Former teacher sentenced to a year in prison for hugging, kissing student

SINGAPORE - A FORMER Physical Education (PE) teacher was on Wednesday sentenced to a year in prison for hugging, and kissing his 12-year-old student on her cheeks, forehead and lips.

He had done so on three separate occasions in 2013 at his home and the indoor sports hall of a primary school in the eastern part of Singapore.

The 37-year-old Singaporean, who cannot be named due to a gag order, had last week pleaded guilty to three charges under the Children and Young Persons Act.

A further five charges were taken into consideration.

The Court had heard that the man - who was married with a four-month-old daughter then - had gotten to know the victim in 2012, when he became her PE teacher.

The man offered in July 2012 to help the girl upload pictures from a school trip onto her thumbdrive and exchanged numbers with her.

He starting texting her on a daily basis.

He told the girl that he liked her more than other students. He also showered her with gifts, called her his "dearest" and constantly told her that he missed her.

He also told her to delete her text messages so their relationship could be kept secret.

Once, the girl's father discovered the text messages and confronted him, but the man continued.

He went on to invite the girl into his home, where they would kiss and hug.

The teacher was stopped only when the girl's father complained to the school's principal, who in turn lodged a police report.

In mitigation, the man's defence lawyer Tito Isaac had quoted medical reports that stated his client was neither a paedophile nor a sexual predator.

He also said that his client had won the "most caring teacher award" from his school in 2012 and had committed those offences in an "error of judgment".

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