Photographer faces child porn, rape charges


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It is believed that dozens of Kimberley children might be victims of an alleged child pornographer following the recent arrest of a local photographer. Picture: Danie van der Lith

KImberley - Dozens of Kimberley children might be victims of an alleged child pornographer following the arrest of a well-known local photographer, who allegedly took hundreds of naked and semi-naked photographs of minors at his home studio in Heuwelsig.

Rudolph Coetzee, 23, believed to be the owner of RCR Photography, is facing charges of manufacturing child pornography, as well as three charges of rape, after police confiscated a memory stick, containing thousands of photos of children, during a raid at his home.

Hundreds of these photographs were allegedly taken by Coetzee himself, while tens of thousands were apparently downloaded from the internet.

It is believed that the three rape charges relate to photographs allegedly depicting Coetzee involved in sexual acts with children of both sexes.

He was arrested by members of the Kimberley Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit and appeared in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on May 26 and June 2, when his case was remanded to Thursday.

He is currently in police custody.

The arrest follows an investigation that was launched by the FCS after one of Coetzee’s alleged victims complained to his parents and they in turn reported the matter to police.

Police spokeswoman, Colonel Priscilla Naidu, said on Tuesday that it was alleged that Coetzee had taken photographes of children in naked and semi-naked positions at his home, which also served as his studio, in Heuwelsig.

Naidu appealed to members of the public who engaged the services of Coetzee to urgently contact the investigating officer, Detective Warrant Officer, Elizma Roos, on 082 466 4578.

According to Naidu, more charges could be added as children in the pornographic images are identified.

It is believed that while close to 20 children have already been identified by their parents, hundreds more, who appear in the photographs, still need to be identified.

On Tuesday, Coetzee’s neighbours reacted in shock after hearing the details of his arrest.

He reportedly lived with his mother and brother at a house in Andre Street.

One neighbour said Coetzee was the last person she would have suspected of engaging in child pornography.

“He was always a friendly, helpful neighbour, who would not hurt a fly. I still can’t believe something like this could have happened right under our noses,” she said.

More neighbours echoed her sentiments.

“We refuse to believe that he is guilty. He was one of the most decent people we ever met. He went out of his way to assist others and always concerned himself with the well-being of especially the elderly. He also had a great love for children and would never do anything to hurt them.

“He even occasionally took care of a young boy, whose mother went out drinking and left her child with him over weekends. The boy said that ‘Rudi’ bathed him, fed him, gave him toys and gave him a place to sleep,” the two neighbours said.

Coetzee’s arrest was the second in connection with child pornography in Kimberley this year.

Roelof du Toit, a music teacher, was arrested on charges of manufacturing and distributing child pornography, as well as sexually assaulting children, in February.

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