Jail, caning for teacher who made former pupil his 'godson' and later molested him

SINGAPORE - A male teacher who made a former pupil his "godson" and later molested the boy during a sleepover was jailed for 2½ years on Thursday (Sept 9).

The man, 36, was also given three strokes of the cane.

He was earlier found guilty of two counts of molestation and another charge of attempted molestation after a trial.

Details about the man, the boy and the school cannot be revealed because of a gag order protecting the victim's identity.

The man has been suspended from service since July 2017 and no longer teaches in any school.

He used to be the victim's Primary 6 form teacher and taught English, mathematics and science in 2016.

The court had earlier heard that he and his victim had a "normal teacher-student relationship" at the time. But they also met outside the school three times that year.

They grew closer after the release of the boy's Primary School Leaving Examination results. He had gone to the victim's home to help the child with selecting a secondary school.

The court also heard that the boy had been raised by a single mother and he never had a father figure before the teacher came into his life.

The boy agreed to become the teacher's godson in early 2017 as he felt the man was "sincere" and cared for him. They texted every day and the man supported the child financially.

On June 15, 2017, the man touched the boy's private parts twice when the victim was at his flat for a sleepover. He tried to commit a similar offence the next day.

The boy told his mother about the incident and wanted to report the matter to the police. But she stopped him from doing so.

He finally told a school counsellor what had happened when classes resumed on June 27 that year, and the police were alerted.

In its submissions, the prosecution urged the court to sentence the man to between 31 and 34 months' jail as well as be given five strokes of the cane.

Among other things, it noted the victim's testimony that he became insecure, more sensitive and easily angered after the abuse.

The boy also had suicidal and self-harm thoughts, added the prosecution.

For each count of molesting a child below the age of 14, an offender can be jailed for up to five years, or fined, or caned, or be sentenced to any combination of such punishments.

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