EXCLUSIVE: 'I was raped at 17 and I'm not the only one' - man tracks sexual abuser in podcast
Deon Wiggett, in a series of podcasts co-published by News24, recounts a chilling story of how he and other boys were sexually molested more than 20 years ago by a man who used to be a teacher at a prestigious school and later became a senior corporate executive.
"I was not his only target and I'm not his only survivor. I was one of the boys he wanted, but not an aberration or an anomaly. It wasn't terribly exceptional when he raped me in the mouth when I was 17..."
These are the chilling words of Johannesburg advertising copywriter Deon Wiggett who, in a series of podcasts supplied exclusively to News24, recounts a shocking tale of how he and other underaged boys were sexually molested 20-odd years ago by a man who used to be a teacher at a prestigious school and who later became a senior corporate executive.
For now, Wiggett refers to the man simply as "Jimmy".
In this first podcast, Wiggett's memory of his abuse is jolted upon the passing of his father in November 2017, "the final evening of my regular life".
"If my father's death was a seismic blow, it was followed by weeks and months of aftershocks as the bottom fell out of my life and my youth."
Rearranging memories of his dad and those they shared, Wiggett recalls a particular memory that dates back to 1997.
"I'm thinking about a family holiday in my last year of high school. We are in the Kruger Park. It's 1997, and I am on the phone..."
Wiggett remembers making a call from a pay phone in the park. "My parents are taking a nap and I am on the phone to someone. We talk for a long time.
"Why is my brain serving up this memory to me? And who was I talking to?" Wiggett asks.
"I was remembering clearly what I thought I'd forgotten all those years ago"
"Of course, obviously I know who I was talking to. I've always known..."
Wiggett says he hadn't thought of Jimmy in 20 years, but now "the memories were bulletting out this tiny box I had made for them in the deep back of my brain.
"I was remembering clearly what I thought I'd forgotten all those years ago."
Wiggett describes Jimmy, who is now in his 50s, as "deeply unattractive", a man who looks like a bullfrog and "sweats by the gallon".
And, says Wiggett, the story begins long before his encounter with Jimmy, back when Jimmy was a teacher at a prestigious boys' school.
"I'm not going to tell you all the details of what Jimmy did to me and neither will the other men in this programme. Each instance was deeply illegal and a devastating personal invasion. Let's leave the topic of teenage penises there...
"The story isn't even about that. It's about whether it's even possible to catch a guy like Jimmy."
In January this year, Wiggett began to dedicate himself to tracking Jimmy down and bringing him to justice.
This included tracking down other victims - an arduous task, since much of it happened so long ago.
Wiggett starts by compiling a history of Jimmy's life.
He is first confronted with pictures of Jimmy on his Instagram account, noting "he still loves the company of much younger men".
'Spilling the beans about Jimmy'
Working his way through Jimmy's social media accounts, Wiggett systematically builds a picture of Jimmy today, driving past his house in Cape Town, as well as his workplace.
"I'm no longer the one who doesn't know about him - he is the one who doesn't know about me..."
Wiggett started to assemble bits and pieces of Jimmy's life, speaking to friends and acquaintances, putting together clues and familiarising himself with the identities of young men he sees on photos with Jimmy.
One of these is Mike*, who "has been spilling the beans about Jimmy". He promptly arranges to meet with Mike at a coffee shop.
But Mike turns out to be defiant, condescending and passive-aggressive, leaving Wiggett feeling "mocked" about his past.
"He's full of bravado, but he's terrified of Jimmy's revenge," Wiggett remarks.
"He wants to help, but he doesn't trust me."
Feeling devastated, Wiggett ponders: "What makes my rape so special that I get to make a whole production about it? The answer: nothing does. My privileged upper-middle class rape occurred in privileged conditions... for a rape. But it's the rape I can try to correct.
"And Jimmy is the rapist."
The 'missing' 7 years
Wiggett discovers that Jimmy is hiding a seven-year period of his life - a time when he taught at one of the country's most prestigious schools.
This sets the wheels in motion for Wiggett to "name Jimmy in the public interest before the summer holidays".
Going back to the "seven missing years", Wiggett sets about finding men who had been in contact with Jimmy during this period.
"That's where I should go next, next time... on My Only Story"
News24 is Wiggett's publishing partner and will publish the next podcast on November 14.
If you have any information for News24 please send it to email@example.com.
*Not his real name.