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Pretoria - A soccer coach who was earlier sentenced to an effective 36 years’ imprisonment for raping a young soccer player and indecently assaulting two other boys, has had 12 years shaved off his sentence by the Pretoria High Court.
The father of four, who may not be identified in order to protect his young victims, was convicted in the Benoni Regional Court in 2009 on two charges of rape and four of indecent assault.
He pleaded not guilty at the time and said the boys lied as they had a guilty conscience for breaking into his home.
The court rejected his version and accepted that of the boys who were aged 10, 14 and 16 at the time of the sexual assault on them.
None of the children told their parents what had happened to them, as they feared their coach.
The parents, however, realised something was wrong.
A social worker, acting on the suspicion of the parents, went to the home of the coach in a township near Brakpan.
They found a number of the coach’s team staying with him.
It was only after questioning the boys that they told the social worker what had happened to them.
While only three boys were either raped or/and indecently assaulted, a number of the other boys witnessed this. Some peeped through the window of the house and saw their teammates being abused, while others noticed something untoward happening at night when sleeping in the man’s home.
The incidents occurred during 2007 and 2008.
The accused, on appeal, complained about the fact that the children had testified through an intermediary as the court was told they would be placed under undue stress if they had to face their coach in court.
But Judge Sulette Potterill found that the correct process was followed in this regard.
He then complained that the children did not understand what it meant to take the oath, but the judge said it was clear that the young victims clearly understood what it meant to tell the truth.
The children basically had the same tale to tell.
The first to take the stand was a 14-year-old, who said the accused was his coach.
The team went to the coach’s home in May 2007 to fetch their kit.
The coach called him inside the house and instructed him to strip.
He refused, but the coach insisted.
The coach attempted to rape the boy, and when he could not manage this he indecently assaulted the boy.
The coach gave the boy R5 with which he bought a bunny chow.
Although he did not like what the coach did to him, he did not tell his mother as he was afraid of the coach.
This happened on another occasion, he said, when he and his brother went to sleep at the man’s home because they were due to play a match the following day.
This time the coach tried to rape him while his brother was asleep, but only managed to indecently assault him.
He received R20, and his brother R5, from the coach.
They again used this money to buy bunny chows.
The 10-year-old who was raped twice said he fetched his soccer boots at the coach’s home on the first occasion, when he was raped.
He said it was painful and he wanted to cry, but he felt a bit better after receiving R40 from the coach.
He was raped two weeks later again and received R30, with which he too, bought a bunny chow.
The 16-year-old victim was indecently assaulted after he fetched his cellphone at the coach’s home after a soccer match.
Some of the parents testified that they called in help from a social worker after their children no longer wanted to stay home, preferring to stay over at the coach’s home.
The accused, who said he was a very good soccer coach, claimed the boys lied, and said they stayed over at his house when he was not home.
Confirming the convictions, the court reduced the sentence on two charges, which still fell under the old Sexual Offences Act, for which a lesser sentence was prescribed.