Gerhard Ackerman faces 740 sex abuse and attempted murder charges in South Africa

The man accused of running a child sex ring in Johannesburg from 2019 to 2021 is in the wind. The Johannesburg High Court issued a warrant for Gerhard Ackerman’s arrest after failing to appear in court.

Police hunt alleged sex kingpin over child abuse

Ackerman and his co-accused, Acting Judge Paul Kennedy, who died by suicide in February 2022, worked together in the alleged sex ring that lured young boys.

“These young boys were allegedly sexually groomed, raped and exposed to pornographic material,” said National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane.

Ackerman faces 740 charges, ranging from rape to attempted murder, the distribution of child porn, human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children, in the trial against him, which resumed on Monday, 23 January.

Ackerman was due to appear in court on Thursday but failed to show up, saying he was ill. He then failed to comply with a court order to furnish a doctor’s note by Friday.

“The High Court of South Africa Gauteng Local Division in Johannesburg has issued a warrant for the arrest for Gerhard Ackerman following his disappearance,” said the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) Phindi Mjonondwane.

The State on Saturday also filed an urgent court application to have his bail revoked.

Mjondwane said the 52-year-old’s disappearance was in contravention of his bail conditions.

He was granted R6,000 bail by the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court in 2021, on condition that he reports to the nearest police station on a daily basis.

Ackerman is also not allowed to leave Gauteng without permission from the investigating officer, and he is not allowed to be in possession of a laptop or cell phone to access the internet.

The NPA said since his disappearance, it had put in place measures to ensure his alleged victims, who are set to testify in the trial, are protected.

“We will use all available resources to apprehend Ackerman so that he can face the full might of the law,” said Mjondwane.

“We have further embarked on an exercise that aims at promoting the safety of all victims and we’ll welcome any assistance from the public towards his apprehension.”

Ackerman faces 740 charges, including rape, attempted murder, distribution of child pornography, and the human trafficking of minors for sexual exploitation.

Ackerman’s co-accused in the matter, acting judge and human rights lawyer Paul Kennedy, died by suicide last year after being charged