GEORGE NEWS - Nearly two years after his arrest in 2017, former Glenwood House teacher, Hendrik Fourie (47), was sentenced in the Thembalethu Regional Court on Friday 12 July.
Fourie, who pleaded guilty to charges of sexual grooming of a minor, was arrested by the George Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) at his home in George in August 2017.
This followed after the victim, then 16, reported the incident to his parents. He was 13 when the incident occurred. Fourie was subsequently suspended from his duties at Glenwood House.
Magistrate Eugenia Jacobs sentenced Fourie to one year correctional supervision and three years direct imprisonment wholly suspended for five years. He is not allowed to work with or in the vicinity of children and his name will be added to the National Register of Sexual Offenders (NRSO).
"We understand that the justice system has its limits, and in this case the sentence imposed was what the law allowed," the victim's father told the George Herald shortly after court proceedings. "I do however feel that the law must be changed to impose far harsher sentences and the names of sexual offenders that appear in the NRSO should be accessible to anyone at any time. He damaged our family's trust in mankind."
Working at schools in Cape Town
In 2018 Fourie moved to Cape Town where he taught at Morgenson Primary in Athlone. According to the principal, Envor Petersen, the school was desperate for teachers and Fourie was willing and available. They were not aware of the pending case against Fourie at that stage.
"We never had any cause for concern. He was an excellent teacher and a pleasant man. We never had any incidents during his time here," Petersen said.
In January this year Fourie started teaching at Tableview Primary. According to the school's principal, Gollie Gouws, they were not at any time aware of the allegations against Fourie. "We did not know of the allegations or pending matter against him. His qualifications and South African Council of Educators (Sace) certificate were valid during the period of employment. If we had known, we would've never considered him for any position at our school. Fourie resigned with immediate effect on Saturday," Gouws told the George Herald.
Gouws also said they usually only enquire from a potential teacher's previous employer when considering him/her for a position at the school and that the previous school was also unaware of anything.
"Fourie started with us in January this year. His reference from the previous school was very positive. As a school we were deeply disappointed and shocked. Fourie was a good teacher and did his best for the school at all times," Gouws said.
Comment from Western Cape Education Department
According to WCED's director of communications, Bronagh Hammond, Fourie was employed by them at Morgenson Primary School on contract in 2018. "He is not currently in the service of the WCED and no records exist with regard to sexual misconduct charges on the system whilst in the service of the department. He was employed as a school governing body (SGB) appointee at Tableview Primary and not by the WCED," she said.
At the time of going to print, George Herald was awaiting comment from Sace.
Read previous articles:
- Sexual grooming teacher back in court in June
- Sexual grooming: Teacher's case postponed
- Sexual grooming accused in court on 1 April
- Teacher to plead in December
- Former teacher to plead in December
- Teacher to plead in July
- Update: Teacher accused of sexual grooming
- Local teacher under house arrest
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