A GRADE 11 Victoria Park High School pupil who is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl in the school bathrooms last week was released on bail yesterday.
The Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court failed to make an order on whether or not to allow the 18-year-old alleged perpetrator back on school grounds, but headmaster Michael Vermaak said he would meet with the school's governing body and regional representatives from the Basic Education Department to discuss a way forward.
Until then, the teenager would not attend class, Vermaak said.
The pupil was arrested on Monday after a girl in Grade 8 reported the alleged rape to a teacher.
The girl told police she had previously been romantically involved with the teen, but said they had terminated the relationship months ago.
It is the state's case that the teenager approached the girl and her friend outside the boys' bathroom during the morning break last Friday.
He then asked the friend – who is cited as the first state witness – to leave them alone to talk.
When they were alone, he allegedly forced her into the boys' bathroom and raped her.
The girl reported the alleged incident to a teacher later that day.
Her parents laid a complaint with the police on Monday, and the teen was arrested that night.
Although he had allegedly admitted to having sexual intercourse with the young girl last Friday, according to detectives on the case, he said it had been consensual.
He denied raping the girl. However, he could still be charged with statutory rape as the girl is younger than 16 and legally cannot consent to sex.
The lanky, dark-haired teenager sat quietly in the dock yesterday afternoon waiting for his case to be called. His family filled the courtroom gallery.
Defence attorney CJ Oelofse read out the teenager's statement in support of his formal bail application.
The teen said he intended to plead not guilty to the charge of rape, but declined to disclose his defence at this stage.
Although The Herald may legally name the teenager, his name has been withheld to protect the identity of the girl, as she was previously in a relationship with him.
Through Oelofse, the teenager said if he was released on bail he would not interfere with the state's witnesses, despite attending the same school as the girl and her friend.
Oelofse said the teenager had been in custody since Monday and his exceptional circumstances should allow him to be released on bail.
The court granted the teenager R1000 bail. He was also ordered not to interfere with the case and not to pass remarks to the two girls once back at school. His case was postponed to October 30 for further investigation.
Vermaak said security would be increased at school during break times.