SINGAPORE - A primary school teacher has been sentenced to eight months' jail after he admitted to kissing and touching a girl's private parts. She was then 14.
His actions came to light only when the girl harmed herself and later told a psychologist about the incidents.
The 38-year-old male teacher pleaded guilty on Tuesday (May 25) to two charges under the Children and Young Persons Act. Another similar charge was taken into consideration for his sentencing.
He and the girl cannot be named to protect her identity.
The court heard that he got to know her while moonlighting as a tuition teacher, providing lessons in mathematics and science to primary school pupils. He was the girl's tuition teacher in 2015 and 2016.
He reconnected with her in 2018 after she created an Instagram account.
In February 2019, he contacted her after she posted on her account that she was preparing appreciation cards for her schoolmates for a school event.
The man asked for a card and she told him that it was for school but said she would make one for him anyway. A few days later, he drove to her school and picked up the card.
He then gave her a lift to her home in his car.
They started to text each other regularly after the meeting, with some messages being "sexually charged", said Deputy Public Prosecutor M. Kayal Pillay.
In March 2019, the man told the girl that he had developed feelings for her. She wanted to reject him but was worried he would react badly, so she made it seem as though the feelings were mutual, added the DPP.
While driving the girl home from school in April 2019, he stopped his car in Upper Thomson Road and kissed her lips. The girl, who was 14, did not wish to consent to the kissing, said DPP Pillay.
Between early April to June 2019, the man invited her to his home on multiple occasions when his wife was not in. They met about once a week either at his home or a secluded area and would cuddle.
In June that year, while they sat on the sofa in his living room watching a movie, he unbuttoned her blouse. She tried to button it back up, but he persisted.
He then performed an indecent act.
The girl did not report the incident as she was worried that people would laugh or spread rumours about her.
She was also afraid that her parents would reprimand her.
After the incident, she developed suicidal thoughts and harmed herself. She was taken to the hospital by her father.
While being treated for depression in August 2019, she told the psychologist that the man had touched her. The psychologist then called the police.
For each charge, a first-time offender convicted of committing an indecent act on a minor can be jailed for up to five years and fined up to $10,000.
A repeat offender can be jailed for up to seven years and fined up to $20,000.
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