The model-turned-history teacher who quit an elite South African school after having a sexual relationship with at least one pupil is the ‘sister-in-law’ of Lady Amelia Spencer, it can be revealed today.
Fiona Viotti, 30, resigned suddenly from £16,000-per-year Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town last Thursday before an 18-year-old student came forward to say he was in an ‘intense’ sexual relationship with her.
Investigators at the school are now preparing to interview 40 present and former pupils over the scandal – which has seen explicit videos of Fiona shared around the college and online.
Fiona – who married venture capitalist Pavo Viotti just last year – is the daughter of Dave Mallett and has a brother named Greg Mallett.
Greg is in a long-term relationship with Lady Amelia Spencer, daughter of Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer. She is Princess Diana’s niece.
Fiona Viotti, 30, has quit a prestigious South African boarding school where she taught history after an 18-year-old pupil said he had an ‘intense’ sexual relationship with her
Fiona’s brother is Greg Mallett (far right) who has been dating Lady Amelia Spencer (front) for the last nine years. He is well-known by the Spencers, and considered part of the family
While Lady Amelia and Greg (pictured together in 2014) are not married, Lady Kitty – Lady Amelia’s sister – has referred to him as a ‘big brother’ in the past
Officials at the £16,000-per-year school now believe that several boys were involved in relationship with the teacher over a number of years, and have called in lawyers to investigate
Lady Amelia met Greg while studying at the University of Cape Town – the city where she grew up with twin sister Lady Eliza Spencer – and the pair have been dating for the last nine years.
While they are not married, Lady Kitty Spencer – Amelia’s sister – has in the past referred to Greg as her ‘big brother’ and he is considered to be part of the family.
Fiona’s uncle is Nick Mallett, the former South African national rugby coach.
The scandal broke on Sunday, when a South African newspaper reported claims that an 18-year-old at the school had been in a sexual relationship with Fiona, that became controlling when he tried to end it.
The teen told the newspaper that she refused to accept the affair was over, at which point he told his parents who called in a lawyer.
She then quit the school, where she also worked as a water polo coach and under-14 rugby coach, and is now thought to be sheltering at her father’s house.
The school said in a statement that they are probing an allegation of ‘serious misconduct’ by a former teacher, and there is reason to believe that several boys ‘have been affected over a number of years.’
Viotti’s lawyer has spoken only to deny claims that she had fled the country, though said she is ‘stressed’ over the allegations. No charges have yet been laid.
The lawyer added that videos of Viotti circulating online had been shared without her consent, and that posting them is a criminal offence.
A school newsletter reveals that Fiona married 13 months ago, to 32-year-old Pavo, who has a top venture capital and private equity company in Cape Town.
The pair have now separated, according to local reports.
Outlining the claims against Fiona, one of the boy’s parents told the IOL news site: ‘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.
Viotti – the niece of former South Africa rugby coach Nick Mallett – was a history teacher, but also coached the water polo team (pictured)
The former model had been dating banker Pavo Viotti (right) since 2008 and the pair married just 13 months ago
Pavo is now said to have separated from his wife, and refused to answer the door at their £350,000 Cape Town property. She is thought to be living with her parents
‘But the teacher wouldn’t let him go and he went to his parents for help and they went to the headmaster and now it is all coming out.’
Sources told local media: ‘It seems this has been going on for about six years.
‘That is why the headmaster is asking for other boys past and present to come forward with information. If the rumours at the school are correct there could be many many more involved.’
The South African Police Service have not been involved as criminal charges have not been laid as the schoolboy is two years over the age of consent.
A school source said: ‘It would appear this is not a criminal matter but one of gross misconduct between a teacher who has stepped over a clear line and it is a matter for the school to handle.
‘They have appointed a senior lawyer who is independent of the school to ensure the matter is investigated properly’.
School principal Guy Pearson admitted to the sex scandal rocking the elite school in a statement saying: ‘We can confirm that there have been several boys who have been affected over a number of years.
‘The investigation into the serious sexual misconduct of one of our female teachers is ongoing and we have appealed to boys and parents for any information that will add to our understanding.
‘We understand there will be lots of questions but please appreciate this is a matter which needs to be managed with the utmost sensitivity and I cannot share more information at this stage’.
The school also revealed that it has made a team of psychologists and psychiatrists available to any boy or family member that may have been affected by the events surrounding the teacher.
The teacher’s father Dave Mallett is also a history teacher at the same Christian church school and coaches the rugby 1st XV and her grandfather Anthony was a former headmaster there for 18 years.
Bishops Diocesan College is one of South Africa’s most prestigious schools, with alumni including astronaut Mark Shuttleworth and South African cricket star Herschelle Gibbs
Dave Mallett, Viotti’s father, is a history teacher, housemaster, and rugby coach at the school – and has spoken of his ‘devastation’ after the claims were revealed
English-born housemaster Dave, who has remained at the school despite the allegations against his daughter has sent a message to parents saying his family faced ‘tough times ahead’.
The devastated dad said: ‘Thanks very much for the messages of support that we have received in the wave of the devastating events involving my daughter Fi and our family as a whole.
‘Tough times ahead no doubt – but I’ll be soldiering on to support my family as best I can.
‘Obviously Fiona’s health and safety is our priority right now and we will be doing all we can to help her pull this through’ he said.
Bishop’s Diocesan College is a private school founded in 1849 by Bishop Robert Gray to teach Christian values and educate the sons of colonialists in Cape Town and costs £15,000 a year to attend.
Former pupils include astronaut Mark Shuttleworth and South African cricket star Herschelle Gibbs.
Fiona is a former model, played water polo as a teenager, and was one of the ‘Beauties of Sport’ featured in Sports Illustrated in 2009 – a year after she met her future husband.
The couple fell in love in 2008 while backpacking in Vail, Colorado, and their adventures took them to South America, Europe and South East Asia before they returned together to Cape Town.
They were married in September last year in a white wedding in Plettenberg Bay and were planning a family together until the school scandal hit the news.
She is believed to be in hiding with her parents at their home in Cape Town, while he has refused to comment or answer the door at their £350,000 home in a Cape Town suburb.
Both have deleted all their social media accounts and close friends say they are living apart at the moment.
South African media has widely publicised the link between the former Springbok coach Nick Mallett and his niece and no denials have been made that any photos or videos posted are not of Fiona.
A former schoolboy at Bishops Diocesan College who was taught water polo by the school mistress said: ‘Every boy at the school was besotted with Fiona as she looked like a supermodel.
‘But the thing was she was never flirty and comes across as a very shy and innocent and very nice girl and to hear these allegations has just blown me and a lot of the guys I went to school with away.
‘Fiona’s uncle Nick was the Springboks coach and her dad Dave coaches the rugby 1st XV and her grandfather Tony was headmaster here for nearly 20 years after he emigrated here from England.
‘The Malletts are part of the fabric of the recent history of Bishops and I cannot believe Fiona of all people has been having sex with her pupils as she is the total opposite of the sort of person you would suspect.
‘The word is that there is a lot more to come out and former pupils who left the school years ago are being contacted. It is a great school and one of the best in South Africa and you just don’t expect this.’