Parktown Boys moms: We will rise up and fight this abomination
Mothers vow to end 'paedophilic grooming culture' they says exists at elite school
In an emotional open letter to all mothers in South Africa. the moms whose sons were abused by Parktown Boys High School’s sex pest teacher Collan Rex say they have lost all hope in traditional boys-only schools.
The group handed out copies of the letter to journalists covering sentencing proceedings in the High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
In the letter, the mothers said they had enrolled their children at boys-only schools with the hope that they would be groomed into becoming well-rounded gentlemen.
“But instead, what is becoming increasingly clear through the investigation in Parktown Boys and reported similar incidents in other boys schools [is] that something other than this is taking place. In fact, what is actually happening is nothing short of an abomination,” their letter read.
Rex, who was an assistant water polo coach and a boarding master at the prestigious school, was found guilty of 144 counts of sexual assault against 12 of the 23 boys who are complainants in the scandal.
During the trial, the boys gave shocking details of how he exposed them to pornographic material and performed sexual acts on them.
Rex pleaded guilty to the counts he was found guilty of, but he maintained his innocence with regards to 183 other counts‚ which included one of rape‚ 110 of attempted murder‚ 55 of sexual assault‚ seven of exposure of pornography to a child‚ two of sexual grooming and eight of assault.
Last month, TimesLIVE reported severe assaults had been taking place at the school, mostly at its hostel, for at least a decade.
This was among the damning findings of a report into goings-on at the elite school.
Many of the incidents reported were of a sexual nature.
Among the incidents‚ according to Peter Harris of Harris Nupen Molebatsi Attorneys‚ who released the findings of the report to parents, were sexually predatory behaviour targeting juniors at the school‚ assaults in the name of “initiation” and shocking utterances made by teachers in the presence of pupils.
“The culture of initiation still exists, and more needs to be done to ensure that it is completely eradicated‚” Harris said.
Initiation was found to have been happening at the school since 2009.
Harris said the hostel in particular needed attention. “We recommend a comprehensive review of the way in which the hostel is governed.”
The investigation also found there was a “culture of silence” at the school – a situation that discourages pupils from reporting various incidents. The report also found duress was put on pupils to behave in a particular way‚ which was now the subject of a criminal investigation. Specifics were not provided.
In their open letter, the mothers of the boys said: “What has been uncovered is that the boys are coded into silence from day one, broken into submission, groomed by a paedophilic grooming culture which also disrupts their normal sexual development. They are further forced into becoming predators who brutally imprint this culture on the new intakes of Grade 8.”
The mothers of Rex’s victims called for Education Angie Motshekga and “the real men of this nation” to intervene.
“If you fail us, we’re their mothers, will rise up and bring it to an end,” they said.
“Only if we as a collective say enough, not another boy, will we succeed in ending these abusive practices,” they added.
Rex’s sordid acts were exposed after he was caught on surveillance camera fondling a 15-year-old at the school’s hostel in November 2016. He quit before the school could institute disciplinary proceedings against him, but was arrested soon afterwards.
He was released on R3,000 bail, and is awaiting sentencing.