Jail, caning for music teacher who molested student during cello lessons

SINGAPORE - A music teacher who molested an 18-year-old student while teaching her how to play the cello was sentenced to 21 months in jail and one stroke of the cane on Wednesday (May 8).

The 33-year-old Filipino, who cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the victim's identity, had been found guilty of four counts of molestation last month by District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt.

It followed a five-day trial, during which the court heard that the girl was left so traumatised by the incidents that she hid under a desk and cut her wrists with a pair of scissors.

The teacher first molested her on June 25, 2016, after pointing out that the way she placed her cello against her body was incorrect.

During the trial, the young woman told the court that she felt "weird" when the man touched her chest briefly but "did not think much about it".

However, he molested her again a week later after saying that she was still not holding her cello correctly.

This time, he placed a hand inside her top and touched her right thigh.

The court heard that she took a long shower when she reached home as "the feeling of touch" remained.

Her mother told the court that she rushed upstairs and found her daughter under her desk with her wrists cut.

When she asked her daughter what happened, she cried and said: "My cello teacher touched me."

The police were alerted. The young woman told the judge that after the incident, she sought treatment at the Institute of Mental Health as she had trouble sleeping and felt "the need to be clean".

The man, who was represented by lawyer Jonathan Cho, denied molesting her. He told Judge Chay that there was no reason for him to get close to her or touch her body.

On Wednesday, the court heard that he intends to appeal against the judge's decision and was offered bail of $20,000.

For each count of molestation, he could have been jailed for up to two years and fined or caned.

The teacher is no longer employed by the school, which is in western Singapore.