Ex-teacher to face sex­ual abuse charges

The Rep - - NEWS -

Rev­e­la­tions in a na­tional news­pa­per that a for­mer lo­cal head­mas­ter, Richard Sec­ond, has ad­mit­ted to the sex­ual abuse of two boys at Dale Col­lege Boys’ Pri­mary in King Wil­liam’s Town 32 years ago, have sent shock waves through the Ko­mani com­mu­nity.

Sec­ond, 61, re­tired from Queen’s Col­lege Boys’ Pri­mary School ear­lier this year. The Daily Dis­patch re­ported (“Re­tired head­mas­ter ad­mits to abus­ing boys 32 years ago” No­vem­ber 5) that Sec­ond had in­di­cated in an e-mail to his ac­cuser, now an ar­chi­tect who had been a 12-year-old boarder at Dale at the time, that, “What I did was sickening and your anger and sad­ness is well di­rected”.

Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing charges of in­de­cent as­sault and sodomy against Sec­ond, an art teacher at Dale in the 80s.

Sec­ond also in­di­cates in the e-mail that, “I ac­knowl­edge my crime. I must face the con­se­quences of my ac­tions and will be pre­pared to do that.”

Sec­ond told the Sun­day Times that he had not raped the boy, but ad­mit­ted to fondling him and an­other boy at the school.

He could be among the first in SA to be pros­e­cuted for a sex­ual as­sault that hap­pened sev­eral decades ago, fol­low­ing a rul­ing by the Con­sti­tu­tional Court in June that sex­ual of­fences would no longer be­come un­en­force­able af­ter 20 years.

In a state­ment this week, the Queen’s Col­lege Boys’ Pri­mary school gov­ern­ing body chair­man Bren­dan Raasch said the school had taken im­me­di­ate ac­tion to in­sti­tute a height­ened aware­ness cam­paign re­gard­ing abuse in the school en­vi­ron­ment.

It was the school’s in­ten­tion to as­sist its pupils, staff and par­ents “to di­gest the shock­ing state­ments made by our for­mer head­mas­ter pub­lished in the Sun­day Times”.

Al­though the school had not been ac­cused of any wrong­do­ing, its board and man­age­ment were work­ing to en­sure that ev­ery pupil, past and present, staff and par­ents had ad­e­quate re­sources and were equipped to re­spond in any po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion.

The As­tro plaque bear­ing Sec­ond’s name and his por­trait in the school had been re­moved, with the Child Wit­ness In­sti­tute con­sulted. Staff were un­der­go­ing train­ing on how to give ageap­pro­pri­ate an­swers to pupils ask­ing sub­jec­tre­lated ques­tions, while a coun­selling psy­chol­o­gist was as­sist­ing staff bat­tling feel­ings of be­trayal. Staff at­tended a pre­sen­ta­tion by the so­cial devel­op­ment depart­ment this week on signs and symp­toms of sex­ual of­fences and child abuse, while par­ents would be in­vited to a de­part­men­tal work­shop on the so­cio-emo­tional and/or phys­i­cal changes of chil­dren af­fected by abuse.

Pupils would be ad­dressed in age-ap­pro­pri­ate classes and with par­ents’ con­sent, about is­sues around sex­ual mis­con­duct and abuse, while in­for­ma­tion boards with con­tact de­tails of “safe go-to peo­ple” were to be dis­played as a re­source for pupils.

So­cial me­dia ac­counts were also up­dated.

“The SGB and school man­age­ment give their as­sur­ance that they will con­tinue this aware­ness cam­paign through life ori­en­ta­tion classes, cam­era sur­veil­lance and the con­sis­tent ap­pli­ca­tion of the SGB pol­icy on pupil-ed­u­ca­tor pro­tec­tion.”

Queries may be di­rected to head­mas­ter Lester Pike on (045)

838-4400; Con­sta­ble Bokolo of the SAPS Fam­ily Vi­o­lence, Child Pro­tec­tion and Sex­ual Of­fences Unit on 045-807

7811 or 079-896 9645; Colonel Nani on 079- 509

0756.

More num­bers are on the school’s web­site.

RICHARD SEC­OND

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