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S.Africa police accused of abuse during child assault probe

South African police were on Wednesday probing one of their own officers who was accused of molesting young girls while investigating sexual assault of scores of primary school pupils.

The forensic investigator allegedly molested two girls aged seven and eight on Monday when he visited their school to prepare pupils for a court appearance.

The girls are among up to 87 girls allegedly sexually abused by a security guard at a school in Johannesburg’s Soweto township last year. The guard is facing rape and sexual assault charges.

Police provincial commissioner Deliwe de Lange said the allegations against the officer were “receiving the necessary attention as a matter of priority”.

Provincial education minister Panyaza Lesufi expressed dismay at the latest “shocking and disturbing” accusations.

“A person entrusted with protecting children has violated their trust, ” Lesufi said in a statement. “The children have now become victims of sexual assault twice.”

The opposition Democratic Alliance party called for better vetting, saying that 57 police officers with criminal records are employed in units specialising in child protection.

More than 100 rapes are reported to police every day in South Africa, and police are often accused of inadequately investigating alleged assaults and failing to treat victims properly.