Media exec Willem Breytenbach arrested for sexual assault

Willem Breytenbach was arrested at his psychologist's practice in Hartenbos. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)
Willem Breytenbach was arrested at his psychologist's practice in Hartenbos. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

"Jimmy" is behind bars. 

The alleged sex offender Willem Breytenbach - who has been accused of rape by Johannesburg-based copywriter Deon Wiggett - was arrested at his psychologist's practice in Hartenbos, close to Mossel Bay, in the Southern Cape on Tuesday.

Breytenbach is a former Media24 executive, teacher and digital entrepreneur. Warrant Officer Rowan Andrews of the Western Cape Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit arrested him after Wiggett and three more men opened cases against him with the police.

MY ONLY STORY | A podcast series and live investigation into a sexual predator

Wiggett has accused Breytenbach of raping him in 1997, when he was 17 years old. At the time, Breytenbach was a journalist at Die Burger and in charge of a school newspaper project for Media24. Breytenbach has also been accused of sexually molesting several schoolboys at at least three schools where he taught from 1989 to 1994, among them Grey College in Bloemfontein. 

By Friday, 26 men had told Wiggett and News24 that Breytenbach had sexually assaulted and/or groomed them.

Breytenbach has been taken to the Mossel Bay police station to be processed. He will then be transported to Cape Town where he will be held at the Cape Town Central police station. He is expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on a charge of sexual assault on Thursday. More charges are expected to be added. 

Willem Breytenbach

Willem Breytenbach was arrested at his psychologist's practice in Hartenbos. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

Allegations have been piling up against Breytenbach, who was exposed as a sexual predator in My Only Story, a weekly podcast by Wiggett which was co-published by News24. The final of four episodes was published on Thursday.

Breytenbach had been holed up at his mother's house in Reebok in the Southern Cape while the police continued investigating growing complaints of sexual assault against minors and young men, spanning years. He has declined to comment to several journalists.

On Tuesday, the police first went to look for him at his mother's house in Reebok. His mother and sister-in-law were at home alone and told the police he was at his psychologist in Hartenbos.

Following the publication of the first podcast on November 7, in which Breytenbach was simply referred to as "Jimmy", Breytenbach, closed all his social media accounts and disabled his cellphone number.

Willem Breytenbach

Willem Breytenbach was arrested at his psychologist's practice in Hartenbos. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

Breytenbach asked most of his employees at his company, Lightspeed Digital Services, to resign and left his Cape Town house for Reebok.

News24 located him at this house on November 21. 

"Please respect me. I respect you, but unfortunately, I can't speak to you," he said before closing the door.

ANALYSIS | From Kroonstad to Three Anchor Bay: How Willem Breytenbach got away for 40 years

The following day, News24 reported that Breytenbach had attempted suicide on November 15, on a beach near Mossel Bay. He had taken a mixture of sleeping tablets and alcohol and was taken to hospital in a critical condition. 

This is a developing story.

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