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Friday, July 1, 2022

School coach a suspected paedophile

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File photo: Reuters

An alleged paedophile – a well-known school sport coach – who allegedly groomed and raped a young girl, has been arrested after being persuaded to return to South Africa by his victim’s father.

And on Friday the 42-year-old suspect, who believed he would be returning to Europe where he was working as a coach within a few hours after landing, was expected to appear in a Durban Magistrate’s Court, where the State will oppose bail.

The suspect cannot be identified until he has pleaded to the charges. His sporting code has been withheld to protect his identity.

He will face charges of possessing and distributing child pornography, grooming a child for the purposes of sexual assault, the sexual assault of a child and the rape of a child.

The 14-year-old victim, who was 12 at the time of the alleged crimes, will not be in court as she was “extremely afraid” of him, her father said on Thursday night.

“This is one of the reasons why we want to oppose bail.

“There is a very serious emotional risk,” her father said.

He said he had convinced the suspect, via the man’s wife, to return to South Africa to “face our family to explain why he did what he did”.

But after hearing the man out, the father did not think what he had to say was heartfelt.

“He had a two-hour turnaround time and thought he was going to get back on the plane and leave.”

But, after the father identified the sport coach, he was arrested at King Shaka International Airport by the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit and has been in custody since April 24.

The suspect is an ex-employee of a school in Durban and was trusted by schools and parents under his sports programme.

He was a family friend of the young girl and socialised with her family.

“He abused our trust… we suspected absolutely nothing,” the girl’s father said.

After becoming concerned for his daughter earlier this year, her father called in Marc Hardwick, a private specialist child abuse investigator, whose work, together with that of the police, resulted in the arrest.

The teenager has been receiving professional counselling for eight weeks and was now recovering, her father said.

The whole family was devastated and “it will be a great day for the family’s recovery to see someone prosecuted”.

Asked how he felt about the suspect, he said that unlike some of his friends, who wanted to rip his throat out, he was not a violent person, but believed that anyone who abused a child should face the law. – Daily News

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School coach a suspected paedophile

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