Music teacher sentenced to 18 months jail for sexual offences against a 14-year-old girl

James Rohan Fernando, 25, who faced six charges, admitted to three counts of sexual penetration of a minor between December 2011 and March last year. --ST FILE  PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN
James Rohan Fernando, 25, who faced six charges, admitted to three counts of sexual penetration of a minor between December 2011 and March last year. --ST FILE  PHOTO: WANG HUI FEN

A music teacher who committed sexual offences against a 14-year-old girl was sentenced to 18 months' jail on Thursday.

James Rohan Fernando, 25, who faced six charges, admitted to three counts of sexual penetration of a minor between December 2011 and March last year.

A district court heard that Fernando, who was teaching in a private school, came to know the victim through online social network Facebook in 2010. She was then 13.

The victim, who the court heard had been diagnosed with autism since she was a child, accepted his friend request as she badly needed someone to talk to. She subsequently became very attached to Fernando and fell in love with him.

When they met for the first time in Telok Blangah in December 2011, he took her to the highest floor of Block 87 Telok Blangah Heights, and touched her inappropriately.

When the victim told him that they should not engage in any sexual acts if they were to meet again, he said he did not want to meet her anymore. She then relented and agreed to meet up with him.

Sometime in January or February last year, they met a second time. Fernando took her to a multi-storey carpark at Telok Blangah Heights where she performed oral sex on him at a staircase landing.

They had sex in the same carpark one evening in March.

The victim's mother reported to the police on March 28 last year after seeing Fernando's many text messages to the victim which were all sexual in nature.

Fernando's lawyer Stephen Wong said his client was truly remorseful. He said given the relationship, there was no manipulation and exploitation on Fernando's part. He has also written a letter of apology to the victim.

He could have been jailed for up to seven years and/or fined on each charge.