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Sex assault shock at top Cape school

By Warda Meyer Time of article published Jul 24, 2015

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Cape Town - A music teacher at the prestigious Reddam House private school, where the children of Cape Town’s wealthiest are being educated, has been charged with sexually assaulting several young boys at the school.

The teacher, who cannot be named due to the nature of the charges, stands accused of fondling at least six boys, aged 9 and 10, while giving them music lessons.

The posh Reddam House Group is internationally renowned, having educated the late Princess Diana’s nieces and daughters of Earl Spencer.

Informed sources say up to 10 young boys may have been victims, but only six opted to push ahead with the charges.

Confirming the arrest, police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said the 32-year-old suspect was arrested after an investigation which lasted over a month-and-a-half.

Van Wyk said the man appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday on charges of sexual assault.

“The suspect was released on R2 000 bail and was given strict bail conditions which included that he must not be in the area where the school is situated and he must not have any contact with the victims, teachers or anyone at the said school,” he said.

Other bail conditions included that the teacher hand over his passport and report to Melkbosstrand police station three times a week on a Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

Police say the investigation is ongoing and there is still a possibility of other victims coming forward.

A close relative of one of the victims, who cannot be named – to protect the identity of the boy – said it has been a difficult time for the families.

“This is not something you want your children to go through especially not at school, where they should be protected”.

Top Cape defence attorney William Booth confirmed that his client was arrested at his home on Tuesday and appeared in court the next day.

Booth said the allegations included a number of charges of sexual assault and that the case had been postponed for the State to complete its investigation.

“We have not as yet received all the evidence because the investigation must still be completed,” he added.

When approached for comment, Reddam House Constantia confirmed that it had terminated the contract of one of its independent music service providers with immediate effect following allegations of inappropriate conduct.

“Reddam House takes these allegations very seriously.

“The FCS (Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit) of the SAPS is currently conducting a full investigation and the individual concerned has been arrested and charged; a legal process will be followed,” said Sheena Crawford-Kempster, the managing director of Reddam House.

She added that the independent music service provider concerned came to their school with an impressive CV, and the usual checks were made before the school contracted him.

“There was nothing to suggest to us that he might ever engage in the behaviour he is accused of.

“We assure parents and the public that we use utmost care in selecting our staff and we deeply regret what has happened. Reddam House continues to offer support to the families involved.

“We ask that their privacy be respected,” Crawford-Kempster added.

Parents were informed about the developments and action taken by the school against the teacher, via a circular issued.

A parent who brought the circular to the Cape Argus’s attention, expressed concern that the school was quick to distance itself from the incident and the teacher in question.

In the circular the school informed the parent body about the alleged incidents that had taken place at the school involving a “small group of children” in the Preparatory School.

The circular states that it was brought to the headmistress’s attention during May that an independent music service provider allegedly acted in an inappropriate manner towards the children.

It also stressed that no other staff members had been involved and it urged parents against rumour mongering to prevent any negative impact on the affected pupils and their families.

The circular further states: “Please do not place this letter or any comments relating to the content of this letter or rumours you have heard onto social media or in the public domain.”

The case has been postponed until September 29, for further investigation.

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Cape Argus

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