‘I’m a big boy’ – Valhalla Primary knew about abuse allegations

The school has apparently confronted the teacher before regarding the allegations of sexual assault.

The teacher from Valhalla Primary school in Centurion who stands accused of sexually assaulting over 20 learners appeared for a bail hearing at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

He faces 24 counts of sexual assault, common assault, and crimen injuria. His alleged victims are aged between 10 and 14 years old.

The teacher stood in the dock wearing a denim shirt and holding a spectacles case in his hands. He has appointed a new attorney, the court learnt.

The investigating officer told the court that the teacher could have more victims and that those investigations were ongoing.

The #NotinMyNameSA (#NIMNSA) organisation has submitted an affidavit requesting that bail for the teacher be denied.

These sentiments were echoed by the investigating officer, who said the accused’s safety was at risk. “The community is angered by what happened to the kids.”

The investigating officer further said the teacher was previously reprimanded by the school’s deputy principal in July last year for his alleged sexual assault. “But it seems he continued. I don’t think he will stop.”

The teacher’s lawyer claimed in court he had SMS evidence from the accused’s wife that the investigating officer requested a R10,000 bribe to make the case disappear. But the officer earlier testified that there was someone impersonating him.

According to the officer, someone came to the teacher’s home in Pretoria North, claiming to be a policeman who was there to confirm the address. “That’s not me. I only went to his address in Soshanguve,” the officer said.

Regarding the alleged bribe, the investigating officer offered to give up both his cell phones to check if he indeed sent an SMS requesting R10,000.

After the court adjourned for lunch, it learned that the sexual assault allegations were only reported to police in January, despite school children having made complaints to teachers before this.

READ MORE: Sexual assault case against Centurion primary school teacher postponed

According to the state, the teacher was reprimanded by the school last year, allegedly telling them: “I will be careful. I’m a big boy.”

The state said, however, that the assaults continued.

The teacher’s defence lawyer argued that he should be granted bail, saying there was no reason for his client to remain in jail until the trial. He stressed that the law presumed all were innocent until proven guilty, arguing that his client should be granted bail with relevant conditions.

The state, however, opposed bail.

They argued that evidence was presented by the investigating officer and that, while the accused presented an affidavit, he didn’t offer any evidence to contradict that of the investigating officer.

They further argued the court should not close its ears to the public outcry and must take into account that there were 24 counts of sexual assault reported so far and more coming in.

“Will the children at large be safe? Will his 8-year-old grandchild be safe? Will it stop ’cause he’s on bail?” the prosecutor asked.

They added that it was untrue that the teacher did not know the victims, as he had claimed.

“Even though he has a fixed address, he doesn’t state owning property,” the state further argued.

The defence, in response, argued that the teacher would not evade bail since he handed himself to the police. He has a fixed address of his mother’s home and a Soshanguve house owned by his wife, the defence said, adding that the teacher had been suspended by the school.

The teacher in the dock took a big sigh, standing with his head bowed, with a small booklet in his hands which appeared to be a small Bible.

Judgment on whether or not the accused will be granted bail will be heard tomorrow. He will remain in custody until then.

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