Convicted sex offender free to work with kids

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In the news: A convicted sex offender who spent six years in prison locally for his offences is free, and offering art classes in suburban Cape Town.

The man, who is using an alias, was offering the classes on a classifieds website. Police have said that most of his victims were boys over the age of 12, and that he had been photographing them and sexually abusing them for over two decades at the time of his arrest.

In 2004 he was convicted of 13 charges, including sexual assault (then known as indecent assault), committing an indecent act with someone under the age of consent, and contravention of the Film and Publications Act. He was released on parole in 2009, and his parole period is now over.

Now he’s free, with no supervision at all from either correctional or child services.

A newspaper report confirmed that he was working as an art tutor to adults, but that he was also willing to do private teaching, even with children.

Unless (or until) there’s an active case based on new allegations, police are unable to investigate the man.

That’s just one offender. Given that in South Africa there must be many, many paedophiles, sex offenders and abusers of children, there’s just not enough protection for children and our communities from these convicted predators.

There’s no active registry of convicted offenders, and only mild encouragements for previously convicted people to disclose their past during job applications.

Other countries have the following as protective measures:
  • A list/register of offenders available online or in community centres
  • Convicted offenders are banned from working with kids (and monitored)
  • Offenders may be surgically castrated and banned from areas with schools
What do you think we should be doing to ensure the safety of our kids? Is an offender guilty even once his sentence has been completed?
 
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