Ex-teacher on trial for sexual assault

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Former Grade 7 primary school teacher Neil Pieter le Roux yesterday pleaded not guilty to five counts including rape, sexual assault and sexual grooming of children at the beginning of his trial in the East London Regional Court.

IN THE DOCK: Neil Pieter le Roux in the East London Regional Court yesterday, when his rape trial began Picture: ZWANGA MUKHUTHU

The 67-year-old retired teacher is accused of raping and sexually assaulting a 32-year-old student teacher he mentored at a top East London school. The third count of sexual assault relates to a separate incident involving another student teacher, aged 29, at the school.

The fourth and fifth counts of sexual grooming and sexual assault involved a 15-year-old schoolgirl. She would have been 12 at the time of the alleged offence.

According to court documents the alleged crimes took place in the school and outside the school between 2014 and 2016.

The name of the school is being withheld to protect the identity of the victims.

The state called the 32-year-old student teacher to the witness stand yesterday.

She is not being named as she is an alleged victim of sexual offence.

She told regional magistrate Ignatius Kitching of sexual advances made to her by Le Roux, which she said she avoided until one evening in June 2015 when Le Roux had invited her in his classroom and offered her champagne while he played music on his computer.

She further explained that he had danced near her, grabbed her and inserted his finger inside her vagina and quipped: “I would not hurt you. I am not going to have sex with you.”

Le Roux’s legal representative advocate Neil Schoeman put it to the woman that when that occurred she did not react. “You allowed that to happen and did not stop him.”

“I was in shock and I experienced a brain freeze,” the woman said.

“Physically you could have stopped him but you did not,” Schoeman shot back. “Yes, but I was paralysed. He also kissed me in the mouth and I pulled away,” the woman responded.

The woman said she did not tell anyone of the experience but had decided to spend less time around him at the school.

She said on the second occasion Le Roux had invited her to his class after hours to discuss work and he had touched her again.

“I told him I am not comfortable,” she said.

“But you never turned away or crossed your legs. In fact he says you had your head on the cushions lying on the floor,” Schoeman said.

“That is a lie,” the woman said.

“He says it was consensual. In fact he says there was another incident where your trousers and his trousers were down but the chair in the classroom fell making a noise and causing the security guard to come check on things,” said Schoeman.

The witness responded: “That is a lie.”

She said she did not report these incidents as she had to face him every day for the next six months of her learnership at the school.

The trial continues today. — zwangam@dispatch.co.za

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