Convicted paedophile Brian Shofer confirmed that he teaches pupils from Grade 2 to 11.

Cape Town - A convicted paedophile who sexually assaulted boys on the Cape Flats in the 1990s and is now tutoring children in Cape Town, has sparked a Social Development Department investigation and potential police intervention.

The man, Brian Shofer, places adverts on the free advertising website Gumtree offering “guaranteed results” and “a 100 percent pass rate”. When approached by Weekend Argus, he confirmed he teaches pupils from Grade 2 to 11.

Social Development Department spokeswoman Esther Lewis said they were looking into the matter.

Shofer is adamant he hasn’t committed a crime and said he didn’t see why he shouldn’t teach children. He said he was rehabilitated thanks to receiving “the very best of treatment” in jail.

He said if Weekend Argus didn’t publish this report, he would stop teaching children.

Shofer’s convictions date back to 1994. His first victims, mainly from Mitchells Plain, were aged between 7 and 14. He was jailed for several counts of indecent assault, before being released on parole.

He re-offended after setting up a youth centre in Hanover Park.

He was released from prison in 2010.

Weekend Argus traced his various online advertisements for private tutoring back to 2012.

The most recent advertisement was posted on July 4. It reads: “Hello learners and parents. My name is Brian Shofer. I am a very experienced tutor who is available every day to help your child/children with their problem subjects.

“My results are 100 percent passes! I am sure you have spotted serious weaknesses in your child/children’s second terms results! I am prepared to remedy this for you by providing extra lessons - at affordable cost in these holidays and beyond, in the comfort of your own home. I am prepared to tutor in any areas, covering all subjects and grades. I will guarantee my results. Call me NOW! I am waiting on your important call.”

Shofer said he had undergone intensive therapy, was treated in a tested programme and had an excellent prognosis.

“Since then I have maintained a stable and balanced life and have remained an upright, law-abiding citizen. The punishment for which I was imprisoned was served out and I enjoy all my rights in law as a free citizen... At no stage whatsoever was I informed by any single person, since regaining my freedom, that I may not tutor students,” he said.

Shofer said he’d disclosed his criminal history to the parents of the children he tutors and none had objected.

“I believe your newspaper will be opening a can of worms via an article concerning my education of people in the community. But then I will be ready and waiting to rectify this via the legal process. Fortunately my trust has ample funds allocated to deal with crises and major lawsuits, amongst other things,” he said.

Dr Marcel Londt, a senior lecturer in social work at the University of the Western Cape, questioned Shofer’s claims of full rehabilitation.

Londt runs a community-based sex offender programme.

She expressed concern about Shofer’s placing of the advertisement, saying it was a form of grooming.

“He is taunting society by hiding in the open. He knows what the gaps are in society and the challenges. So he plays the system,” she said.

Shaheda Omar, clinical director at The Teddy Bear Clinic, said there was nothing stopping Shofer from teaching but he should work with adults only.

“He should not work with children under any circumstances. Once a paedophile, always a paedophile,” she said.

The clinic did not treat Shofer.

Omar cautioned parents to establish the backgrounds of those who come into contact with their children.

They could ask for references and request proof of a clean criminal record.

Omar said sex offenders required long-term aftercare, adding that studies showed the chances of reoffending were high.

The challenge in South Africa was there was no aftercare once parole was complete.

Arina Smit, manager of the clinical unit at the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders, echoed Omar’s sentiments. She said the issue exposed the need for the government to look at monitoring of serial sex offenders.

Smit also did not treat Shofer, but expressed the view, based on Shofer’s responses to Weekend Argus, that he did not have insight into his behaviour or understand his need to be around children.

“I think these are red flags,” she said.

While Shofer had a right to work, the rights of the children he teaches were more important, in her view.

Provincial Education department spokeswoman Jessica Shelver said tutoring centres were not required to register with the department.

Someone with a conviction was generally disqualified from formally working with children, unless the conviction had been expunged.

“If a parent employs a private tutor they should request reference letters, proof of qualifications and a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check. Parents should be vigilant and observant to any change in the child’s behaviour. Communication between parent and child is key in this regard as topics on sexuality and abuse would encourage disclosures should there be any form of abuse.”

She said the department would not employ any teachers previously found guilty of a sexual offence and used a specialist agency to carry out background checks.

Shofer added that he had disclosed his criminal history to the parents of the children and none had objected. He agreed to forward the parents’ details to Independent Media with a copy of his CV which he said discloses his jail time.

But he changed his mind when Independent Media refused to halt publication.

Dr Marcel Londt, a senior lecturer in social work at the University of the Western Cape, questioned Shofer’s claims of full rehabilitation, however. Londt runs a community-based sex offender programme.

She said placing the advertisement was a form of grooming. “He is taunting society by hiding in the open. He knows what the gaps are in society and the challenges. So he plays the system.”

Shaheda Omar, clinical director at The Teddy Bear Clinic, said: “He should not work with children under any circumstances. Once a paedophile, always a paedophile.”

The clinic did not treat Shofer.

Omar cautioned parents to establish the backgrounds of those who have contact with their children. Omar said sex offenders required long-term after-care, adding chances of re-offending were high. But in South Africa there was no after-care once parole was complete.

Arina Smit, manager of the clinical unit at the National Institute for Crime Prevention, expressed the view, based on his responses to Independent Media, that he did not have insight into his behaviour, or understand his need to be around children.

“I think these are red flags,” she said.

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