Bishops Diocesan College’s independent investigation into former teacher Fiona Viotti has found that she engaged in sexual misconduct with at least five pupils.
The story made waves right around the world, prompting the school to undertake an investigation of its own.
The findings of the investigation, undertaken by Advocate Francois van Zyl and attorney Graeme Dorrington, both appointed by the school, were held back until the end of the matric exams.
Some of those findings were made public today in a statement released by Bishops, reports News24:
[Viotti] will not be disciplined because she resigned, the school said on Monday.
“As the teacher resigned from Bishops with immediate effect on the 11th October 2019, no disciplinary action can be taken against her by the school for these breaches,” said headmaster Guy Pearson in a statement.
The investigation’s main findings were summarised as follows:
During the period 2013 to 2019, and whilst employed as a teacher at the school, she engaged in sexual misconduct with at least five pupils;
The investigators were not able to ascertain with certainty to whom she had sent video or photographic images that circulated on social media;
No information was received by the investigators that indicated that the school knew anything about the sexual misconduct with pupils;
The investigators found that the teacher acted in breach of the Bishops Code of Professional Conduct for Teaching Staff and the Code of Professional Ethics issued by the SA Council of Educators (SACE).
Whilst Pearson stated that Viotti’s lawyer, William Booth, had indicated that his client would cooperate fully with the investigation, she turned down a request from Advocate Francois van Zyl and attorney Graeme Dorrington to attend an interview.
She also made “no written comments regarding the merits of the matter”.
Booth, speaking to IOL on Saturday, outlined why that was the case:
“I advised her not to (comment) because it wasn’t a hearing. There was no disciplinary inquiry because she had already resigned.”
…“The inquiry lawyers interviewed various people at the school.
“They included students and others. And during that period of time, Fiona wasn’t in a state to be interviewed as she was under medical treatment. And we provided the inquiry with her reasons why.
“I can’t say anything more because the reasons are confidential. Once the school release their report I may be able to explain more. I have requested a copy,” said Booth.
The investigators said that they found Bishops had adequate policies in place to deal with cases of sexual misconduct, and that they need to report the matter to the “appropriate authorities”.
Pearson has promised full cooperation from the school on this front.
Those who have any further information are requested to get in touch with Pearson or the attorney, Graeme Dorrington, at email@example.com.
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