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#ParktownBoys: Collan Rex was jailed for 23 years for sexually assaulting students

Collan Rex, a former assistant to the water polo coach at the prestigious Parktown Boys High School, was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Image: Itumeleng English / African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg – The High Court sat in the Palm Ridge Court on Thursday, sentencing former Parktown Boys high polo air assistant coach Collan Rex to 23 years in direct prison.

The court sentenced Rex to 20 years in prison for 144 sexual attacks and an additional 3 years for 12 general attacks which he was convicted in September.

Over the past two days, the court heard statements of the impact of victims from a number of students and reports from Xolisa Budaza, a social worker in the Department of Social Development. The court also heard how Rex, himself a former student at the Parktown Boys, was exposed to a culture of physical and sexual violence at the school while still living in a dormitory.

"He was exposed to a normalized culture and encouraged inappropriate sexual behavior by fellow students and adults such as his coach in school," said the report.

The dirty actions of the former coach include grabbing, squeezing and rubbing his penis against the people of the students in obscene acts known as dry bumps.

The court acquitted him of more than 140 other charges – including charges of attempted murder, rape, sexual care and exposing children to pornography – due to lack of evidence.

A former Parktown Boys student told the court in testimony of how Rex attacked him and other children several times. The court heard they were reluctant to report it because of the school's silent code.

He described an incident when Rex attacked him: "One night my mother couldn't pick me up and invited me to play Xbox and when I was sitting on the bed she said," I'm not hard enough on you on the way. "

Last week, the head of the Parktown boys school Malcolm Williams said they hoped the problem would be resolved soon.

"This is important because our focus is on the well-being of the affected boys, and their families, and how the prolonged nature of this case has made it difficult for them. We must remember that the first delay creates additional difficulties for boys. Their November without this process has been completed, not in any way ideal, "Williams said.

He said that the final step in this process would be to bring closure at the most difficult time for all involved – especially for those directly involved in court cases.

"We value the courage and integrity of advanced boys to report incidents of abuse, initiation and racism in the past," Williams said.

Africa News Agency and IOL

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