More pupils implicate ‘porn teacher’

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Durban - Two teenagers from the same Durban high school have given police signed statements implicating their former teacher in allegations that he used them to create child pornography in return for money.

And, The Mercury understands, another two have come forward making similar allegations as the charges mount up against the well-known and well-liked drama teacher who has taught at many schools in the greater Durban area.

The 48-year-old – who cannot be named until he pleads to the charges – was arrested last month after police investigating steroid abuse and dealing in certain schools stumbled on information that the teacher had allegedly been involved in the creation of child pornography.

This led to a raid on his house and the seizure of exhibits including computers and a cellphone.

On Tuesday he appeared dishevelled when he made a third, brief appearance in the Durban Magistrate’s Court when he was due to apply for bail.

But his attorney Nerissa Farrington asked for an adjournment until Monday to obtain further information.

In terms of the present charge sheet, which prosecutor Tanya Pretorius said was still provisional, he is facing 11 charges relating to two teenagers who are both 17.

The charges relate to different time periods in the past two years and mainly deal with contraventions of the Sexual Offences Act for “using children for or benefiting from child pornography”.

The crimes allegedly occurred in Pinetown, Glenwood and Bluff.

He is also charged with possession of child pornography, creation of child pornography and procuring child pornography.

On Tuesday he agreed to give the police access to his e-mail accounts but said that he could not remember the password and user name of his BlackBerry.

At his first appearance in court, Pretorius placed on record that the accused had a previous conviction for sexual assault and this, the nature of the crime and the alleged abuse of authority, was expected to form the basis of the State opposing his release on bail.

According to documentation seen by The Mercury, the teacher was convicted in 2003 for incidents of indecent assault that happened more than 20 years ago, while he was teaching at another school in greater Durban.

He was sentenced to five years, suspended for three years, and to 18 months correctional supervision. Police believe there was “similar grooming” in both incidents although they will only call his earlier victim if he is convicted again and evidence is needed in aggravation of sentence.

Reports on Tuesday suggested that the school where he most recently taught had been informed of his previous conviction by that victim.

The present headmaster said: “I started my tenure last year and cannot answer you about things that happened more than 10 years ago.”

He confirmed that the teacher had resigned last year but was still working as a “service provider” at the time of his arrest and that this contract had been cancelled.

Meanwhile, many schools around Durban have begun fresh checks on their teachers.

Marc Hardwick, director of The Guardian, an agency dealing with child-related matters, said that he had “got very busy” in the past few weeks.

“All teachers have to be cleared against the Sexual Offenders register and the Child Protection register and we have done these checks on thousands of teachers across the country over the years. This matter has obviously highlighted the importance of this.”

The Mercury



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