SINGAPORE - A former secondary school teacher, who developed a romantic relationship with his 15-year-old student and impregnated her, was found guilty of sexual penetration of a minor on Wednesday (July 31).
The 41-year-old man, who cannot be named to protect the girl's identity, was convicted of 19 counts of sexual penetration which occurred on 10 occasions in August and September 2015 at his house.
The man had taught the teenage girl science and physics for all four years of her secondary school education from 2012 to 2015.
She is now 19 years old and has a two-year-old child fathered by the man.
In December 2013, towards the end of the year, he offered to give the girl private tuition in physics. However, as she felt the fees were too expensive, he suggested that they look for another student to lower the cost.
After discussions with her family, the girl agreed to the arrangement and the teacher began giving her and another student weekly private tuition at his house on Saturday mornings. This continued until the victim completed her O-level examinations in November 2015.
During the June school holidays that year, the teacher invited her to his house outside of the tuition sessions. They would talk and he would play her songs he had composed .
Some time in July that year, he told her that he liked her and she subsequently agreed to be in a relationship with him.
They would hide their relationship by making sure his mother was not at home when the girl came to the house, and that she was not seen by the neighbours.
He soon became physically intimate with her by kissing and hugging her, and rubbing his private parts on hers while they were both clothed.
Eventually, on Aug 10, he had penetrative sex with her for the first time.
This intimate relationship continued until the girl ended it in September or October the following year, when she entered polytechnic.
In November 2016, she discovered that she was 16 weeks' pregnant, and told the man about this through a text message.
The next month, after telling her family about the pregnancy, the girl lodged a police report. She later testified that when she made the report, she was afraid it would get the man in trouble.
While he admitted he had initiated the relationship, he denied engaging in any penetrative sexual activity with her before her 16th birthday.
He claimed that their physical intimacy had developed slowly and was restricted to kissing, touching each other, and rubbing with only their underwear on.
He added that he started engaging in sexual intercourse with the girl only in December 2015 after she turned 16.
However, in WhatsApp messages between the two after Aug 10 of that year, he had described their physical acts as "deeper penetration".
He had also wrote that "there is a sense of when to get it out" in one text message, when the girl told him that she was worried about getting pregnant.
During the trial, he gave three reasons for not having sex with the girl before her 16th birthday: that it was illegal to have sex with a minor, that she was unwilling to have premarital sex and he respected her view on this, and that they were both afraid of her getting pregnant.
District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt said he accepted the testimony of the victim, as it was consistent and supported by the text messages she exchanged with the man.
The man is expected to return to court on Aug 29 for mitigation and sentencing.
For each count of sexual penetration of a minor, he could be jailed for up to 10 years, fined, or both.