Teacher ac­cused of sex­ual as­sault

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - SANDI KWON HOO CHIEF REPORTER

A TEACHER at AJ Fer­reira Se­condary School in Uping­ton has been sus­pended fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions that he was sex­u­ally ha­rass­ing two young girls at the school.

Ac­cord­ing to par­ents at the school and mem­bers of the school gov­ern­ing body (SGB), the teacher took the girls, who are in Grade 10 and 11, to an iso­lated class­room where he al­legedly fon­dled their breasts and acted inap­pro­pri­ately with them over a pe­riod of about three months.

The teacher also al­legedly sent lewd mes­sages and photos to the pupils’ cell­phones.

SGB mem­bers stated that the teacher had ap­par­ently warned the girls not to tell any­one about the al­leged in­ci­dents.

“He asked them if they missed him and ad­vised them that no one would be­lieve their lies.”

Ap­peared

They added that the teacher, George Hen­driks, had ap­peared in the Uping­ton Mag­is­trate’s Court and was sus­pended by the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion fol­low­ing a meet­ing that was con­vened by the SGB .

“Con­cerns were raised as to why no ac­tion was taken and why it was al­lowed to carry on for so long.”

A par­ent said that the girls had been act­ing strangely and were too afraid to re­port the teacher.

“We no­ticed they weren’t them­selves and their par­ents picked up that some­thing was hor­ri­bly wrong. Now the pupils are be­ing vic­timised by a friend of the teacher.”

Po­lice spokesper­son, Lieu­tenant-Colonel Di­makatso Mooi, con­firmed that a case of sex­ual as­sault and as­sault GBH was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

“A 15-year-old pupil al­leged that a 39-year-old teacher sex­u­ally as­saulted her.

“The sus­pect ap­peared be­fore the Uping­ton Mag­is­trate’s Court on Septem­ber 8.

“He was re­leased on bail of R500 and the case is re­manded to Oc­to­ber 9. Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions con­tinue,” said Mooi.

The spokesper­son for the North­ern Cape De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, Ge­of­frey van der Merwe, stated that the teacher was placed on pre­lim­i­nary pre­cau­tion­ary sus­pen­sion.

“This will give him an op­por­tu­nity to re­spond to the al­le­ga­tions against him and to in­di­cate why he should not be placed on pre­cau­tion­ary sus­pen­sion.

“Be­ing placed on pre­cau­tion­ary sus­pen­sion will also en­sure that the al­leged per­pe­tra­tor does not at­tempt to in­flu­ence the com­plainants and wit­nesses,” said Van der Merwe.

He added that the charges were con­sid­ered to be se­ri­ous.

“The de­part­ment is cur­rently in­ves­ti­gat­ing the al­le­ga­tions made by the pupils and their par­ents.”

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