Porn suspect has previous conviction

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Durban - The Durban teacher who has been arrested for allegedly making porn movies with boys 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.

Police are now delving into this conviction to see whether the incidents - which occurred between 1989 and 1991 - are similar to the present charges he faces.

The 48-year-old Glenwood man, who cannot be named until he pleads to the charge, appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court court on Thursday, and was charged with possession of child pornography.

Sources close to the investigation say that further charges are likely to be added.

Despite the teacher’s earlier conviction he has taught at a string of KwaZulu-Natal’s top schools, including private schools, and directed and performed in school drama productions. He is still registered with the South African Council of Educators (Sace) and is employed in a drama management position at a Durban high school.

Prosecutor Nauchaad Harripersadh said that child pornography, involving pictures of boys, had been found on the teacher’s laptop. The accused was also seen in videos performing sexual acts.

On Thursday, the court also heard of his previous conviction.

Dressed in black jeans, a navy collared shirt and a black tracksuit top, the eloquent teacher told magistrate Vanitha Armu that he could afford a private attorney but had not yet had the opportunity to hire one.

 

The case was adjourned to next week for a possible bail application.

Documentation seen by The Mercury showed that the teacher had been arrested in 2002 for indecent assault.

He was convicted in November 2003 and sentenced to five years, suspended for three years, and to 18 months’ correctional supervision.

At the time he was teaching at a school just outside Durban. Soon afterwards he moved to a school in Pietermaritzburg. After his conviction, he moved to another school in Durban.

In an email to The Mercury on Thursday, the then-principal of the Pietermaritzburg school - who is now a principal in another province - said he recalled the teacher leaving the school at the end of 2003 “on amicable terms”.

“He did not leave under a cloud… I was never informed that the teacher had been convicted of any offence in 2003. Had the court informed the school of such a conviction, I would have informed the appropriate authorities,” he said.

The principal of the teacher’s present school, where he has been since moving from Pietermaritzburg nearly 11 years ago, confirmed that the teacher took up employment on January 1, 2004.

He said he had been unaware of the teacher’s conviction and that the school checked teachers’ registrations with Sace.

 

Education Department spokesman Elijah Mahlangu said the department consulted the Sace database when employing teachers, and that governing bodies should be doing the same.

Tim Gordon, the chief executive of the Governing Body Foundation, confirmed this, adding that schools could also check with the police or ask candidates for police clearances.

The difficulty, however, was that the database which was supposed to record details of all child sex offenders was not up-to-date or complete.

 

Themba Ndlovu, a spokesman for Sace, said the council relied on governing bodies and the education department to report teachers’ convictions.

However, there was sometimes a communication breakdown which led to even those bodies not being informed and therefore not informing Sace.

The Mercury



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