'He's totally broken'- School sexual assault victims struggle to move on

27 October 2019 - 00:00 By PREGA GOVENDER
Collan Rex was jailed for 23 years after pleading guilty to sexual assault charges.
Collan Rex was jailed for 23 years after pleading guilty to sexual assault charges.
Image: Masi Losi

A former pupil of Parktown Boys' High School in Johannesburg, who was one of convicted serial sex offender Collan Rex's victims, is planning to make a living hanging off oil rigs with a rope.

The 19-year-old, who scraped a pass in matric last year, wrote the exams while he was a patient at a private psychiatric facility in North West.

"Due to the fact that he didn't get very strong matric marks and his options are limited, he's decided to try out rope access [also known as industrial climbing] as a career," the teen's father told the Sunday Times this week.

His son's academic performance took a dive after he was sexually assaulted by Rex dozens of times at the school in 2015 and 2016.

At the beginning of his trial, the sexual predator admitted to 144 counts of sexual assault, which included 56 charges of sexual assault against the youngster, who was one of 17 victims.

Rex, a former assistant water polo coach, was jailed for 23 years after being convicted of 144 sexual assaults and 12 common assaults.

Three other pupils who were Rex's victims, and who are writing matric at the school this year, are battling to study for the exams, their parents say.

Commenting on their son's exam preparation, one of the parents said: "My son has given up; he doesn't care anymore. He can't concentrate from what I can gather. He's very anxious, nervous, jumpy. He's battling. I am not expecting the best."

The parent said that when the allegations against Rex first surfaced, their son said: "Don't ask me anything because you won't like the answer."

"Now and again he says something which he hasn't mentioned before. Other than that, he hasn't spoken about the abuse in detail. He's showing an interest in cooking so he's thinking of becoming a chef, but I am thinking of sending him overseas for a while just to get away and decide exactly what he wants to do."

Another parent said her son was "totally broken" and "doesn't want to live anymore".

Michelle Hobkirk, spokesperson for the NGO Mothers Abuse Accountability, has asked Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to release the report submitted to him by attorneys he commissioned to investigate goings-on at the elite school.

"We will not rest until the investigation by the [Gauteng education department] is completed so that this never happens again."

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