Ex-teacher jailed 22 months for indecent acts with pupil

SINGAPORE - A physical education teacher who entered into a relationship with his pupil - despite her being 20 years his junior - was jailed for 22 months yesterday.

The 34-year-old teacher, who cannot be named to protect his victim's identity, became friends with the girl on Facebook in late 2011.

He pleaded guilty to four of six charges of committing an indecent act as well as procuring a child to commit an indecent act.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Koh Huimin said that in early 2012, he expressed feelings for the then 12-year-old foreign pupil and they began dating soon after.

In March that year, they went to Lakeside Park in Jurong one evening where they hugged and kissed each other. Shortly after that, he put his hands under her clothes and touched her.

Eight months later he was alone with her in her family's flat when he suggested that they shower together. She agreed and they hugged, kissed and applied soap on each other. On a different occasion at the flat, they were chatting when he took her hands and placed them inside his trousers.

Another time, she lay naked on a bed with him and he persuaded her to perform an indecent act.

APP Koh said the teacher suddenly decided to break up with her in February last year and changed his mobile number.

When he did not respond to her messages and avoided her, she felt angry and upset and reported the matter to her principal.

The principal lodged a police report in August last year.

APP Koh told the court that there is a strong public policy governing the protection of young and vulnerable people, who are often easily influenced.

There was also planning and pre-meditation involved as the accused had built a relationship with the victim before committing the offences. He had also breached the trust placed in him.

"As a teacher and educator, the accused should not have defiled and corrupted the young victim."

District Judge Salina Ishak took into consideration the significant age gap between the accused and the victim, that he had initiated the relationship with her and the abuse of trust. She also noted it was not a one-off transgression.

The accused, who has left the school, could have been fined up to $10,000 and/or jailed for up to five years on each charge under the Children and Young Persons Act.