Charity chairman steps down after jail time for assaulting 8-year-old girl he was tutoring

Teo Thian Hoe had been jailed for four days earlier in November. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - The chairman of a charity that helps children and at-risk youth has stepped down from his post after he was convicted and jailed for assaulting an eight-year-old girl he was tutoring.

Mr Teo Thian Hoe, 57, stepped down as chairman of Lutheran Community Care Services (LCCS) last Friday. He had been jailed for four days earlier in November.

LCCS is a social service agency that helps children and at-risk youth build and restore relationships with their families.

In response to queries, LCCS executive director Justin Mui said: “We do not condone violence in any form. Mr Teo has served his sentence as a consequence of his actions and has voluntarily stepped down from the board entirely.

“As a social service agency that believes in breaking the hurt cycle, we would support Mr Teo in his journey towards restoration.”

The Commissioner of Charities said it is looking into the case involving Mr Teo, and actions will be taken where necessary.

It said that under the Charities Act 1994, unfit persons are disqualified from holding key positions in charities if they have been convicted of offences involving acts of dishonesty and terrorism, among others.

“Unfit persons can also be removed by an Order of the Commissioner of Charities from their key positions if the conviction is one involving moral turpitude,” it said. “Such decisions will be made based on the specific facts of each case.”

Mr Teo, who works as a part-time tutor, was engaged in January to privately tutor the girl in mathematics after her father found his name on a website.

During one session in the study room of her home on March 18, Mr Teo lost his temper after she gave wrong answers to his questions.

The Deputy Public Prosecutor had told the court: “While scolding her, the accused flicked her left forearm thrice using his fingers and punched her left arm twice... the victim felt bodily pain and cried.

“In addition, the accused also grabbed the victim’s head and pushed it downwards.”

Some of the acts were captured on a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera installed in the room.

Later that day, the girl told her father that Mr Teo would suddenly punch her whenever she failed to do her work properly. She also told him that her arm hurt.

Her father decided to observe her next lesson with Mr Teo through the CCTV camera.

Mr Teo lost his temper again in a session on March 22 and scolded the girl. This time, he flicked her left forearm using his fingers, knocked her head four times with his knuckles, slapped her right hand and punched her upper left arm twice.

He also grabbed her neck and pushed her head downwards. The girl sustained a bruise on her left arm and cried.

Her father, who was home at the time, heard the tutor raising his voice at the girl. He checked the CCTV camera and saw Mr Teo assaulting his daughter.

He confronted the tutor, told him to leave, and then alerted the police.

Mr Teo, who was not represented by a lawyer, told the court he had lost control while teaching the girl, whom he described as a very slow pupil with a level of understanding that was at the “kindergarten level”.

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