Parktown sex pest victims: ‘I got suicidal and I was always sick’
Victim impact statements reveal the shocking damage wrought by Collan Rex on the boys' lives
Pupils described having to consult psychologists, resorting to drugs, having suicidal thoughts and battling with anger management as they tried to cope after being assaulted by former Parktown Boys’ High School water polo coach Collan Rex.
He was found guilty in September of 144 counts of sexual assault and 14 of assault.
A number of boys from the prominent Johannesburg school, aged between 13 and 16 at the time, testified how Rex, who was also a boarding master at the school, had choked them during 2016. Others testified that he had touched their genitals during that year.
Rex’s sentencing proceedings began on Tuesday and will continue on Wednesday.
The victim impact statements from the victims of his assault were read out by prosecutor Arveena Persad at the South Gauteng High Court sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court.
They showed the extent of the damage wrought by Rex to the young pupils’ lives.
The statements were prepared by social workers who interviewed the boys about what they wanted to say on the sentencing of Rex.
One of the statements read: “I think all of this has impacted on me as my schoolwork has dropped. I look at going home more often than being here at school.”
The boy said there had been a lot of teasing at school following the revelations of assault, and he ended up seeing a psychologist for counselling.
Another boy said he was happy and relieved that the case went well. He said that following the assault he was aggressive and short-tempered, and the school recommended that he see a psychiatrist.
“I got into a lot of fights because of this anger. I did not tell my parents about this as I was embarrassed.”
Another boy said some boys were on Rex’s side and were questioning him on why he wanted to send Rex to jail.
“I felt alone as I did not get support from family and friends. I ended up being with bad company and smoking dagga. I was doing anything to get out of school.
“I developed suicidal thoughts and I was missing exams as I was always sick.”
Another said this had affected his learning as he had to repeat one of the grades and he also had to change schools.
Another boy said he used to get very angry very quickly and thereafter experimented with drugs such as CAT and marijuana.
“I thought of killing myself. I thought it would be better if I am dead.”
Another boy said the attack affected him in a way he could not imagine. He said he had to leave the school without achieving the dream of playing for the school’s rugby first team.
He said although he had gone to two other schools since he left Parktown Boys, some boys were still teasing him about the incident.
Another boy said he was scared of being bullied if they came forward with the allegations.
A probation officer who interviewed Rex and his family, Xoliswa Budaza, told the court that she recommended that Rex be sentenced to a direct jail term.