Ex-teacher jailed over indecent acts with 15-year-old student

A physics teacher became intimate with a 15-year-old student who had become "infatuated" with him, a court heard.

The man went as far as hugging and kissing the girl, and admitted he faced "sexual temptation", before a police officer spotted the pair canoodling in a park and informed the girl's parents.

The 34-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the minor's identity, was jailed for a year and four months yesterday after pleading guilty to two counts of committing an indecent act. He also admitted to a count of attempting to procure an indecent act.

He resigned from the secondary school, in the eastern part of Singapore, shortly after the incidents in September 2016.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mark Yeo said the man was the girl's physics teacher in 2014 and 2015 when she was in lower secondary.

DPP Yeo added: "The victim was infatuated by the accused and worked harder in his subject so as not to let him down... Sometime in 2015, the victim contacted the accused via his mobile phone number, which was provided to all students during the first day of the school term, to arrange consultations on the physics subject."

Over time, the pair started talking to each other via Skype and their conversation became more intimate, with sexual overtones.

The man started going to the girl's home in June 2016 to provide weekly tuition lessons for her and her sister. However, the court heard that he had no feelings for the 15-year-old girl - just "sexual temptation".

On Sept 6 that year, he picked the student up from her home and drove to East Coast Park. There, he sat on a bench, pulled the girl to make her sit on his lap and hugged her from behind.

He then started to kiss her neck and ear areas for about five minutes. The court heard that she felt shocked and did not react. The man also stroked her thigh before driving her home.

He took her to the park again the next day and performed similar acts on her before they went to Pasir Ris Park. While they were kissing in his car there at around noon that day, the man tried to pull her hand to touch his private parts through his trousers. She pulled her hand away and he drove her home.

On Sept 8, 2016, they went to Pasir Ris Park where they held hands and played games with each other while she sat on his lap. A patrolling police officer spotted the pair and alerted the girl's parents. Her father made a police report.

The Ministry of Education said that it takes a serious view of teachers' misconduct and "will not hesitate to take disciplinary action" against those who fail to adhere to its standards.

Shaffiq Alkhatib

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2018, with the headline 'Ex-teacher jailed over indecent acts with 15-year-old student'. Print Edition | Subscribe