A former Parktown Boys learner has testified about how former water polo coach Collan Rex assaulted him and other boys several times, but they were reluctant to report it because of the school’s code of silence.
At the High Court sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, a 17-year-old boy, who left the school following the assault, told the court that he had seen Rex licking, choking, and biting other boys.
“He was always doing something aggressive to somebody … he was trying to be dominant to us,” the boy said.
He described an incident when Rex assaulted him: “The one night my mom couldn’t pick me up and he invited me to play Xbox and while I was sitting in the bed he said, ‘I didn’t f***k you hard enough on tour.'”
He said Rex then “dry humped” him while holding his legs up in the air.
“He would do a pelvic thrust against my bum and would stop when I fought back.
“While we were doing shooting practice, as I was fetching the ball he lifted his foot up towards my bum and smiled at me.”
The boy said despite being aware that what Rex was doing was inappropriate, he did not report him because they were told to stop “snitching”.
Defence lawyer William Robertse said the boy didn’t report it because it didn’t happen.
“At Parktown we were always told to keep quiet if things happened. In Grade 8 camp we were told about a code of silence or you going to be the snitch of the grade.”
The boy added that he didn’t tell his mother because previously she brought up a matter with the head of the hostel and he was beaten up by other learners. He said that the code of silence was enforced by both the students and teachers.
Earlier, state prosecutor Arveena Persad called a 16-year-old Grade 11 boy who began schooling at Parktown Boys in 2015 to testify.
The boy said he knew Rex because he was a hostel master at the school at some stage.
“Mr Rex used to choke me for asking permission for working with my friends. He said if I was able to make him tap out he would allow me to work with my friends.”
The boy said he would get involved in a wrestling match with Rex and he’d have to tap out before he passed out.
Robertse put it to the 16-year-old that Rex was not trying to kill him.
“I think he was because he was smiling.”
The next witness was another 16-year-old boy from Parktown Boys who joined the school in 2016.
Persad said that Rex admitted to assaulting the boy only once.
“No he did it twice, on one day he was trying to demonstrate a move and he slipped off my costume and grabbed my genitals.”
He said on another occasion Rex asked if they could play a game and then grabbed his genitals. At the time, the boy was 14.
Robertse asked the boy whether he could identify right from wrong.
“Yes, it was inappropriate for him to touch my genitals.”
The boy said he reported both matters after Rex touched him while they were on the field, a month after the first incident.
“Why did you report him after a month or two?” Robertse asked.
“Because I thought it was a mistake but I realised that it wasn’t,” the boy responded.
The boy said the teachers he reported the matter to had said they would sort it out long after other boys reported that they too had been assaulted by Rex.
The trial continues.