'Stressed' Bishops teacher accused of affair with pupil hires top defence lawyer

2019-10-14 13:38
The chapel at Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town. (File)

The chapel at Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town. (File) (Bishops Diocesan College website)

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An investigation is under way by Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town following reports that a school teacher had engaged in a sexual relationship with a matric pupil, says top Cape Town lawyer William Booth, who is assisting her.

"As far as I am aware there are no criminal charges," Booth said.

This follows reports that the teacher had had an affair with an 18-year-old pupil from the exclusive private school. She has since resigned.

The Sunday Times identified her as 30-year-old Fiona Viotti.

READ | Former Boks coach's niece resigns over alleged sexual affair with Bishops boy - reports

Things reportedly went sour when the pupil, whose name was not immediately available, tried to break it off with the teacher and informed his parents of the relationship.

"She's under a lot of stress," said Booth. "The family are helping her. They are making sure she can manage all of this that is going on at the moment."

Disciplinary procedure

He said that much of what was reported was speculative, and that some information was incorrect.

He would not be drawn on what was incorrect.

He said that the teacher had not been through a disciplinary procedure before she resigned.

She has also not left South Africa, Booth added.

In the meantime, Booth said he was waiting in the wings for her to be properly advised on her rights as the situation unfolds.

Comment was not immediately available from the SA Council of Educators, but its Code of Conduct posted online stipulates that a teacher:

 - Refrains from improper physical contact with learners;

 - Refrains from courting learners from any school;

 - Refrains from any form of sexual harassment (physical or otherwise) of learners;

 - Refrains from any form of sexual relationship with learners from any school. 

Comment was also not immediately available from the school, but will be added when it is received.

The provincial Department of Education previously said that because Bishops was a private school, it could not comment on the matter.

Bishops principal Guy Pearson said in a statement on Friday evening: "Bishops is currently investigating allegations that there has been serious misconduct by one of its teachers. The teacher has resigned with immediate effect and the school is conducting a full investigation."

Read more on:    bishops diocesan college  |  cape town  |  education  |  sexual assault
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