15 months' jail for former part-time English teacher in private school who molested girl, 11

SINGAPORE - The presence of two other children nearby did not deter a part-time English teacher from molesting an 11-year-old girl when he sat beside her in the classroom.

A district court heard that, following the incident, the child felt "sad and fearful" and had recurrent thoughts about her ordeal.

She also had difficulty sleeping at night and had nightmares about her molester.

On Wednesday (April 17), the 67-year-old Singaporean offender, who taught in a private school in the north-eastern part of Singapore, was sentenced to a year and three months' jail.

He pleaded guilty on Monday to a molestation charge and cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the child's identity.

The court heard that he committed the offence on Feb 13, 2017, the first and only day he taught the victim.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kavita Uthrapathy said there were two other pupils in the same class but all three children were seated apart in the classroom.

 

The DPP told District Judge Prem Raj: "When the lesson started in the morning, the accused proceeded to sit beside the victim on her left.

"During the lesson, the accused used his right hand to stroke the victim's upper arm to her wrist and the victim told him to stop touching her. Occasionally, the accused would stand up and walk around the classroom before he sat down beside her again."

The court heard that at around 12.15pm, the man sat beside the girl and molested her.

DPP Kavita said that as a result of the actions of the accused, the victim became uncomfortable and frightened and could not continue with her lessons for the afternoon.

The girl, a Primary 5 pupil, went home and the police were alerted after she told her older sister what had happened.

Saying that the man had abused his position of authority and exploited a vulnerable victim, the DPP urged the court to sentence him to at least 15 months' jail.

Now out on bail of $15,000, the man was ordered to surrender himself at the State Courts on May 3 to begin serving his sentence.

The school told The Straits Times on Wednesday that the man was a relief teacher who was sacked on the day of the offence. School staff had also accompanied the girl to lodge the police report.

A spokesman said: "The school does not condone such offences and will not hesitate to inform the authorities."

Anyone convicted of molesting a child below 14 years old can be jailed for up to five years and fined or caned. The man cannot be caned as he is over 50 years old.