SA coach arrested for rape in Europe
SA coach held for rape
May 22 2012 at 09:32am
By Kamcilla Pillay
A suspected paedophile sports coach who was granted bail by a Durban magistrate earlier this month has been arrested at his home in Europe for alleged sexual abuse relating to a Durban athlete.
The man, coaching a team there for the upcoming London Olympics, was arrested on Friday.
This happened almost a month after he was arrested by the SAPS family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit at King Shaka International Airport on allegations of sex crimes two years ago involving a Durban girl, now 14 years old.
The teen, currently in Europe for a sports event, had claimed she was also previously sexually assaulted by the coach in Europe.
Her father, who cannot be named to protect her identity, had notified authorities in Europe, said Marc Hardwick, a private investigator who deals with crimes against children.
Hardwick said he had interviewed the teen last Monday, at the request of her family, and she revealed that the coach had also assaulted her in the country where he was now living.
A spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office in the country in which the suspect was arrested, said on Monday it was for the alleged sexual abuse of a South African girl, and he remained in custody.
“Bail is possible, but unlikely.”
The warrant of arrest had been issued on Friday and the arrest was effected the same day, the prosecution spokesman said. The accused had appeared before the magistrate who issued the warrant.
“The warrant of arrest is based on the (alleged) victim’s testimony and in case of a conviction, (the accused) is facing a minimum penalty of two years and a maximum penalty of 15 years,” he said.
If additional charges were brought against him, he would appear in court again.
The coach is also set to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court again in August, to face allegations of rape of a child, sexual assault of a child, grooming a child for the purposes of sexual assault, as well as possessing and distributing child pornography.
“I know about the circumstances in South Africa, but right about now, I cannot predict what will happen until August,” said the European prosecution official.
“At this very moment, (the accused) is facing one charge, but I would like to emphasise that he is innocent until proven guilty. There will be more details after the preliminary proceedings are concluded.”
John Lister, the attorney and spokesman for the family of the girl, said that they had been notified of Friday’s developments.
“We were told that he would be facing rape charges (relating to a minor),” Lister said.
He said the coach, while South African, was a permanent resident in the European country and would be charged where he had allegedly perpetrated the crimes.
Her father said that he had learned that authorities there had “extensive evidence” of the coach’s alleged crimes, but would not go into details so as not to jeopardise the investigation.
The coach would now be preparing for his trial by assembling a defence team there.
When the Daily News sought confirmation from the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, it emerged that officials in Pretoria had by Monday not yet been told of the arrest.
“Usually we are notified of any incident involving a South African national. We expect to hear from them soon,” said department spokesman Clayson Monyela.
The coach was arrested in Durban on April 24 after being persuaded to return to the country by the father of the alleged victim, who had been in contact with the man’s wife.
The suspect had been under the impression that his trip to Durban was merely to apologise to the girl and her family and to sign a non-disclosure agreement before he could fly back to Europe.
But he was arrested soon after landing and appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court.
He has not pleaded to the local charges, and therefore cannot be named.
The coach had applied for bail. The State unsuccessfully opposed it.
The prosecutor, Priscilla Paterson, had argued that, if granted bail, the alleged victim would come face-to-face with him at the sports tournament in Europe.
Magistrate Trevor Levitt allowed bail of R80 000, criticising the police and the State for condoning the manner in which the coach had been lured and nabbed.
Levitt said the suspect had been deceived.
After the ruling, the coach flew back to his family, leaving the Durban father vowing to fight on:
“He will face his day in court. This is not finished,” he had said after the coach’s passport was returned to him in court after being granted bail.
“I will continue to fight for my daughter.”
He said on Monday his daughter had left for a tournament in Europe on Saturday morning.
“If I had the opportunity to speak to (the coach) again, I’d ask him why he broke our trust; he was supposed to take care of our child. He was supposed to develop her, but he broke her down,” he said.
While pleased that the man had been arrested, he said that ultimately the whole situation was “an extremely sad thing”.
“I wouldn’t use the word happiness – I’m pleased he’s not walking free”.