East London paedophile faces new charges
Convicted Eastern Cape paedophile Bruce Ehrlich is back behind bars, this time on multiple charges of rape, assault, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and kidnapping.
Ehrlich was arrested after two boys, who had lived with him from 2013 after his release from prison, last month opened cases against him.
On Tuesday during Ehrlich’s bail application in the East London magistrate’s court, his long history of sexual crimes was laid bare.
The court heard that Ehrlich’s convictions for similar offences against boys dated back to the early 1990s.
These included being convicted for offences against minor boys in Knysna in 1991, and being imprisoned in East London in 2003 for 15 years for 14 counts of indecent assault of minor boys. (Full timeline on Page 2)
The Dispatch reported in 2016 that Ehrlich had been released on parole in 2010 but was sent back to prison for breaking parole conditions after he was allegedly seen teaching minor boys squash, at the Cambridge Sports Club in East London.
On Tuesday, investigating officer Warrant Officer Sandile Tongo told bail court magistrate Linda Magaxeni that Ehrlich should be denied bail because of his propensity to commit indecent acts on minor boys.
“His previous convictions are of a similar nature with the same charges he’s facing now, and the ages of the boys in the previous cases and the current ones are also similar. He knows the witnesses and might influence them,” Tongo said.
Tongo said the complainants, now aged 20, who opened cases against Ehrlich had begun living with him in his Chiselhurst home from 2013 and 2016 respectively.
He said the victims alleged that Ehrlich would force them to touch his genitals, and would also do the same to them. On one occasion it is alleged that he tried to rape one boy anally.
Tongo said in March, Ehrlich accused one of the boys of stealing from him and assaulted him, before dumping him in bushes near Grinaker dam in Mdantsane, in the company of the other boy. He went on to intimidate the boy to not disclose the whereabouts of the first victim. The officer said Ehrlich’s release posed a threat to the victims as he knew where they lived and could intimidate them into withdrawing the charges. “I want him incarcerated until this matter is finished.”
On Tuesday morning during cross-examination by the state, Ehrlich said he wanted to be granted bail in order to save his business and provide for “his four sons”. In 2012 after his release on parole, he founded a construction company, which he said was now facing financial difficulties after flourishing for years.
He currently lives with three Xhosa minor boys, and claimed he was their primary caregiver. He said he supported a 34-year-old man from Duncan Village, whom he also called his son. He, however, said he had no legal parental rights over any of the males as he had simply taken them in.
When asked by state prosecutor Athi Mancoba why he did not legally foster the boys, he said he did not know the adoption processes, and did not see it as necessary to foster them legally because they were happy with him.
Mancoba said: “You have been charged with indecent assault of minor boys, but you decide to take in minor boys without regarding the process?”
He replied: “I did not go looking for them, they were brought by their families to me.”
Magaxeni said the allegations against Ehrlich would determine whether he could be released.
“I think it will only be fair that we take all of it into consideration before making a judgment.”
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