Private school suspends deputy headmaster over allegations of sexual assault at his previous school
A private school in Johannesburg has suspended a deputy headmaster after being tipped off by St John’s College about allegations of sexual assault that one of its former pupils had lodged against him.
The deputy principal’s attorney Kevin Schaafsma confirmed to TimesLIVE that his client was informed by his current school not to report for duty on Monday “because something had come up”.
He was then informed in writing that he was being placed on suspension on full pay because of the allegations against him that had been submitted by St John’s College.
“They placed him on suspension, which is the right thing to do, and my client fully understands and supports that.”
Schaafsma said his client, who has been an educator for more than 20 years, was “quite shattered”.
“Thousands of children have gone through his care and he has no idea what this relates to. St John’s has never contacted him to get comment from him,” he said.
St John’s College executive headmaster Stuart West confirmed in a letter to parents on Monday that an independent investigation had revealed allegations of sexual assault by one if its former teachers against a past pupil.
He said the teacher taught in the preparatory school for eight years before resigning in 2014 to take up a post at another school.
The school became aware of the allegations on October 13 after one of the victims, a former pupil who is now an adult, disclosed the alleged sexual assault to his parents.
“The school immediately initiated an independent investigation which was conducted by a child protection expert and resulted in other past students coming forward to report alleged sexual assaults by this particular teacher during their time at the prep.”
West said the allegations were reported to the police family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit on Monday.
“St John’s has reported the teacher to the SA Council for Educators and the Anglican Safe Church Unit through theBishop of Johannesburg. The former teacher’s current employer has also been notified.”
He said they will do everything humanly possible “to help rid our schools of the scourge of sexual predators”.
The council of St John’s is in the process of establishing an independent review of, among other things, safeguarding measures in place at the prep at that time.
“It is anticipated this will commence early next year,” West said.
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