Jail, caning for tutor who had sex with 11-year-old pupil

A man who began dating the 11-year-old girl he was tutoring when he was 41 was sentenced to 10 years and 10 months' jail on Wednesday.

The man, now 43, will also receive 12 strokes of the cane.

He had pleaded guilty to two counts of statutory rape and one count of committing an indecent act with a child. One count of statutory rape and three counts of committing an indecent act with a child were taken into consideration.

He cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the identity of the girl, who is now 13.

The High Court heard that the two met in 2017 while she was attending classes at a tuition centre.

Over time, she became fond of the man, who encouraged his students to telephone him if they had any problems and occasionally bought food for the class.

The two began texting each other frequently and their chats became increasingly intimate and personal.

She developed feelings for him and told him she considered him her "soulmate". When he asked her to be his girlfriend in April 2018, she said yes.

They went out for meals, spent time at shopping malls and held hands in public.

While the girl kept the relationship a secret from her parents, she recommended him to them to be her tutor as she was taking the PSLE that year.

The parents agreed and were unaware of their relationship even as the man gave their daughter private tuition sessions at their home every week.

While he was seeing the girl, the man had a live-in girlfriend, but it is unclear from court documents whether the girl knew about this.

In May 2018, shortly after she turned 12, they went to a mall, entered a toilet for the disabled and engaged in intimate acts. In December 2018, they met at another mall, entered a toilet for the disabled and had sex for the first time.

About a week later, he took her to his flat and they had sex again.

Later that month, the girl was on holiday in Malaysia with her parents when they questioned her after noticing she was busy texting.

They took her phone, found out about the relationship, and forbade her to contact the man again. The girl's father later lodged a police report in Singapore.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Asoka Markandu told the court: "Although the girl developed a liking for the accused and consented to the sexual acts, the accused had a responsibility not to take advantage of her naivety or to exploit her for his own sexual gratification."

Defence counsel Raphael Louis said his client genuinely cared for his students and was a first offender.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2020, with the headline Jail, caning for tutor who had sex with 11-year-old pupil. Subscribe