By Fiona Gounden
A 60-year-old swimming instructor is floundering in the deep end as more parents come forward and Childline expresses concern about his being released on bail after being charged with raping three little girls.
"Besides the three cases that he has been charged for, we are now working with other parents and we are digging much further," said Marc Hardwick, director of The Guardian, a KwaZulu Natal organisation that provides investigative services as well as awareness and training for sexual crimes involving children,
"These parents have called me following these allegations coming out in the open."
Childline is also concerned that the suspect, who may have molested many other children in Umbilo, may "repeat such behaviour" while out on bail, said director Linda Naidoo.
"He's accustomed to having access to children and we fear that he may continue with this behaviour and seek other young victims.
"Although his bail conditions state that he can't work in an environment with children, this can be easily violated as nobody is there to monitor him," Naidoo added.
According to Hardwick, "Parents have obviously been alerted and want to see the perpetrator punished.
"They said their children were sent to him for swimming lessons before 2008 and they suspect they may have been molested."
He said many had noticed signs which indicated that their children had been abused.
"Parents noticed strange behaviour in their children.
"We are therefore making an appeal to parents to come forward if they have noticed that their children have displayed any form of aggressive or sexual behaviour that's indicative of abuse."
Hardwick added that, in the run-up to the case, The Guardian would be working with the abused children.
They were now five years old, he added.
"We will be preparing their medical reports and preparing these cases so that they will stand up in court.
"We are also working with Childline and getting reports from them."
Meanwhile, Childline was counselling the three children, said Naidoo.
"The alleged victims are really young, but we are glad they've made major progress during their counselling sessions. We are also concerned about the other cases that have not come into the open.
"These children desperately need counselling and yet their parents are unaware of the situation."
In 2008 the suspect was investigated for six cases of sexual assault against children, but he was not arrested even though children had started simulating sexual behaviour allegedly learnt at their so-called swimming lessons.
The parents always found him alone with children.
The suspect has not pleaded and his next appearance in the Durban Magistrate's Court will be on April 12.
Hardwick has urged parents who suspect their children may have been molested during swimming lessons to phone him on 083 796 6554.