Convicted paedophile Ian Appleton outside the Paarl Regional Court. Photo: Cindy Waxa.

A 10-year-old boy’s internalising of his trauma over being repeatedly raped by paedophile Ian Appleton was dangerous, a clinical psychologist said in the Paarl Regional Court on Tuesday.

“Internalised symptoms are more dangerous than externalised symptoms,” said Tanya van der Spuy, testifying in aggravation in Appleton’s sentencing proceedings.

Appleton had pleaded guilty to repeatedly raping the boy between 2007 and 2009. He was convicted on December 1.

In his plea statement read out in court by his attorney John Riley, Appleton said a game called “aeroplanes” had led to the rape. The game involved Appleton laying on the ground and picking the boy up by his waist. He would then land the boy in various ways either on top of him or next to him. They played the game several times.

A former Christian Brothers College teacher and scoutmaster, Appleton, 72, had been a longstanding friend of the boy’s family when he abused the child.

Van der Spuy, after treating the boy in 18 sessions, found he had been left traumatised, considering the “severity and duration of the abuse”. However, he had kept the trauma to himself because of shame.

She said the boy had showed no aggression or inappropriate sexual behaviour towards his peers, but had shown some signs of violence during a therapy session exercise using a sand tray and toys.

Some of the figures he had picked included missiles, a big army man, himself and Appleton. Van der Spuy said these were symptoms of trauma brought about by the abuse.

However, during cross-examination, Riley questioned the finding and said external factors such as the boy watching violent movies on TV could have brought about his actions during the exercise.

Riley also challenged the fact that the boy had not been given treatment immediately after the abuse was discovered and that therapy had been prematurely terminated.

Van der Spuy said she had only started treating the boy a year after he reported the rape to his parents. The treatment was stopped in July 2010. This was because the boy’s mother had hoped the trial would bring closure, said van der Spuy.

Van der Spuy said the boy needed further therapy. She said the boy had expressed a wish that Appleton be sent to jail for abusing him.

Riley said it was strange that she had excluded the statement from her report submitted in court.

The proceedings were postponed to March 11 because a witness was not available. Appleton’s bail was extended. - Cape Times