Former South African tennis player Bob Hewitt, winner of nine Grand Slams in doubles in the 1960s and 1970s, was found guilty today of two rapes and a third offense of sexual abuse of three underage students.
Judge Bert Bam, of the Palm Ridge court (east of Johannesburg), considered it proven that the former athlete, of Australian origin, sexually abused three of his students, between the ages of 12 and 14, when he was their tennis teacher in the decades of 1980 and 1990.
The tennis player – winner of nine Grand Slam doubles titles and six other mixed doubles titles in the 1960s and 1970s – had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Hewitt will hear the sentence in his next appearance before the judge, on April 17 in the High Court of Pretoria.
Judge Bam granted the convicted person the conditional release requested by the defense, in exchange for the payment of a bail of 10,000 rands, one 765 euros.
According to the conditions imposed by the court, Hewitt must wait for the sentence at his home in the South African province of the Eastern Cape, in the southeast of the country, although he will be able to visit his daughter in Johannesburg
“The evidence of the prosecutor against the accused is overwhelming,” said Judge Bam during the reading of the verdict.
“The three plaintiffs have basic rights. Time does not make crimes disappear. A guilty person should not go unpunished, “added the judge, in the presence of three victims in the room.
Bam concluded that Hewitt manipulated and intimidated the teenage girls before performing sexual acts on them.
Hewitt, 75, obtained South African citizenship in 1967, when he married a woman from that country.
Hewitt’s wife testified in favor of her husband’s innocence, whom she has accompanied throughout the process, which began in February and in which ten witnesses have testified. EFE