils who were also molested by the former teacher.

One former pupil, named Matthew, told Wiggett in episode two of the podcast that "there was dodge stuff going on" and that Jimmy was responsible. Deon Scheepers, Grey's headmaster, said the school community was shocked by the allegations against the former teacher who, according to Wiggett, had left the school abruptly.

"We hope that the incident will be thoroughly investigated by the authorities and that, should there be merit in the allegations, the guilty party will be punished. No one at Grey College approves of this and the school will cooperate fully.

"The allegations have also been brought to the attention of the education department. The specific allegation had not been brought to the current headmaster's attention," Scheepers told News24.

The school has, however, not been able to provide details about Jimmy's tenure at Grey and has not responded to requests for information from the school's records or personnel files.

The chairperson of the school governing body, Henry Buchner, said: "Apart from condemning such incidents in the strongest possible terms, I have no knowledge of any facts relating to this specific allegation and I cannot comment." 

Ingo Machts, a teacher and housemaster at Grey, told News24 he served on the staff with Jimmy and lived with him in one of the school's hostels, Brill House. He was, however, not aware of any complaints about sexual assault against Jimmy. He could also not recall why Jimmy left Grey, considered one of South Africa's top educational institutions.

READ: Podcast of man tracking sexual abuser receives overwhelming response

Dr Michau Heyns, who was headmaster of Grey from 1980 to 1992, could not recall Jimmy nor the circumstances leading to his departure when contacted by News24. 

In Thursday's episode, Wiggett travels to Bloemfontein to search through Grey's archives, and contacts former pupils who attended the school during Jimmy's time there.

One, Matthew, tells Wiggett: "There was some 'dodge' stuff going on."

Matthew reveals details about an evening in Bloemfontein when he was 14 years old.

"Jimmy used a trick to get Matthew alone … he had somehow, quite innocently, convinced him to take off his shorts.

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: 'I was raped at 17 and I'm not the only one' - man tracks sexual abuser in podcast

"Matthew says: 'I was so naive then, I …' and then he suddenly just stops mid-sentence… 'That's all that happened, I have to go now...'" 

Messages that Wiggett sent Matthew after this conversation have gone unanswered. 

"He's remembered something that doesn't make sense to him," Wiggett remarked. "And he doesn't want to talk about it anymore." 

He never heard from Matthew again. 

Wiggett questioned why Jimmy had lied to him about the number of years he taught at Grey. 

"What happened after Grey College that he was so desperate for me not to know about? And what happened at Grey College that made him make such a hasty retreat?" 

For months, Grey College was like a fortress, Wiggett recalled, until he received a phone call from a former Grey pupil.

"I can tell you everything…" the caller said. 

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  education  |  crime  |  rape  |  sexual abuse
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