Former principal admits to molesting boys in his secondary school

SINGAPORE - The principal of a secondary school molested seven teenage boys on separate occasions at his workplace in 2017, a district court heard on Friday (Aug 28).

The boys, who were between 13 and 15 years old at the time, were at-risk youths who had family problems. They also had disciplinary records both in school and outside.

The school's operations manager often called them to the general office to either serve their detention or to counsel and inform them of the disciplinary action they faced.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mark Yeo said: "Upon noticing a student... the accused would call him into his room to speak to the student. At times, the accused would also inform the students' teachers of his intention to speak with them and fix a suitable time for them to meet him at his office on the pretext of discussing their disciplinary issues."

The man would then molest the boys in his office.

In an earlier statement, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said that the man is no longer employed by the ministry as of Jan 1, 2018.

The 48-year-old Singaporean pleaded guilty on Friday to three counts of molestation involving three boys.

Eight other charges for similar offences, including those linked to the other four boys, will be taken into consideration during sentencing.

Both the man and the school cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the boys' identities.

Sometime before Aug 20, 2017, the operations manager was talking to one of the victims, then 13 years old, about his disciplinary issues when the accused intervened and said that he would take over the matter.

He then molested the boy after they entered his office.

The DPP said: "(The boy) did not disclose the incident to anyone in its immediate aftermath. Given his disciplinary issues, he felt that no one would believe him if he were to disclose what the accused had done to him."

By using a similar ruse, the man molested a 14-year-old boy in September 2017 and a 13-year-old boy the following month.

In late October that year, the man molested another 14-year-old boy, who told another victim, a 15-year-old student, about his ordeal.

On Oct 25, 2017, the two teenagers told the operations manager about what had happened and the matter was reported to the MOE.

An MOE officer alerted the police on Nov 6 that year, the court heard.

In its earlier statement, the ministry said that it takes a serious view of staff misconduct.

Its spokesman added that the ministry will not hesitate to take disciplinary action against those who fail to adhere to its standards of conduct and discipline, including dismissal from service.

The former principal is now out on bail of $15,000 and he will be sentenced on Oct 6.

For each count of molesting a child below 14 years old, an offender can be jailed for up to five years and fined or caned.

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