Private school's deputy head told to 'step aside' amid allegations of sexual assault

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St John’s College in Johannesburg.
St John’s College in Johannesburg.
  • An investigation has revealed a former St John's College teacher allegedly sexually assaulted his former pupils.
  • The man is now employed in a senior position at another private school in Johannesburg.
  • His lawyer says he's a highly respected teacher and has no idea about the investigation or allegations levelled against him.

The deputy headmaster of a private school in Johannesburg has been asked to step aside and remain at home after an independent investigation revealed he had allegedly sexually assaulted pupils at his previous school. 

The teacher was unmasked after a former St John's College pupil, now an adult, came forward.

The school has since reported him to the police and South African Council for Educators. 

The group, which owns the school the deputy principal currently works at, confirmed it was aware of the allegations and sexual assault case against the teacher.

According to his attorney, Kevin Schaafsma, the allegations was brought to his client's attention on Monday.

READ | Eastern Cape teacher, coach quit amid misconduct allegations

"He doesn't know anything about this investigation and apparent allegations. He also wasn't asked to comment about this investigation," Schaafsma said, adding he had been a highly respected teacher for more than 20 years and thousands of children were in his care throughout.

Schaafsma said his client had no idea what the allegations were about and would be waiting for the police to contact him.

He added the teacher "has stepped aside from his current position because St John's communicated the apparent allegations to his current employer".

An independent investigation found he allegedly sexually assaulted pupils while employed at St John's College, the school said in a letter to parents.

In the letter sent on Monday, its executive headmaster, Stuart West, informed parents the teacher, who was employed by the school in 2002, allegedly sexually assaulted pupils during his eight-year tenure.

West told the schooling community the teacher resigned over a decade ago a to take up a position at another school. 

"As a school community, we are deeply shaken by these shocking allegations against a former teacher. We take our duty of care to our students extremely seriously and will do everything humanly possible to help rid our schools of the scourge of sexual predators.

"We trust that the criminal justice system will move swiftly and firmly to investigate all allegations of sexual assault against this teacher.

"Given the sensitive nature of the ongoing investigations by the FCS [the police's Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit], St John's College is not able to provide any further details at this time," West added.

In the communiqué, he added:

St John’s became aware of these allegations on 13 October 2021 after one of his victims, now an adult, disclosed the alleged sexual assault to his parents. The school immediately initiated an independent investigation.

SACE to open file

West said the subsequent independent investigation by a child protection expert had resulted in other past students coming forward to report alleged sexual assault by this particular teacher during their time at the school.

St John's said it reported the case to the FCS on Monday morning.

"St John's has exercised its duty as a school and reported the teacher to the South African Council of Educators and the Anglican Safe Church Unit through the bishop of Johannesburg. The former teacher's current employer has also been informed." 

The SACE's legal and ethics manager, George Moroasui, told News24 a report was received from St John's on Monday, saying it would open a file.

West said the school took its duty of care to pupils extremely seriously.

"We will do everything humanly possible to help rid our schools of the scourge of sexual predators. We trust that the criminal justice system will move swiftly and firmly to investigate all allegations of sexual assault against this particular teacher," he added.

St John's urged members of the schooling community, who lived with the awful secret of sexual or other abuse experienced at the school, to report it immediately.

In his letter, West added: "Recent media coverage indicates that there appears to be a disturbing increase in cases of sexual misconduct and grooming reported at schools across South Africa.

Please continue sending us your stories and tip-offs. You can contact us, completely confidentially, at or message us on WhatsApp or Telegram on 071 382 7030.

"We recognise and respect the courage of these survivors who frequently must overcome a culture of silence and who have bravely spoken out against the teachers who have so heinously abused their trust."

News24 and My Only Story, a non-profit company, recently published a live investigation over six weeks, detailing allegations of sexual abuse and gross inappropriate behaviour against several current and former teachers.

While the investigation centred around the allegations against water polo coach David Mackenzie during his time as a teacher at St Andrew's College in Makhanda, the Eastern Cape, the behaviour of several other teachers was also thrust into the spotlight, including Mark Evans.

Evans was suspended by the Diocesan School for Girls after several young women came forward to report alleged uncomfortable experiences they were subjected to while minors.

Prompted by the revelations revealed in the My Only Story investigation, some of them spoke about how he allegedly touched them inappropriately during water polo practice sessions and flirted with them.

A formal complaint against Evans was laid with the SACE.

He denied the allegations, telling News24 he took his duty of care as a teacher seriously.

We want to hear your views on the news. Subscribe to News24 to be part of the conversation in the comments section of this article.

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