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Cape Town – The 66-year-old Ottery resident arrested for allegedly sexually abusing 18 boys is said to have molested them over a period of about a year, according to the police.

His arrest on Monday has sent shockwaves through the community.

He will appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court this week on charges of rape and sexual assault, said spokesperson Andre Traut.

“A 66-year-old man was arrested (on Monday) afternoon on charges of rape and sexual assault. It is alleged that the accused lured boys into sexual deeds over a period of about a year,” said Traut. 

Grassy Park community policing forum spokesperson Philip Bam said the incident was concerning and he has urged parents to remain vigilant at all times.

“We have been informed about this matter and, though we do not have much information yet, it is understood that (these charges) just scratch the surface.

“I have been on many searches for missing children in our community before and we have found young boys congregating at certain homes, and this has been very worrying. 

"These boys are picked up by older men and they buy them food and clothing. It happens far too often,” Bam said.

He added that the police had “promised to follow up” on the matter.

“I really hope this case will be used as an opportunity to thoroughly investigate the homes of the older men these boys are lured to.

‘‘It is just mind-boggling how parents can allow their children to be away from home for an extended period of time, often not knowing where they are,” he said. 

“The problem is deeper than the alleged molesters. Parents need to wake up and be aware of predators. Parents need to be alert at all times as this could happen to any child at any time.”

The director of the child rights organisation Molo Songololo, Patric Solomons, said it has noted an increase in the number of cases of boys coming forward as victims of sexual abuse.

“Children are very vulnerable and though the emphasis is mostly on girls, boys are equally vulnerable and the same attention and vigilance should be practised to ensure their safety,” said Solomons.

“In the work we do, we find that boys are often embarrassed or ashamed to speak out against sexual abuse.

“With teenage boys it could be the case that they have been manipulated because of their developmental space when experimenting sexually. 

"(Predatory) adults exploit or manipulate these developmental phases by exposing boys to sexual images or sexual situations,” he said.

Solomons said any minor victim of sexual abuse should firstly understand that it is not their fault.

“There is no self-shame in it. We hope that the guilty offenders of such crimes are convicted accordingly so the victims can heal.

“There is a misconception that when children express sexual behaviour, that they can engage in sexual activity. Children, especially boys, are groomed by society almost saying that boys are expected to engage sexually.

“Our boys are at high risk and we hope that this investigation will put together a strong case and that the alleged offender is convicted.

‘‘We want victims to see that justice is on their side and, in so doing, create safe spaces for them to come forward and talk about anxiety they may have as a result of being victims of sexual assault,” Solomons said.

Cape Times