Independent Online

Friday, July 1, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Sex pest teacher fired for grooming, having sex with pupil, 14, challenges dismissal

A Hoërskool Elspark male teacher and sports coach was fired for sexually grooming a 14-year-old pupil until he formed a sexual relationship with him. Picture: Pexels

A Hoërskool Elspark male teacher and sports coach was fired for sexually grooming a 14-year-old pupil until he formed a sexual relationship with him. Picture: Pexels

Published Mar 10, 2021

Share

Johannesburg – An axed Hoërskool Elspark male teacher and sports coach sexually groomed a 14-year-old pupil until he formed a sexual relationship with him, and may have attempted the same with other boys.

These are the findings of arbitration against Vincent Knoetze, who was a maths, science and technology teacher at the Germiston-based school, from January 2011 until July 2016, when he was fired for sexual misconduct.

Story continues below Advertisement

Knoetze took his dismissal on arbitration at the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC), hoping to have it overturned on grounds of substantive and procedural unfairness.

Arbitrator Trevor Wilkes ruled against him and affirmed the department’s decision.

“The dismissal of the applicant was substantively and procedurally fair,” Wilkes ruled in the arbitration, which saw a number of postponements after commencing on August 29, 2018.

Wilkes found substantive evidence before him proved that, in 2014, Knoetze sexually groomed a boy who was 14 and in Grade 9.

The sexually abused pupil said Knoetze started a conversation with him over WhatsApp.

Wilkes found the evidence credible. The conversation became sexual and Knoetze asked the boy if he had a boyfriend, and if he played with his genitals.

Story continues below Advertisement

Wilkes heard there were incidents of oral sex between Knoetze and the child at the school, during and after school hours.

These happened behind the curtains on the stage of the school hall, and in the storeroom behind the athletics pavilion.

They finally had sexual intercourse in Knoetze’s car, which was parked in a field situated some distance away from the boy’s home and the school.

Story continues below Advertisement

The child became depressed as a result of the sexual violations and was put on antidepressant drugs.

Knoetze denied the charges levelled against him.

He accused the pupil of exaggerating his evidence because he had an ulterior motive.

Story continues below Advertisement

He testified while he only had an innocent, supportive texting teacher-pupil relationship with the boy, the teen became angry after he rejected his romantic advances.

Wilkes shot down this submission, saying it was highly unlikely the pupil would set out to harm a teacher who was supportive to him.

“On the basis of the evaluation of evidence as outlined, I find that the (department) has established that there had been a sexual assault of a pupil during 2014, by the applicant,” said Wilkes.

He said the expert evidence by Johanna Labuschagne indicated Knoetze “had indulged in a process of grooming” the teenager.

“In response to a question by the arbitrator and therefore on his own evidence, the applicant had taken the cellphone numbers of more than one boy, who he stated had personal issues – including some involving sexuality – in circumstances where he was not performing the role of psychologist or counsellor officially.

“According to expert opinion, this type of conduct of finding and befriending vulnerable boys, and then engaging in a protracted dialogue, may amount to what has been explained to me as grooming until the relationship becomes overtly sexual,” Wilke said.

Knoetze was, however, cleared on a charge of leaking a Grade 8 Technology exam paper to another boy. Wilke said he was not persuaded the department proved Knoetze leaked the paper.

The Star

Related Topics:

schools

Share