The sentencing proceedings for former Parktown Boys' High water polo coach Collan Rex has further exposed a culture of violence, bullying and threats at the prestigious school. Rex was found guilty of 144 counts of sexual assault and 12 counts of assault.
The first victim impact statement read out in court recounts how new Grade 8 learners were inducted into the school community by being beaten by older boys and taught the unofficial code of silence at the school.
A second victim's statement says he feels unable to return to the school because he feels shamed and shunned by pupils and teachers for breaking the code of silence.
Another victim talked about being robbed of the opportunity to choose his sexuality, leading to enormous vulnerability. He had to undergo psychiatric treatment as a result of the stigmatization he suffered.
The court also heard that two other victims attempted suicide.
Christian Bossert, the director of boarding at the school, testified that pupils were terrified of Rex's visits to the dorm and would hide under their beds in an attempt to escape his unwanted attentions. Rex would choke them and grab them by their testicles after pulling them from their hiding places.
Bossert told the court that he had warned Rex on a number of occasions to leave the boys alone. He handed a video recording of Rex sexually assaulting his victims to the court, but Judge Peet Johnson refused to watch it, saying it was not relevant to the sentencing.
The court also heard how some of the boys at the school had recurring nightmares and bunked classes to escape the physical and emotional abuse.
* Sentencing proceedings are continuing.