Ex-teacher jailed for molesting two young girls

A teacher at an Orchard Road enrichment centre, who molested two female pupils aged seven and eight, was yesterday sentenced to 18 months and six weeks in jail.

As Ian Lewis, a British man, was 66 years old, he was spared the cane and given the six weeks in lieu.

It was in 2012, two years after his arrival in Singapore, when Lewis started work as a reading specialist teacher at the centre.

The younger victim was enrolled from November 2013 to December 2014, and attended 90-minute classes conducted by Lewis once a week.

Investigations revealed that from Sept 16, 2014 to mid-December 2014, while the class was on, he would sit beside her. With his hands under the table, he molested her. The victim felt uncomfortable and was frightened, but she did not tell anyone as she was afraid of being scolded by Lewis.

She confided in her mother only after watching an episode of Crime Watch where it showed a tutor behaving inappropriately with a student.

When the victim's mother took her to make a police report on July 12, 2015, they realised that Lewis had been suspended as a similar police report had been lodged against him by the parents of another pupil.

Lewis pleaded guilty last October to rubbing the younger girl's body. The second charge of stroking the back of the other girl was taken into consideration in sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chee Ee Ling said in her sentencing submissions that the molestation was persistent and comprised sustained intrusions of the victim's private parts.

Lewis took the calculated risk that the victim, due to her vulnerability and naivety, would not report him and repeatedly outraged her modesty.

"The lewdness of the accused's conduct, and the trauma caused to the victim when she realised that the accused's actions were wrong upon watching an episode of Crime Watch, are nothing short of deplorable,'' she said.

The maximum penalty for molesting any person under 14 is five years' jail, a fine and caning.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2017, with the headline 'Ex-teacher jailed for molesting two young girls'. Print Edition | Subscribe