Top lawyers in sex scandal teacher investigation
The history teacher and water polo coach at the centre of the sex scandal rocking Bishops Diocesan College was the victim of a sexual misconduct incident at the elite school in 2017, according to a Weekend Argus report.
This emerged as the teacher, Fiona Viotti (32), was admitted to a top Cape Town psychiatric clinic while Bishops began its official inquiry into sexual misconduct allegations made against her.
The inquiry is being led by attorney Graeme Dorrington and Advocate Francois van Zyl, best known by the public for his successful defence of honeymoon murder accused Shrien Dewani.
Last week, Bishops was rocked by the revelation that Viotti had immediately resigned after her alleged sexual relationship with a matric pupil was exposed. That was followed by three more boys admitting to alleged sexual relationships with Viotti. The boys are between 17 and 18 years old and the first incident dates back to 2015.
Weekend Argus says it has now been revealed by several reliable sources that Viotti also reported to headmaster Guy Pearson a sexual proposition e-mailed to her by two Grade 11 boys. The boys used Viotti’s Facebook photos to compile the proposition and then hacked into the Bishops internal mailing system to mail it to her, using the identity of another pupil. ‘The boys behind the sexual proposition and the identity theft were exposed and suspended for a whole term,’ according to the newspaper’s source.
The teacher, meanwhile, is seeking to control the damage caused by the uploading of explicit pictures and videos on pornography websites.
Lawyer Emma Sadleir, who specialises in social media and Internet law, reportedly told the Sunday Times she had been hired by people close to Viotti to trace the person who uploaded the material and have it removed.
Viotti’s lawyer, William Booth, told The Times in London that his client was ‘emotionally traumatised’, but said reports that more than 40 boys had come forward were ‘wild exaggeration’ and insisted his client had committed no crime.
‘I don’t believe any student, whether it was one or more, was under the age of 16 at the time of their involvement,’ Booth said.
He declined to comment on ‘the merits of the matter’, adding: ‘The school must complete its investigation … During this time, it is imperative that (Viotti’s) privacy and dignity is respected.’
Bishops head Guy Pearson said the school acted as soon as it heard of the allegations against Viotti last Thursday, and she left within a day.
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