Former Parktown Boys’ High School coach Collan Rex leaves the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court. File picture: Itumeleng English African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Angry parents of boys who fell victim to Parktown Boys sex pest Collan Rex were not happy that their children's abuser got off "lightly".

The parents were reacting after Rex was convicted of 156 counts of widespread sexual offences and assault on the schoolchildren during a reign of terror which lasted from 2015 and 2016 at the school's premises.

On Friday at the South Gauteng High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court in Ekurhuleni, Judge Peet Johnson found Rex guilty on 144 counts of sexual assault and 12 of assault. There were a total of 17 victims which Rex abused. Rex faced 327 counts when his trial began in August.

The State had also charged Rex with attempted murder, rape, sexual grooming and exposing minors to pornography, which he was found not guilty of. 

Judge Johnson found that Rex had not shown an intention to kill any of the children and that the attempted murder charges be changed to assault.

Rex, 22, admitted during the trial that he had engaged in a repetitive act of choking the schoolchildren, two of whom passed out from this violent act. It also emerged during the proceedings that Rex has a previous conviction of drug possession, which he admitted to in 2014.

Parents of the victimised learners were very angry at the verdict, saying that Rex got off easily.

One of the frustrated fathers even approached Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi, who had been in court for the verdict, accusing him of allowing allegedly abusive teachers to still roam Parktown.

Lesufi said he understood the pain the parents faced, adding he would have probably behaved the same had his child been abused.

However, he stressed that disciplinary action had been taken against those teachers employed by the department and that he would follow up with Parktown as to the action to be taken against those teachers employed by the school governing body.

While relieved and welcoming of the guilty verdict, Lesufi expressed disappointment that Rex had managed to get off on other charges. 

Despite that, Lesufi thanked parents, law enforcement agencies and other Parktown teachers for fighting for and supporting the brutalised boys. 

Rex is still out on bail and was expected to appear on Monday, September 17 where pre-sentencing procedures would commence.

@khayakoko88 

The Star