Parktown Boys: GDE was alerted of alleged sexual assault last year

A 22-year-old man appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court after allegedly sexually abusing 20 boys during his time as a water polo coach at Parktown Boys High.

A hostel master at the school came across the man, who is also an assistant boarding master, fondling a student on CCTV footage of a hostel common room. The principal of the school, Kevin Stippel and the chairman of the school’s governing body, Nicholas Greyling were called in to review the footage.

“The police were contacted and the perpetrator was arrested. He has since been charged with sexual abuse of minors and is awaiting trial. The school banned him from the property pending a hearing but he resigned with immediate effect,” said Greyling, who added that the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) was contacted and have been involved throughout this process.

However the GDE said in a statement that they only became aware of the incident through the media. Greyling said that the school had been visited by a representative from the Department of Education so he was unsure why the Gauteng Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi, was not aware of the incident.

Greyling said there has been ongoing counselling and psychological support for the childrern and their parents throughout the process and Luke Lamprecht from the Johannesburg Child Advocacy Forum has been assisting the school with an independent investigation to ensure complete transparency throughout the procedure.

READ Parktown Boys’ High sexual assault case to be investigated by GDE

A school newsletter titled, Breaking the Silence was issued to parents and schoolchildren last year after the school became aware of the incident involving the children. The newsletter refers to a code of silence whereby students feel that they will not disclose even the most dangerous of information. The newsletter stresses the importance of children understanding that they play an essential role in ensuring the school is safe for all.

The man will appear in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court on 10 May on charges of assault, sexual assault and sexual grooming of children.

 

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  AUTHOR
Laura Pisanello

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