Twist in school abuse case

2016-11-18 11:04
Police question senior staff member, seize equipment.

Police question senior staff member, seize equipment. (File)

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Pietermaritzburg - There was a sudden twist in the investigation into a Pietermaritzburg primary school embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal — this time involving a senior staff member.

The Witness can reveal that police have now turned their scopes on to a senior staff member in connection with allegations of rape and sexual assault made at the school where at least seven young male pupils were allegedly sexually molested by the school’s former guidance counsellor.

The staff member on Thursday told The Witness that the allegations were “ludicrous” and added that if the same person who previously charged the guidance counsellor has now opened charges against him, it would in his mind therefore bring into question the accusations made against the guidance counsellor.

Multiple police sources yesterday confirmed that investigators from the Pietermaritzburg Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit obtained a search and seizure warrant for the staff member.

Late on Thursday afternoon, the investigators seized electronic equipment from the staff member’s office at the school as well as from his home.

When approached to comment on the allegations, the staff member said he had co-operated fully with police when they came to see him with the warrant on Thursday.

He confirmed they had been at the school and had seized his work computer and cellphone.

He said police had also accompanied him to his home where they removed his personal computer, camera memory cards and other personal devices.

“I offered everything they wanted voluntarily. The police came to speak to me to look at my electronic equipment,” the staff member said.

He said he would be getting legal advice.

Asked if he would be at school today, he said: “Yes I will. We are in the middle of exams.”

He said he had not missed a day of school since the allegations against the school counsellor arose, “because I know how important it is for my staff that I am there”.

The school’s guidance counsellor — who has since been fired — is currently behind bars awaiting a decision on whether he will be allowed bail based on alleged “new facts”.

He was arrested in June this year when a seven-year-old pupil detailed allegations of sexual abuse to police.

Since his arrest, more young boys at the school came forward, each detailing similar allegations.

The counsellor currently stands accused of three cases of rape and four of sexual assault. He will appear again in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court in a week’s time.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  education

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