Hiding his face behind a newspaper, Rex Collins leaves court where he had just pleaded guilty to violating Parktown Boys learners. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The former Parktown Boys' assistant water polo coach pleaded guilty to committing sexual acts on young school boys on the prestigious school's premises.

This was revealed when gruesome details of large-scale sexual and child abuse at Parktown Boys High School emerged on Tuesday when Collin Rex appeared in court.

The former assistant water polo coach at the Joburg school pleaded guilty to 144 counts of sexual assault on 12 schoolboys aged between 13 and 16, in a harrowing reign of terror which lasted from 2015 to 2016.

Rex, 22, who appeared at the Gauteng South High Court sitting in Palm Ridge, admitted to lewd acts of grabbing and squeezing boys' genitals on numerous occasions as well as rubbing his penis against several learners while they were fully clothed; an act known as dry humping.

State prosecutor Advocate Arveena Persad read out the charge sheet in court saying all those eerie acts were committed on the school's premises. In addition to the 144 acts of abuse he has admitted to, Rex is also facing a further 183 charges ranging from attempted murder, rape, sexual grooming and exposing minors to pornography. There are 11 complainants in these charges and he pleaded not guilty to them

Parents of the victimised learners expressed great relief that their children will be spared the trauma of testifying and relieving their horrid experiences in a courtroom. Some of the learners, who cannot be named to protect their identities are still at the school, while others have since left.

Judge Peet Johnson asked Rex whether he understood that his admission was akin to a guilty plea, to which the confessed abuser said, "yes".

Rex was also a learner at Parktown and began working for the school after matriculating in 2014. Rex, who was dressed in a grey suit, looked calm in the dock while his crimes were being read out, staring squarely at the judge the whole time.

The matter was postponed to next week Court adjourned on Tuesday and the next appearance will be next week, where prosecutor Advocate Arveena Persad said the State was expected to lead its first witnesses.

The Star