Sex-pest teacher faces 25 years at least, says expert
He expects the state to call pupils to testify, and rope in psychiatrist and psychologist reports in aggravation of sentence
Collan Rex, the former assistant water polo coach at Parktown Boys’ High School, faces a 25-year jail term for pleading guilty to 144 counts of sexual assault against 12 pupils this week.
This is the view of Luke Lamprecht, convener of the Johannesburg Child Advocacy Forum, who has testified for the state in more than 100 sexual abuse cases involving children.
Rex, 22, a former boarding master at the Johannesburg school, has not yet pleaded to a further 183 charges including rape, attempted murder, exposure of pornography to a child, sexual grooming and assault.
These crimes were allegedly perpetrated against 11 other pupils.
The trial is taking place in the High Court sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court in Katlehong, east of Johannesburg.
“If the evidence is led by psychiatrists and psychologists on behalf of the state in aggravation of sentence to show the level of trauma associated with what he did, I would think he faces a minimum of 25 years.”Lamprecht said it was “curious” that Rex had pleaded guilty to some [of the counts] and not to the others.
“One wonders how that decision was made.”
What it does mean for the victims is that some will not be put through what is almost certain to be secondary traumatisation. The adversarial criminal justice system is going to try to prove that they were lying and that this person didn’t do something.
“Innocence until proven guilty means the state has to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. That is why this adversarial system doesn’t work so well in children’s cases.”
Lamprecht said that when the trial resumes on Monday, he expected prosecutor Arveena Persad to call the pupil witnesses.
“I think what they would do is lay the foundation of the factual evidence – in other words, the children’s direct evidence – and then substantiate that with psychiatrist and psychological reports and those of other professionals.”
He said the state would want the witnesses to finish so that they could get on with their schooling.
Rex allegedly pulled a 15-year-old pupil’s “genital organs and pubic hair” on 57 occasions, and tried to strangle him about 20 times, between 2015 and 2016.
He is also accused of showing another boy the erotic film Fifty Shades of Grey on his laptop while stroking his face before whipping his legs.
Shocking details of Rex’s lewd acts with the boys, who were between 13 and 16 years old, have been laid bare in a 76-page indictment.
Some of the offences took place in a room at the school where the boys completed their homework under Rex’s supervision.
During one of the homework sessions the accused allegedly made a penis out of playdough and told one of the boys to suck it.
One another occasion, while a pupil was bending over to put his books into his bag, Rex allegedly grabbed him by his genitals and “lifted him in the air” and assaulted him.