Primary school vice-principal who committed sexual acts on underage boy sentenced to 10 years' jail

SINGAPORE - A primary school vice-principal, who started performing sexual acts on a male pupil when the boy was just 14 years old, was sentenced on Wednesday (Oct 16) to 10 years' jail.

In sentencing him, District Judge Chay Yuen Fatt noted that the case involved "serious sexual offences" and that the offender had shown "gross abuse of authority".

Judge Chay convicted the man, now 57, in August after a trial.

He had found the offender guilty of three counts of sexually exploiting a minor and five counts of carnal intercourse.

The man, who has been suspended from duty, cannot be named due to a gag order to protect the victim's identity.

The boy and his mother had arrived here from China in 1999 when he was about nine years old. The victim is now 30 years old and a Singaporean.

In his submissions, Deputy Public Prosecutor James Chew had earlier said the victim was a Primary 5 pupil in 2003 when he reported to the man every morning as he was the school's vice-head prefect.

They were in their school gym some time that year when the man sexually stimulated the boy.

DPP Chew had said: "(The boy) did not know how to react, and had doubts about the nature of what the accused did, as the accused was a very respected figure."

 
 
 
 

The boy became the head prefect the following year and accepted the vice-principal's offer for one-to-one English tuition at the man's Woodlands flat. The man would then sexually stimulate the teenager after lessons.

During the trial in March last year, the victim testified that his mother was repatriated around 2002 for working illegally in Singapore and he had to live with a relative here.

When the relative could no longer be his guardian after the Primary School Leaving Examination in 2004, he moved in with the vice-principal, who became his guardian.

The man continued to commit sexual acts on the victim until 2006 and the activities progressed to involve oral sex.

DPP Chew had said the victim started becoming more resistant to the man's advances in 2007. However, he would still give in due to pressure from the man.

In 2013, they went on a trip to Scandinavia together, where the victim met a woman whom he later married.

He moved into her home in Singapore later that year, added DPP Chew.

In 2015, the victim happened to meet the vice-principal's niece and told her about his ordeal. She encouraged him to lodge a police report.

The victim finally alerted the police in November that year.

On Wednesday, DPP Chew urged Judge Chay to sentence the man to at least 10 years jail, adding: "The accused's grievous and appalling breach of trust as a vice-principal of a primary school and legal guardian to sexually exploit the young victim, together with the long duration of the sexual abuse, necessitates a strong sentence of sufficient deterrent and retributive force."

Defence lawyer T. M. Sinnadurai asked the judge to consider a lenient sentence that is not "crushing".

The man, who intends to appeal against his conviction and sentence, is now out on bail of $30,000.

In an earlier statement, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said the man has been suspended from duty since Dec 2015 and is not deployed at any school.

Its spokesman added: "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.

"All educators are expected to conduct themselves in a manner which upholds the integrity of the profession and the trust placed in them."

For each carnal intercourse charge, the man could have either been jailed for life or jailed for up to 10 years and fined.