Teacher’s sex acts with 5 students probed
A water polo coach and Sports Illustrated model who slept with "at least" five students at a prestigious boys' college has been referred to police.
An investigation found married teacher and former model Fiona Viotti slept with her students and sent them explicit photos and videos, which were circulated on social media and even made their way to PornHub.
The 30-year-old resigned from the $15,000-a-year (R150,000) Bishops Diocesan School in Cape Town in October amid allegations of an inappropriate relationship with an 18-year-old student.
Ms Viotti, the niece of former Springboks coach Nick Mallett, reportedly sent threatening messages to the student via WhatsApp when he tried to break off the relationship.
She resigned with "immediate effect" after the news became public, and the school brought in lawyers to conduct an investigation into the alleged "serious misconduct".
The school later announced that several more pupils may have been involved with the former teen water polo star, who was featured in South African Sports Illustrated in 2009 as one of its "Beauties of Sport".
Earlier this month Bishops announced it had completed its investigation, and Ms Viotti could not be disciplined because she had resigned.
But Principal Guy Pearson revealed yesterday evidence from an independent investigation had been sent to the "relevant authorities".
A letter seen by the Weekend Argus did not outline the allegations against Ms Viotti, but the Cape Town-based newspaper said she could face a probe into the alleged grooming.
Her lawyer William Booth said Mr Pearson had not told him before the news broke in the press.
"Sexual grooming is a very difficult act to prove, and you need evidence from the person or people being groomed," he said.
"Police would need to get signed statements from those involved. Their names would then be known in public."
A police spokesman told the Argus a representative from the Western Cape family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit had been in touch with the school, but an investigation had not yet been launched "as no official complaint has been laid with the police".
Independent investigators found Ms Viotti had been sleeping with students for at least six years, making sure boys she targeted were over the age of consent.
The report said the affairs happened before and after she married 32-year-old venture capitalist Pavo Viotti in 2018.
Investigators "were not able to ascertain with certainty to whom she had sent video or photographic images that circulated on social media", and they found no evidence that indicated the school knew anything about the sexual misconduct.
The investigation concluded that Ms Viotti breached the Bishops Code of Professional Conduct for Teaching Staff and the SA Council of Educators' Code of Professional Ethics.
"As a school we are deeply saddened by these events and remain committed to ensuring the mental health and wellbeing of those affected," Mr Pearson said.
Ms Viotti has not yet commented on the findings.
Mr Booth earlier told News24 his client had been placed under "medical care" after the news broke.
Mr Booth said he had also had to deal with getting a video taken down from PornHub, warning that it was a criminal offence to post images without the consent of the person and that his team were investigating who had uploaded the material.