DODGING THE MEDIA: Collan Rex, the former assistant water polo coach at the prestigious Parktown Boys' High School, leaves court.
Groping learners’ genitals, squeezing them and rubbing his penis against the boys’ private parts in a sordid act known as “dry humping”.

These were among the 144 counts of large-scale sexual assault charges that former Parktown Boys assistant water polo coach  Collins Rex, 22, pleaded guilty to in court on Tuesday.

Harrowing details were laid bare of the lurid and ongoing sexual assault that some of the prestigious school's  learners endured at the hands of a sex pest and their former water polo assistant coach Rex.

He targeted 12 learners aged between 13 and 16 for about two years at the Joburg school during his reign of terror.

These details emerged in the high court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court in Germiston, where the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said it would seek “the harshest possible sentence” as punishment for the self-confessed paedophile.

The prosecutor, advocate Arveena Persad, read out the charge sheet, outlining the horrors committed by Rex, who admitted to sexually assaulting the boys on the school’s premises in 2015 and 2016. Judge Peet Johnson asked Rex whether he understood that his admission was akin to a guilty plea, to which the confessed abuser replied: “Yes.”

Some of the parents of his teen victims expressed great relief that their children would be spared having to relive the trauma, as Rex’s guilty plea meant the victims would not be called to testify on the sexual assault charges.

Some of the boys are still at the school, while others have since left.

In addition to the 144 acts of abuse he has pleaded guilty to, Rex is facing a further 183 charges, including attempted murder, rape, sexual grooming and exposing minors to pornography.

The former Parktown Boys learner pleaded not guilty to those charges. There are 11 more complainants in these remaining charges, bringing the number to 23 schoolboys and a total of 327 criminal counts.

Rex’s shocking acts came to light after sports apparel and other school supplies went missing. This led to the viewing of CCTV footage, which exposed Rex and blew the lid on his predatory two-year reign.

Phindi Mjonondwane, spokesperson for the Gauteng NPA, praised the school’s matron “for her bravery in bringing these crimes to the fore”.

“South Africa needs more people like (the matron) who are committed to serving our children selflessly.

“Despite the trauma and humiliation that she (the matron) endured, she decided to stand with these boys to ensure that justice is served,” Mjonondwane said.

She added that sexual assault admissions had no prescribed minimum sentences, and that it would be at Judge Johnson’s discretion in deciding on the appropriate punishment for Rex.

But Mjonondwane stressed that the State would be seeking the “harshest possible sentence from the court due to the seriousness of the crimes Rex committed”.

Sentencing is expected to begin after the conclusion of the 183 other charges, as Rex’s guilty plea excluded sentencing, Mjonondwane pointed out.

This paedophile scandal has opened a can of worms at the renowned school, which prompted Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to launch an independent inquiry that exposed many incidents of sexual assault and racial misconduct.

“We will intensify our efforts to root out this culture of silence at the school,” he vowed.