Parktown Boys water polo coach would choke us and touch our genitals, witnesses tell court

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Witnesses have told the South Gauteng High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court how a former Parktown Boys' High School assistant water polo coach and hostel master would wrestle them and sometimes choke them and fondle their genitals.

The 22-year old, who is accused of sexually assaulting boys at the school, was present during proceedings before acting Judge Peet Johnson on Tuesday.

One witness, a 17-year-old student, told the court through a court intermediary how, in 2016, the accused had "dry humped" him and touched his genitals. He added that he had also been choked by the ex-coach.

He said all of this would happen in their hostel dorms after prayers.

The witness also recalled how the accused kicked another pupil in the chest.

“He was laying with us and pinching our genitals,” the teenager told the court.

“He would put me into a headlock,” the witness said, as he demonstrated to the court where the hands of the accused would be during the incident.

The witness said the accused would wrestle with him until he was unable to breathe.

He continued that the accused had touched him about ten times during his time at the school.

The teenager explained that the accused approached them as their friend and would sit with them. He added that the dorm was always playful, but that the accused then brought "forced aggression" to the playfulness.

During cross-examination, the accused’s attorney William Robertse put it to the witness that the accused was playing with them and not necessarily choking them with the intention to kill.

Another witness, who is also 17-years-old, told the court that the accused had shown him pornographic images and videos. He added that he had also wrestled with them.

'He made us watch Fifty Shades of Grey'

He said the accused made him watch the movie Fifty Shades of Grey.

"He actually headlocked me… he was trying to pull my arm off…” he said.

“He called me and my friend and made us watch Fifty Shades of Grey, which was a porn movie,” he said.

The witness added that the former hostel head would also go to their rooms and wake them up, only to wrestle and do other things with them.

"He also teased and insulted boys, making them feel less of what they are," the emotional witness added.

Robertse put it to the witness that Fifty Shades of Grey was not pornographic, arguing that it was cinema friendly. He also argued that the witness was the one who was "inquisitive" and had approached the accused.

The witness replied that, according to him, the movie was pornographic because of the nature of the content.

"If it includes scenes of sex it’s pornographic, if it doesn’t, it’s not… the movie is for adults, not people my age," he said.

The witness also said that he recalled being bitten by the accused.

Last week, the accused admitted guilt to 144 charges of sexual assault, the National Prosecuting Authority's Phindi Mjonondwane said.

READ: Former Parktown Boys High water polo assistant coach pleads guilty to 144 charges

Mjonondwane said that the man was still facing 183 charges, which the State would need evidence of in order for him to be charged. The charges range from rape, sexual assault, attempted murder, showing pornography to minors, and sexual grooming.

'When he strangled, he would tell you to tap out'

The allegations emerged after he was caught on a surveillance camera allegedly fondling a 15-year-old pupil's genitals in the common room of the school's hostel in November 2016.

On Tuesday, a third witness also detailed how the accused would occasionally choke them.

He said the accused would inform them to "tap out" if they could not breathe.

"When he strangled, he would tell you to tap out, but sometimes he didn’t," the 18-year-old said.

When asked how many times the accused would strangle and choke him, the witness replied that it had been more than 20 times during 2016.

The teenager also told the court that he had witnessed the accused strangling another pupil until he passed out.

"He was holding him around the neck with both arms and telling him to tap out, but he eventually passed out."

The witness added that the accused then shook the pupil until he gained consciousness.

"He first looked worried, but after he had woken up, he laughed it off," he said.

"I’ve also seen him dry humping other boys in [the] hostel and in buses… holding genitals and telling them to whistle, then he will let go."

The case was postponed until Wednesday when another witness is expected to take the stand.

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