A male secondary school teacher in charge of a uniformed group co-curricular activity (CCA), who molested seven of its teenage members, was sentenced yesterday to 26 months' jail and three strokes of the cane.
The man, who is now 39, has been suspended since Sept 14, 2017, and is no longer teaching in any school.
On Dec 5, he pleaded guilty to three molestation charges involving three boys.
Six similar charges involving four other teenagers were taken into consideration during sentencing.
The man committed the offences between 2015 and 2017. The teacher and the school cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the boys' identities.
He was with a 14-year-old boy after school hours some time in 2015 when he offered to drive the student home. The boy accepted the offer and sat in the front seat of the teacher's car. During the ride, the man asked him if he watched pornography. Shocked by the question, the boy replied that he did not.
When they arrived outside the teenager's home, the teacher suddenly slipped his hand into the boy's shorts and touched him inappropriately.
He also told the boy: "Play play only. Don't tell any teacher."
Deputy Public Prosecutor Joshua Lim said the boy felt scared when this happened and did not know how to react. He then got out of the car and went home.
The teacher struck again in 2016 when he molested a second 14-year-old boy in a gym. This time, he hugged his victim from behind and molested him.
The court heard that the man had earlier said: "What happens here, stays in here."
The boy later quit the CCA.
In 2017, the teacher molested a third boy, also 14, in their school.
DPP Lim said the man laughed after committing the offence.
Court documents did not state how the man's offences came to light, but the school principal alerted the police on Sept 8, 2017.
In an earlier statement, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said that following the court ruling, it will commence internal disciplinary action against the teacher.
Its spokesman added: "Teachers should conduct themselves in a manner which upholds the integrity of the profession and the trust placed in them.
"MOE takes a serious view of staff misconduct and will not hesitate to take disciplinary action against those who fail to adhere to our standards of conduct and discipline, including dismissal from service."
For each count of molestation, offenders can be jailed for up to two years and fined or caned.