Is your child's teacher a pervert?

The arrest of a local school principal for his alleged involvement in a child pornography syndicate has shocked the country. The man, also an acclaimed author, was arrested along with five others, including two other teachers, on Monday, according to News24. Public sentiment is that individuals such as these should never have access to professional positions where they work with children.

How to check if there's an abuser near you:

Those convicted of crimes of a sexual nature against children automatically have their names forwarded to the National Register for Sex Offenders (NSRO). According to the Department of Justice website, the NSRO exists in order to:
  • "Give employers in the public or private sectors such as schools; crèches and hospitals the right to check that the person being hired is fit to work with children or mentally disabled people.
  • Being found guilty of a sexual offence against a child or mentally disabled person will result in one’s name being put on the National Register.
  • The Register seeks to ensure that offenders do not work with children or mentally disabled people.
  • Convicted offenders are also not allowed to apply for foster care or adoption, or to work with children.
  • Employers can find out whether the people they put in charge of their children have not been found guilty of sexual offences in terms of the law."

How to check whether or not a convicted abuser is working in a crèche, day care centre, school, hospital or other professional environment where he or she may come into contact with children:

Unfortunately, the details of offenders are not made public, and it is a criminal for anyone offence to disclose information contained in the register, however, those entitled to (ie, employers who work in an environment with children) may apply for a clearance certificate which would allow them to do background checks on current or prospective staff, including whether or not their names are listed on the NSRO. Concerned parents or guardians can simply ask the institution to apply for a clearance certificate and then carry out the checks.

Of course, the register only contains the names of convicted offenders, and even a convicted offender may apply to have his or her name removed from the register should there be significant justification for that to happen.

Still, it is something schools and other similar institutions should explore, as it is impossible to spot a paedophile simply by their appearance:

What does a pervert look like?

Is there something which should alert us to the possibility that an adult may be abusing a child? Something in the way that person looks, walks or talks? Too often, when a sexual predator is finally arrested, friends, family and neighbours may respond with shock. “He just looked normal”, they’ll say, as if a child molester or paedophile should “look” a certain way.

Trenchcoats, shifty eyes and too much sweating?

Take a look at these images and see if you can guess which ones have been arrested on charges relating to sexual abuse of a minor, sexual assault against a minor or child pornography:

The answer?

All of these people have either been convicted of sexual offences against children, or are currently facing charges as alleged sexual offenders against children. Some are teachers, some entertainers, some just "people next door".

We’ve mentioned previously that sexual crimes against children often take place in the home or with extended family members. One of the most common reasons that children are chosen as victims is that they are vulnerable. Easy targets for adults who know how to groom, bully or manipulate children into performing sex acts.

Read more about how to protect your family against sexual predators:

Images, clockwise, top left to bottom left:

Johannes Kleinhans via News24

Elyse Cromwell via Facebook

Jimmy Saville via (file) AFP

Debra leFave via MySpace

Martin Evanick via Facebook

Eric Justin Toth via FBI Most Wanted

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

Have you ever had to follow up on suspicions that someone is harming a child?

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