SINGAPORE - A 76-year-old former relief teacher was on Wednesday (Oct 14) jailed four weeks for kissing a nine-year-old student, whom he felt resembled a former girlfriend.
The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the victim, did relief teaching for Chinese classes at a primary school from January 2013 until earlier this year.
He first met the victim in mid-2013, when he was assigned as her Chinese relief teacher. He took a liking to the girl, then in Primary 3, as he felt she resembled a former girlfriend he knew when he was 18.
The lifelong educator, who was a Chinese teacher at various schools until he retired in 1975, later kissed the victim outside the school hall.
In the middle of last year, he kissed the same girl again.
This time, he was again assigned as the relief teacher for her Primary 4 Chinese class.
He approached the nine-year-old after class, and asked her to help him carry some books out of the classroom.
Recalling her first experience with the accused, the victim asked her classmate to accompany her, but was turned down. She then followed the man.
As they passed by the school library, he suddenly turned towards the victim and kissed her on the lips. The kiss lasted for about one to two seconds, before he instructed her to return to class.
Feeling scared and uncomfortable over the kiss, she drank water to clean her lips.
She did not tell anyone about the incident until earlier this year, after a third incident when the man was once again assigned to teach her class.
On this occasion, he passed a piece of paper with his mobile phone number written on it to the victim, telling her that she can contact him.
She threw away the piece of paper as she did not want the man to know her contact details. A few days later, she decided to confide in her mother about being kissed by the relief teacher. The victim's mother then contacted the school and lodged a police report.
The former relief teacher was convicted of one charge of outrage of modesty for kissing the girl in the middle of last year, while a second charge for the 2013 incident was taken into consideration during the sentencing.
District judge Mathew Joseph said that in committing the offences, the man had abused his trust as an educator and his position as a relief teacher.
"There is an almost seven-decade difference between your age and the victim's age. This makes the act much more reprehensible," he told the man.
"What was most detestable was that the offence took place within the school's premises," he added.
"This case perhaps illustrates the need for young children in school to be taught what are the inappropriate actions that can be made against them."