Fiona Viotti is the high school water polo coach and history teacher from South Africa who is accused of sexually assaulting a student.
Since the allegations of abuse have come to light, Viotti, 30, has resigned from her position at Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town. The allegations first appeared on October 11, 2019. Viotti resigned the previous day. None of the allegations involve a student under the age of 16, which is the age of sexual consent in South Africa. However, Viotti could still face civil action from the parents of the students.
Viotti is the daughter of the school’s rugby coach and history teacher, Dave Mallet. She is also the granddaughter of Anthony Mallet, who served as the school’s headmaster between 1964 and 1982. Viotti is the niece of former South African rugby player, Nick Mallett. Nick Mallett is now a rugby commentator for Supersport TV in South Africa. Tuition to the school costs around $25,000 per year.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Video Showing Fiona Viotti With a Student Was Uploaded to a Porn Site
News 24 in South Africa reported on October 17 that a pornography website had removed a video purporting to show Viotti involved in sexual activity with a student. The news network quoted the coach’s attorney, William Booth, as saying, “We are quite happy that the video has been officially removed and that’s positive. However, we are continuing with our investigations to establish who posted it.”
Booth went on to say that he still trying to find out who posted the video in the first place. The video, which has not been verified as being Viotti, was circulated widely on WhatsApp. Booth also said that circulating the video is a crime under South African law. In October 2018, the Rainbow Nation passed strict anti-Revenge Porn laws.
The South African Times Live reports that accounts emanating from Arizona had been sharing the videos on Porn Hub. At the time of writing, those videos have been deleted.
2. Viotti Could Face Criminal Charges Related to Sexual Grooming
Booth told the London Times in December 2019 that Viotti was in a “fragile state” following the allegations and the circulation of the videos. Booth said, “She was in no position to make a statement and this is not a criminal matter.”
Later, the Times reported that a criminal probe regarding sexual grooming could be forthcoming. Booth said of those rumors, “Sexual grooming is a very difficult act to prove and you need evidence from the person or people being groomed. Police would need to get signed statements from those involved. Their names would then be known in public.”
3. Viotti Was a Sports Illustrated Model, Appearing in the Magazine’s ‘Beauties of Sport’ in 2009
Prior to becoming a teacher, Viotti was a model who was featured in South African Sports Illustrated’s “Beauties of Sport” issue in 2009.
News 24 had earlier reported that numerous students have said that they have been affected by Viotti’s behavior during her time at Bishops Diocesan College. The investigation into Viotti goes back to 2013.
On October 11, the school’s principal, Guy Pearson, said in a statement, “Bishops is currently investigating allegations that there has been serious misconduct by one of its teachers. The teacher has resigned and the school is in the process of conducting a full investigation. The school takes this matter extremely seriously and requests the public to respect the dignity and privacy of those concerned.” Pearson has said that disciplinary action against Viotti from the school is impossible as she has resigned.
Pearson said in a later statement, via IOL, that the school’s investigation had determined that “several boys” had been affected by Viotti’s alleged behavior over the years.
4. One Student ‘Was a Will Participant But Became a Victim’
IOL in South Africa reports that Viotti is also of sending a threatening message to the teenager after he attempted to get her to stop the abuse. The IOL report says that the parents of the victim are “well-respected doctors.” That article says that some of the student’s friends had threatened to go to the news media to report on Viotti’s alleged behavior.
The parents of one student later told IOL, “He was a willing participant in the beginning but became a victim when he couldn’t get out of it. The teacher started texting him to come to her house on the campus and that’s how it started but it got to the stage where he had had enough. But the teacher wouldn’t let him go and he went to his parents for help and they went to the headmaster.”
5. Viotti Married Venture Capitalist Pavo Viotti in September 2018
Viotti was married venture capitalist Pavo Viotti, 32, in 2018, according to a newsletter from the school. The couple are believed to have split in the wake of the allegations. They met in 2008 in Vail, Colorado. In September 2018, the couple were married in Plettenberg Bay.
The South African Times Live published a letter that had allegedly been sent by Viotti’s father to parents at the school. Dave Mallet said that he had instructed students to adopt a “business as usual” approach, despite the allegations involving his daughter.